Nicky Hilton Rothschild opens the door to her penthouse apartment looking immaculate yet casual in her silk dressing gown. She’s charming and we immediately bond over our love of dressing up. Nicky is married to James Rothschild and both of their worlds collided and brought them to buying and settling in New York seven years ago. James is from the Aristocratic Banking Dynasty in England and Nicky’s background is the Hilton hotel dynasty, and originated where Nicky was originally based, in Los Angeles. “While I love visiting LA, New York has my heart. I think it’s the most electric, fun and exciting city in the world,” says Nicky.
Their penthouse apartment is in the highly fashionable NoHo district. It’s sophisticated and chic, full of family treasures and filled with love. It’s a family affair with Nicky’s three children present at the shoot playing and the two girls admiring all of mummy’s dresses.
The loft-like open plan drawing room kitchen and dining area feature floor to ceiling windows that allow the natural light to flood in. It’s evident that this is the heart of the home. “My favourite room is the kitchen and it’s where the whole family hangs out,” adds Nicky. And let’s not forget the two cats Mac and Cheese and Minnie the papillon pup making themselves very present on the day of the shoot.
The drawing room room and dining area has a huge panelled wall covered in the most beautiful de Gournay silk wallpaper and is the focal point of the two rooms that merge together. And the antique dining room chairs were re-upholstered in material by Robert Kime. The drawing room curtains with their distinctive stripes are also Robert Kime.
Nicky tells me that they used local specialists in different areas, but no specific interior designer. “We really wanted to make the home a living project that gets better with age.”
“The inspiration was our own lives, drawn from places and homes we have lived in and the mood we want to create at that moment in time. It is very much a fluid, dynamic environment. Our living room deliberately flows into our kitchen, and is designed for conversation, imagination and studying. We can read, eat and socialise there but not watch TV or work. That is deliberate. We like old things with a story to tell that catch the eye.”
Another standout interior piece is the carved marble mantle piece. “It is very special and came from England by way of Greece, carved from a beautiful piece of pure white marble, The feel is that of lives that have lived in different places, with history drawn from our families and people we have known and loved. It should be a home that inspires curiosity and conversation, but not a severe, old English feel. We want creativity, humour and warmth throughout, wrapped in history – California meets England, I suppose,” says Nicky. Above the beautiful carved mantle piece is a stunning piece of Custom Art by Elliott Puckette, James’ aunt. The different tones and textures of blues through the main rooms bring everything together in a very aesthetically pleasing way.
The juxtaposition of masculine and feminine is evident in a very subtle way from the floral de Gournay wallpaper to the Herman Miller chair and foot stool with dark wood upholstered in black leather. A huge antique rug of blues and burnt orange perfectly frames the room. Without appearing old fashioned, all the antiques are meticulously placed, the side tables either side of the enormous 4 seater sofa in blue velvet that were purchased from an antiques store in Paris. Which brings me to the exquisite Louis Vuitton vintage trunk as Nicky tells me, “James and I had just started dating and we were in Paris walking through the Marché Aux Puces and I fell in love with it. I had always wanted one. He bought it for me as a gift.” Above the trunk is none other than a Modigliani.
The quirky animal heads I am assured by Nicky are not taxidermy but “bought from our favourite neighbourhood shop John Derian. He has the most beautiful pieces for your home. They are papier-mâché. They are not real! I love animals.”
There is a wall dedicated to the most beautiful illustrations by Hugo Guinness, James’ uncle. The “Happily Ever After” prints was done as a custom gift by Hugo Guinness for Nicky and James wedding as party favours. Prints of various artists are also seen in the guest loo backed by Robert Kime wallpaper who was the decorator to King Charles.
The opened planned kitchen with a communal island features hand selected artisanal surfaces that include book matched Calacatta slab stone countertops.
The hallway leading from the main rooms of the house overlooks a beautiful courtyard and the stunning green and cream linen printed blinds are by Bennison. And throughout the apartment are beautiful oak wood floors.
The master bedroom is light and airy. The most beautiful duck egg blue Holly & Sherry curtains with a beige and grey tonal paint on the walls. The floral print bedhead and skirting is by Bennison and is the focal part of the bedroom. And this compliments the hand painted Mirror from Fleur Home by Riley Sheehay. “I’m obsessed with her pieces. They are like pieces of art,” says Nicky.
Before we head in to the master bathroom we pass the ultimate dream walk in closet full of shoes bags and dresses. “I love dressing up. And I love the Kate Spade quote ‘Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.’ Oscar de la Renta is one of my favorites. I used to wear my grandmother and mothers pieces. Their dresses are so feminine and beautiful. I love Self-Portrait. The collection is always so cute and wearable. I also wear a lot of Prada. It’s so chic.” Nicky along with wearing fabulous designers has also collaborated with French Sole and created some fabulous flats. “I live in ballet flats so being able to design them is super fun. They are the perfect combination of comfort and elegance.”
The master bathroom features the finest custom finishes, with Frascio matte black steel lever door handles, a Siberian sunset stone wet wall to wainscot height. Calacutta stone tiles walls and heated floors.
The apartment is expertly curated and finely crafted to the lifestyle they lead as family.
Photography: Kate Martin
Stylist: Olivia Buckingham
Makeup Artist: Joel Vasquez
Hair Stylist: Valerie Dominguez
CreditLead image: Nicky wears a Giambattista Valli gown and Aquazurra shoes, photographed by Kate Martin