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I'd visited New York, obviously, but I had always gone back to the sunshine. Interviewer: So you moved in, and then you met Peter? Interviewer: What kind of directions did you give him? Told him we wanted something sophisticated yet bohemian, that we love the ocean, our favorite colors, etc. In my opinion, couches are for curling up on, with a good book and a loved one.
Mariska Hargitay: Our first date was the day before I moved into my apartment, which is the penthouse so the elevator button said PH, Peter's initials. Interviewer: I read in a Town & Country article that you and Peter debated about having a designer do the apartment. " So, you saw this house that Jeffrey did and you were enamored? Jeffrey suggested we go away while it was being done, so we took off for the summer. Interviewer: Your floors are sensual and the carpets are so beautiful. Mariska Hargitay: We had gorgeous hardwood floors, which I love but there are certain rooms where, because I'm a barefoot California girl, I need that cozy feeling on the floor.
To millions of "Law and Order: SVU" fans who watch her every week, she's NYPD Detective Olivia Benson.
But when Mariska Hargitay steps off the set, she is the real-life wife of writer-actor Peter Hermann, mother of newborn son, August, social activist and fashion icon.
I never actually thought that I was going to have a blue and purple living room but he made it much brighter and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. Certain things of mine, like an amethyst bowl I had someplace else, he put on this mirrored table and the way it catches and reflects the light is so gorgeous. It's like a big essay about yourself, where you've been, what soothes you, what makes you feel safe.
Interviewer: Your home should really be the place that nurtures and you have really figured out how to live in the most wonderfully expressive way. You want somebody to be able to walk into your home and go, "I know who you are. I see you." I go home every day and I still, to this day, walk in the door and say, "I get to live here!
But after seeing a very dear friend's house in Nantucket that was designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber, we were sold. There are three walls of books, a huge gallery of my favorite photos, a big bright painting that I love, a pony skin carpet, and the coziest L-shaped couch you've ever sat on. Needless to say, it's our favorite room in the house. Do you know how many houses I scout, and no one has any books! So in the living room in front of my fireplace, Jeffrey put in a sand box! One of the most important things that Jeffrey did was really take into consideration that I love the beach.
I remember going through everything with my best friend. Talk about a reality check-I had no idea that New Yorkers walked so much.
I think the only words we said for days were "Keep it? But after three months of chasing perps all over NYC then coming home and hauling myself up five flights of stairs, I had to find an elevator building.
It was like a Moroccan den, very decadent and lush. It was all very exotic, but soothing-although you wouldn't think so when you hear about it. I walked in, pressed my face up against the banks of windows, and I knew I'd found my new home. " And I said, "All three," and I thought, "He's never going to go for this, right? Interviewer: Well, the photographs in Town and Country show a very elegant and very pulled-together house, but not foregoing sensuality, coziness, comfort. I need every couch to be so cozy you want to take a running jump and dive into it and sink for 20 minutes.
But even though I liked what I had done, I wasn't in love with the neighborhood, and even more important, the apartment didn't get the kind of light I was used to and it made me a little depressed. Mariska Hargitay: I'm a Southern California girl, and I just wasn't prepared for the gray days. The apartment also has this big open kitchen that I love, because whenever you entertain, everyone just ends up in the kitchen anyway. Mariska Hargitay: Yes, and thankfully, so does my husband. I knew I was asking a lot: an apartment that was going to speak to all parts of me. One of my favorite moments with Jeffrey was when he picked three different swatches for a couch. I think nothing's worse than when you go over to someone's house and the sofa is so stiff and uncomfortable, you don't even know how to sit.
All of these qualities add up to Mariska Hargitay being the newest Karastan "Statement Maker," featured in our 2007 national advertising campaign. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I'd never lived anywhere else.