Actress, singer and all-round amazing entertainer Bette Midler is selling her gorgeous Upper East Side home, which she and her husband Martin von Haselberg, a performance artist, bought in 1996.
The 14-room penthouse occupies the top three floors of one of Fifth Avenue's finest pre-war co-op buildings, designed by renowned architect Emery Roth in neo-Renaissance style and completed in 1925. Offering spectacular views of Central Park and the iconic Manhattan skyline, it boasts an impressive 7,000 square feet of living space and a further 3,000 square feet of landscaped outdoor terraces.
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Before the couple moved in they had their home extensively remodelled. Walls were removed, ceilings raised and oversized windows installed, flooding it with natural light. Oak flooring was fitted throughout, and rooms decorated in a palette of gentle neutral shades by interior designer Fernando Santangelo (opens in new tab). Take a tour below.
Stepping out of the elevator on the 16th floor, the penthouse’s main entrance opens on to a large, light-filled gallery which flows seamlessly into a vast and airy entertaining space with super-high ceilings. It includes a south-facing conservatory area, a double living room, a formal dining room, an office and a guest bathroom.
There’s also a bright and airy eat-in kitchen, incorporating a central island, custom-made pale wooden cabinets, marble countertops and top-end stainless steel appliances such as a Fisher & Paykel induction range, Sub Zero refrigerator and Miele dishwasher.
All the main rooms lead out to the wraparound terrace overlooking the park and reservoir. It’s lined with thriving plants and provides plenty of sheltered spots for alfresco eating, relaxing and soaking up the sun.
Nature is close to Bette Midler’s heart – in 1995 she founded the New York Restoration Project, a conservancy which has planted trees, renovated gardens, restored parks and transformed open spaces for communities throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
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Most of the top floor, accessed via a sweeping staircase, is taken up by a library featuring 13-feet tall ceilings, full-height fitted bookcases, a wood burning fireplace – one of three in the apartment – and comfy seating, with a charming rooftop garden outside.
All the bedrooms are on the 15th floor, underneath the entertaining space. The enormous corner master bedroom suite faces Central Park and comprises vast expanses of closet space, a large bathroom and a generously-sized study/dressing area with another wood burning fireplace.
There’s an equally sumptuous second bedroom plus three further bedrooms – all with bathrooms – and a family room offering the flexibility to be transformed into another bedroom. A laundry room is conveniently located on this level.
Privacy and security are taken very seriously, and the building has a full-time doorman and elevator attendant.
The apartment is on the market at $50 million, through Brown Harris Stevens (opens in new tab).
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Where does Bette Midler live now?
A dedicated New Yorker, Bette Midler still lives in the city. She’s said to be looking for a smaller apartment nearby. Now that her actress daughter Sophie has fled the nest, the penthouse is much too big for two people.
Is Bette Midler’s building a magnet for celebrities?
Famous residents have included Jon Bon Jovi, actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, and Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.