by Stephanie Diani for The New York Times
Bright colors pop in Sally Hershberger’s one-bedroom rental at London Terrace Gardens. The neutrals are limited almost exclusively to the black, gray and white coats of her dogs, Cherry and Foxy.
Ms. Hershberger, a hairstylist known for her high-profile clientele and high fees (as much as $1,000 for a cut) is among the few females over the age of 6 proudly willing to admit the following: “Pink is my favorite color.” Second favorite: peacock blue.
They’re both well represented here, and that makes perfect sense. Ms. Hershberger, who’s in her early 50s, spent a chunk of her adolescence in Los Angeles, has a salon there and until recently owned a house in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills.
The blue sofa in the living room and the turquoise-tipped glass Sottsass light fixture in the bedroom make it seem as if a piece of the Pacific has journeyed east and washed up on West 23rd Street. The pink tie-dyed duvet suggests that Laurel Canyon has come along on the trip. And maybe Malibu, too. Consider the large piece of crystal mounted on a stand between the kitchen and dining room.
Three and a half years ago, after selling her one-bedroom West Village penthouse apartment to Jennifer Aniston, a one-time client, Ms. Hershberger moved to a three-bedroom rental in the same neighborhood. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “I didn’t know where I wanted to go. But I knew I didn’t need a three-bedroom. You know what happens. You have guests with you all the time and I really don’t want guests.
“I want them in my house in the Hamptons, because I get scared at night, but I don’t want them in New York. I love my privacy.”
When plans to buy the Chelsea apartment of Joe Zee, a fashion stylist and acquaintance of Ms. Hershberger’s, fell apart — “It was a co-op and it just got complicated,” she said — London Terrace Gardens caught her eye.
“All of my friends live in this building. I mean like maybe 15 of my very good friends,” she said. “There’s something great about that. I just walk down the hall to see them in my sweats and flip-flops.” She thought she would stay in her apartment for a year, but it’s been almost two.
Ms. Hershberger has hung around, delighted by the hotel-style amenities — concierge, valet service and on-site attended garage. Then there’s the big closet that easily accommodates stacks and stacks of her signature hand-tie-dyed T-shirts, the fireplace and the easy commute to her salon on West 14th Street. She also has an outpost on the Upper East Side.
“Every day I come home and just immediately light a fire,” she said, demonstrating the point by summoning her assistant to help get a blaze going right then and there. “I’ve got my fire and I watch the sunset from my bedroom window and I feel like I’m in a cocoon.”
All that’s missing is a terrace for the dogs. “I loved my penthouse, because I could just let them out,” Ms. Hershberger said. “I’m not a bad mother. I cleaned their eyes today. But I don’t like the maintenance. So I have a dog-walker taking them out four times a day. Otherwise they drive me crazy.”
It was an excellent omen that when Ms. Hershberger’s furniture from her three-bedroom rental was unloaded in her one-bedroom rental, it all fit perfectly. And when the art was uncrated and hung, the whole lot — the photographs by her close friend Tierney Gearon, the Warhol print of Mick Jagger, the Helmut Newton prints — looked as if it had been there forever.
Many of the pieces, among them an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair, a pair of trim salmon-color leather chairs, an Edward Wormley bench upholstered in, yes, pink, and a George Nelson painted-wood cabinet on stork legs, are from Wyeth, “the most expensive furniture store where I am not shopping these days,” said Ms. Hershberger, who has just finished buying back her hair care products company from an investment firm. “I’m downsizing and not being all about material things, which is hard for me because I’m aesthetic and I like things.”
Those things are a mix of the sharply angular (the Nakashima desk in a corner of the kitchen, the Gio Ponti dresser in the bedroom, the pink-daubed runner from Istanbul in the hallway leading to the bathroom) and the biomorphic (the Egg chair and the zebra rug on the floor of the living room). There’s a similar range of textures: woods, leathers, animal skins, marble.
Ms. Hershberger insists that visitors take their shoes off before they come into her apartment, and favors pieces that are low to the ground, among them her coffee table, her blue sofa and her salmon chairs. “It’s all part of the Japanese vibe,” she said.
But really, the far more dominant vibe is midcentury modern, as embodied by the dull-glazed pottery, the kindergarten colors of the nesting snack tables, and the Nakashima, Nelson and Gio Ponti pieces. The tree floor lamp beaming down on the sculpted white leather chair in the bedroom could be part of a whimsical ’50s hair salon vignette.
“I’m not a snob when it comes to stuff,” said Ms. Hershberger, who has a confident, seemingly tossed-off sense of style. “I like what I like and it’s not because it’s by somebody who’s well known. But I do know that what I have is significant.”
Mindful that she was moving into a rental, Ms. Hershberger had to tamp down the hairstylist’s natural urge to get involved in a full-on makeover. Thus far she has limited her activities to painting the kitchen white and staining the floors black. “They were that ugly pine color,” she said, adding speculatively, “I could open up the whole kitchen.” But on second thought, no. Not here. Not now. Let it stay as it is: a repository for family photos, including an image of Ms. Hershberger’s father, an amateur athlete, on a Wheaties box, and her 1987 Emmy Award for styling hair on “Pee- wee’s Playhouse.”
But no hair gets styled at Ms. Hershberger’s house. “Not at home,” Ms. Hershberger said flatly. “I don’t like hair on the floor. Neither one of the dogs sheds. I don’t like hair on bodies. If I see a hair in my food it’s like, over. I have a thing about it. So isn’t it funny that I do hair?”