Visit a refined New York Pad designed by Augusta Hoffman

For Augusta Hoffman’s latest design project, it all started with a dress. While discussing color theory in their first meeting together, her client ran to the closet and grabbed her favorite Oscar de la Renta suit. “It’s a sweet, flirty, short strapless dress set in a soft ocher-mustard hue with this jewel-toned ikat pattern,” says Hoffman. “And that was the starting point for everything else.”

The owner had bought the 1,300-square-foot apartment in a pre-war Lenox Hill building in 2021, and fell in love with its atypically fashionable charm. It had been renovated by its previous owners, an interior designer and later an architect couple who put their design training into this space in everything from its classic herringbone oak flooring for tasteful details in fittings and finishes. And yet its inherent grandeur felt too urban for a single 30-something businesswoman. “Investing in my first apartment felt very grown-up and I wanted the apartment to be a reflection of the moment I was on the edge – creating a space for the life I was living and the one I would grow into when I was first embedded,” says the owner. “[I was looking for someone who could] create sophistication, serenity and comfort…[through] layers of new pieces, vintage pieces with patina and imperfections, rich calm textures and carefully curated accessories.”

In the dining room, a wall-mounted console from Etsy doubles as a serving area next to a Sun at Six crest table. The six Paul McCobb dining chairs from Chairish are newly upholstered in Loro Piana fabric. The Maison Arlus chandelier from the 1950s is from 1stDibs.
Tim Lenz

Fortunately, these kinds of cards are Hoffman’s strong point. A New Yorker of nearly a decade who — after cutting his teeth at AREA Furnishing— launched her own business in the fall of 2019, Hoffman has a penchant for designing small spaces. “I enjoy projects where there are practical parameters,” she says. “As glamorous as it is to build a big house in the middle of, say, Texas, working with these small New York apartments with lots of character lends itself to fun, creative solutions.” Example: Hoffman is tailor-made East Village condominiumwhich, after being spotted by the apartment owner on ElleDecor.com, brought her search for designers to an abrupt halt.

“Our goal was a home that felt soothing, yet young and vibrant.”

The apartment is the distilled essence of an early New York aesthetic (cue the classic white subway bathroom tiles), but is not without some surprises. Namely, a cheeky cherry-red foyer with wood paneling that continues in the doorway to each room. “We decided to embrace its materiality and use it as a contrast to the surrounding spaces,” says Hoffman. “With that, we had to make conscious choices to make the rest of the room feel light and open so that the dark wood tone didn’t overpower everything.” Hoffman offset smaller furniture with a streamlined floor plan focusing on tonal colors and texture using a base of warm beige and earth tones. “Our goal was a home that felt soothing, yet young and vibrant,” adds Hoffman.

The space is a mix of juxtapositions: layered yet manageable, refined yet playful, and antiqued yet fresh. In the dining area, a smart bottle-lined tray creates a hip bar moment alongside a set of vintage Gio Ponti dining chairs. Further inside, a collection of modern ceramics sits atop a Brutalist Spanish case facing a custom Lawson-Fenning stunning sofa – all overseen by the owner’s own Venetian mirror that adds dimension amidst the hard materials of the room. “We found a beautiful balance together,” says Hoffman. “My client’s taste is much more tailored than what I gravitate towards, so I pushed her in some directions and she then reined me in. The back and forth really created this look that’s layered without being overly maximalist.”

“We found a beautiful balance together.”

The kitchen is tucked away at the end of a hallway that was originally cast in a muddy green tone with a tobacco leather banquette. “At the beginning of the project, my client was very dismissive of this space and said she never spends time there,” says Hoffman, a designer who knows potential when she sees it. The couple took to the streets of New York for inspiration for the banquet, including a tour Sewing container by Roman and Williams Guild, whose beige paneled seating was Hoffman’s ultimate inspiration. She softened the walls with a warm ivory color (Baby Fawn by Benjamin Moore) and redesigned the banquette, incorporating curves into the angled space and topping it with a performance velvet. “Now it’s a little jewel box of a room that my client says is her favorite area of ​​the home. My work here is complete,” laughs Hoffman.

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A peek into the bedroom, where a Pierre Frey ikat wallpaper, inspired by the homeowner’s Oscar de la Renta dress, creates a bold transitional space.

Tim Lenz

Just as every woman needs one fabulous statement dress, every home needs one standout wallpaper moment. Fortunately, this homeowner has both, in almost the same pattern. The Oscar de la Renta dress Hoffman wore textile wonderland the D&D building, became the prototype for the rear vestibule wall. “It takes you into the bedroom where you feel this transitional moment, leaving your entertaining space for a more private area,” says Hoffman. “This little vignette felt like the perfect opportunity to take a big risk and create a jubilant moment.” The wallpaper pattern is carried into the bedroom via a warm green trim and a coordinating Pierre Frey lumbar pillow. “I love how this brings a really happy element to the client’s bedroom, while still keeping the overall tone very calm and minimal,” she adds.

The jewel tones – echoed in the otherwise achromatic apartment in jazzy artwork, ceramics and decorative objects – are more than a fun added flourish. They are proof that ingenuity can come from the most unexpected places. “When we were looking for color direction or adding accessories, we kept going back to the red dress,” adds Hoffman. “It all came back to that lovely little dress.”

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