The famed interior designer Mark Hampton once told Mrs. Hanley that her daughter Nicole, then just a small child, had “a good eye,” which can very possibly account for Nicole’s fortuitous salvaging of this chair, marked as junk at Speedy’s secondhand shop in the town of Byram, Connecticut (close to her childhood home in Greenwich), which she spotted there and had refinished. “I don’t discriminate between new and old, expensive and inexpensive,” she says (pictured here wearing a dress by Versace for H&M), preferring to keep her focus—in both her personal life and sense of style—on things that are both tasteful and understated.
“Because your home is your personal space, it should reflect whatever you want to feel when you walk in the door,” Mellon advises. “Matthew and I felt at home in this apartment when it was completely empty, and we feel even more so as it has evolved. I can spend days on end here very happily.”
Although the apartment “decorated itself,” according to Mellon, it did benefit from plenty of help from her closest friends. “Thankfully, I had an extremely talented group of tastemakers to turn to for advice, including not only my mom and sister, but also David Netto, Celerie Kemble, Cristin DeVeer, and Reynaldo Gonzalez,” she confesses. “Each gave me design tips that made a big difference when it came to pulling it all together”.
In this room, personality is achieved through pops of color, which can be found in the choice of flowers, the decorative accessories in neon yellow from Alexandra von Furstenberg, and a Jeff Koons sculpture. “Our art is all over the place in terms of period and style,” she explains. “So I needed a bit of edge in my furniture and accent pieces to keep some semblance of balance in the room.” The picture is by the artist, Peter Beard, who is also a friend.
“Matthew’s family is made up of individuals that have made a difference in shaping this country while simultaneously building a life that has provided for seven generations,” says Mellon of her husband, pointing out a collection of memorabilia the couple keeps on shelves to keep their history close at hand. And Nicole’s family, while definitely less known, is no less illustrious. “I think it is safe to say, we both come from a line of geniuses and kooks! We gave our son a last name to represent both sides of our family, Hanley Mellon, while adding a unique—and some might say unusual—middle name (Force) for him to carve out his own path.
This eclectic grouping in the living room includes a painting by Vaclav Vytlacil, an Eames console, and a bust by the Hon. Alexandra Mary Hilda Cadogan. The bronze figure, however, it is actually a temporary possession. “An out-of-town guest left it here recently during a visit because he didn’t want to carry it around while he ran errands,” Mellon explains. “I hope he comes to visit us soon—but leaves without it again.
“Mother, wife, and businesswoman are all roles that you can work to merge, thankfully,” Mellon explains while taking a quiet moment after breakfast in an armchair by Oly Studio wearing Balenciaga jeans and a Kaia T-shirt. “When I first had Force, I began reconciling mother and wife, which required a change of rhythm. Now I have added work to the mix and find myself again readjusting the rhythm yet again to include all of these facets of who I am.”
“We love living in a hotel. How can we complain, with fresh sheets every day and with room service—which is far better than ordering takeout—that comes and goes on a tray?” Mellon asks. “But, most importantly, we love the people who work here. It is like one big family.” Mellon’s menu favorites? “Easy: Swiss cheeseburger with bacon, no bun, and crispy, truffle french fries,” she replies.
Hanging on the gentleman’s valet in this closet is one of Matthew’s suits by Richard James of Savile Row.
“The fact that the picture frame is bigger than the bed frame was not a design choice; it was just a nice touch of good luck,” she explains of the Peter Beard hanging in the master bedroom, where Force and the family dog, Tuleh, often play. “The picture didn’t fit in the building elevator so we had to reframe it, and once it was reframed, this was the only wall space available.”
“The penguin was a gift from my sister and her husband, which was apt because penguins are my favorite animal,” Mellon says of her son’s bedroom. “I hope Force likes them too, because he already has quite a budding collection.”
SHOP THE LOOK
Jayson Home faux Zebra pillow, $495
For information: karenrobertson.com
Eduardo Garza Aphrodite’s copper egg, $1,200
Alexandra von Furstenberg On the Rocks acrylic side table, $2,400, made to order
Oly Beverly side chair in silver or gold, $1,725
Jonathan Adler Havana floor lamp, $849
For information: robertabbey.com