Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg’s live/work space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District—a glass-and-steel aerie the occupant calls her “tree house”—appears to be just that.“Everybody told me when I came to this neighborhood that I was crazy—that it was full of drag queens, that it smelled awful because of all the butchers,” says the Brussels-born designer, who moved to New York in 1969 with her first husband, Fiat scion Prince Egon von Furstenberg. “All of that is true,” she continues. “And yet in a weird way the cobblestone streets remind me of Belgium.”
The crowning achievement of a six-story, 35,000-square-foot structure comprising Von Furstenberg’s design studio and flagship store, the penthouse is the latest in a parade of distinctive personal spaces that began with a baronial Park Avenue apartment. “When I was young, I lived like an old woman,” the 65-year-old grandmother of three explains, “and when I got old, I had to live like a young person.”
Here, the architects merged a pair of Victorian redbrick buildings she acquired in 2006. What was once a gap between the structures is now a concrete staircase that leads from the ground floor to a rooftop lair containing a live/work space and, above that, a 900-square-foot master suite with a terrace.