Designing a studio is tough, but this apartment makes it look easy
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When Lisa Vergotz moved to Michigan during the height of the lockdown, she didn’t plan to return to New York City. But, of course, life had other plans. “After several months away, I had a feeling it was time to come back,” says Vergotz, the primary therapist. The discovery of a 30th-floor studio on the Upper West Side in a co-op building adjacent to Lincoln Center and overlooking the Hudson River was a sign from the universe. “The view has been a game changer and has helped make the purchasing decision a lot easier,” she adds. Viergutz was confident that with a little help, she could easily bring the apartment back to life.
When she hired New York City-based interior designer Hugh Long of Quality Control Studio, whom she met through a mutual friend, she had already dreamed up what she wanted, which, she recalls, was “something bright and colorful and feminine.” , and happy.” As someone who works from home and loves to entertain, it was important for her to have a space that could transition from coffee breaks to cocktail hour. But given the apartment’s small footprint (it’s 500 square feet), it made sense to follow Form and function.
Since Viergutz’s vision was big while the budget was not, Long had to find a way to divide the space without making any structural changes. And so he did with color. First, he gave the walls, ceiling and trim a coat of Benjamin Moore’s After the Rain, a soft lavender hue that allows the colors in the foreground to shine. He then lit each area in a different color, elevated the lounge with a yellow sofa, refreshed the dining chairs in a soothing mint shade, and draped the bed in a raspberry pink linen surround (Viergutz’s all-time favorite feature). The cozy corner was a special labor of love. To make it look seamless but also easy to set up, Long designed it in three parts, with a large center panel and two small side panels. “Lisa loves pink, but we didn’t want the space to look too youthful. The berry tone was fun but still mature,” Long says.
To maximize the amount of usable seating, he placed the sofa along the window wall, creating enough space for a lounge chair to the side and benches at the foot of the bed, which move to suit the occasion. Do you need an armrest to rest your feet on? You have. Need extra seating around your coffee table? Finished. To bring the living and sleeping areas together, he used an oversized custom rug from Beni Ourine from Morocco, but it also had another effect: it made the room feel larger (multiple rugs, he believes, can shrink a room). “Dividing the space to maximize functionality while making it look elegant was a bit overwhelming, but we achieved everything we set out to achieve,” says Long.
The goal was for the decor to be colorful, yes, but also sophisticated, like Viergutz herself. “Lisa has a casual, relaxed atmosphere, but she also has a great personal style. “We had many reference points, but one of the main inspirations was Milanese design from the 1930s,” notes Long, who combined furniture, lighting and accessories — all vintage — With contemporary pieces from designers like Jake Czymanski and Leshin.
The project was also steeped in nostalgia. One vintage novelty, in particular, sparked an elusive memory in Viergutz — one she couldn’t quite place until the renovation was almost complete. “Lisa kept telling me that the pink Swedish lamp hanging in the dining area was familiar, and she assumed she had seen a similar type of fixture in the past,” Long recalls. She did not realize that her grandparents had a lamp like this in their home until after the lamp was installed. “It’s funny how some pieces find their way into a project and into a person. It was a perfect division.