Every room in Brooke Shields’s four-story New York City townhouse has what the actress calls “a cherry”—that “one thing I really didn’t want to live without, the one thing I splurged on.”
In the living room it’s the stone mantel Shields and her architect rescued from the Plaza Hotel after the property was refurbished in the mid-2000s; in the dining room it’s the hand-blocked wallpaper; and in her light-filled kitchen it’s the custom-made marble-topped dining table, inspired by a baker’s cart that Shields, 52, spotted in Europe. “If you look underneath it,” she points out, “you can see it’s never moving. It’s bolted to the ground.” It’s a permanent fixture in the stately but warm home, just like the supermodel.
Shields searched for years before finding the historic five-bedroom house in 2009; she shares it with her husband, Chris Henchy, 53, a movie producer (Bachelorette, The Other Guys), and their daughters Rowan, 14, and Grier, 11. The self-described interiors obsessive spent a year and a half restoring the property, which had been subdivided into 8 apartments, to its former glory. MADE, a Brooklyn architecture firm, removed, restored, and replaced as many original details as possible. They stripped the gorgeous interior doors — and then left them unfinished at Shields’ request — and stained the floors four different times until they got the perfect shade of brown.
The most recent additions to the elegant set of rooms are a series of large-scale bird photographs by Australian artist Leila Jeffreys, to whom Shields has become both a friend and patron. “They’re just extraordinary. They’re so human, and they’re all named,” says the actress, who is currently guest-starring on Law & Order: SVU. (Skye watches over the kitchen, while Neville is perched behind the living room bar.) “Leila gets the birds to sort of perfectly fluff up and look at her. They’re modeling for her,” Shields adds with a laugh.
In addition to complementing the eclectic interiors, the feathered art provides a connection to nature, something that Shields is lucky to have in her Manhattan neighborhood. “Even in the heart of New York City,” she says, “we open the French doors, and in the little backyard, we hear the birds.”