Marder furnished the dining room with Queen Anne chairs and a cherry peg table from Los Angeles furniture maker Elijah Slocum. She hung an old California chandelier in front of a Maurice Braun landscape. “I love lamps,” says Bergen. “Don’t even talk to me about track lighting. I love lamps for the warmth they bring to the room, for the way the light passes through the lampshade.” In the living room, which overlooks the gardens, Marder flanked a leather sofa with two red lacquered Chinese dressers. The space also includes an Anglo-Indian inlaid chair, a custom-made armchair, and a 19th-century English table on which rests a bronze sculpture of a cheetah, made by TD Kelsey, that a friend gave to Bergen.
“The important thing for me in a house is that there is a tremendous sense of comfort,” explains Bergen. “Every chair you sit in is comfortable. If you can’t sit down, you’re simply in transit. If you are sitting in a chair, you are sitting to go. Each table should be the type you can put your feet on. “Life is too short not to be comfortable.” In the living room, Marder grouped sofas and chairs around a Giacometti-style iron-and-glass coffee table in front of the enormous fireplace. She separated the sofas with an English armchair and an inlaid Anglo-Indian table. On the ceiling beams, Kintisch, working on scaffolding, painted a Mediterranean design. Above the mantelpiece, illuminated by candelabras and a Fortuny lamp, Marder hung a painting by Dedrick Brandes Stuber. White sprays Phalenopsis of Bergen’s mother, Frances, lean toward the hand-forged fire screen.
Going down several more steps, the master bedroom and living room have their own terrace. On her walls, Kintisch painted pale, abstract flowers. A Regency wardrobe and a leather bench at the end of the bed contain illustrated books on topics ranging from architecture to the Zanzi bar. “I like to have books on hand that you can open and read, rather than books stacked like a sculptural statement,” Bergen says.
In the master bathroom, a sort of sitting room with chairs upholstered in silk and cotton, Marder decorated the tub with a large cement garden duck. “When I saw the duck, I knew Finda understood me,” Bergen says. “I don’t like houses that take themselves too seriously.” Wherever Bergen lives, there are dogs on the furniture and a rubber chicken hanging from a chandelier; In this house it is in the breakfast room. “I can only be on my best behavior for so long,” she says. “Then I need my rubber chicken. “I need to laugh.”
In this house she first saw so long ago, Bergen has found a new home for the woman she is today. “As you get older, home becomes more important,” she says. “You want to spend more time with friends. You are aware of seeking a certain calm. Your priorities become clear on their own and you are able to appreciate what you have.”