House Call

Augusta Hoffman Wants to Bring Back the Old Hollywood Glamour of Getting Ready

Words by Morgan Goldberg
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Photo courtesy of Augusta Hoffman

Though interior designer Augusta Hoffman grew up in Texas, where everything is notoriously big, she specializes in revamping small spaces.

Her talent for maximizing compact homes might have something to do with the fact that she’s spent the past decade living in New York City, where tight floor plans are the name of the game. She first moved to Manhattan to study interiors at Parsons School of Design, then worked at AREA Interior Design before launching her own boutique studio in 2019.

Since then, Augusta has been celebrated for her ability to achieve a sophisticated metropolitan aesthetic within little footprints. Her own East Village apartment and a recent Upper East Side renovation have been covered in Elle Decor, while other projects have been published in Architectural Digest, Vogue Living Australia, and House & Garden UK. Here, she shares her best small space design trick and much, much more.

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Photo by Tim Lenz

What architectural era is inspiring you right now? I always circle back to Georgian-style homes. There is something that feels so timeless and elegant about the delicate lines and symmetry.

If your design style was a fashion icon, who would it be? I love the personal style of Stella McCartney. I am all about the concept of a T-shirt and jeans with a structured black blazer.

What’s your signature design move? I love playing with stark contrasts in a layered space—juxtaposing light and dark materials, modern and traditional lines. It’s all about the mix!

What piece always anchors a space? I always start a room’s design plan with the wall finish. This immediately sets the tone.

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Photo by Tim Lenz

Photo by Tim Lenz

What are your go-to finishing touches in a room? I find it is essential to add warm layers into spaces that are filled with a majority of hard materials. I love to balance bathrooms with leather accessories and vintage Oushak rugs and curate kitchen countertops with sourced wood bowls and ceramic vessels.

What are you dying for a client to request? My dream has always been to design a home that is centered around a significant art collection. I am not sure what designer wouldn't agree with this. But secretly, I am actually hoping for a client to request a moody, 1970s love pit—shag carpet and all.

What’s your best small space design trick? There is nothing better than a stylish sconce. Using sconces as a main source of light in a small space can instantly create such a sculptural vignette, but also clear up precious floor and table space. 

What design trend needs to be retired?…And what should make a comeback? Spherical pillows need to be retired. I am not a decorative pillow person in general, so these truly need to go! I really want to bring back the glamour of getting ready. I think every home deserves a proper, old Hollywood dressing room.

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Photo by Tim Lenz

What’s the most underrated material that you love? Performance fabric for rugs. While a nylon rug sounds much less glamorous than bamboo silk, it is a decision that our clients never regret. 

What do you always buy vintage? Case pieces and ceramics. When I’m looking for special items that require the right level of patina and a more organic hand, it is always best to source vintage.

Where do you save and where do you splurge? I save on neutral and tailored rugs because floor coverings should never overpower a room. I splurge on custom upholstery. You can’t beat the durability and comfort of thoughtful seating that is designed with intention for each space. My hope is that clients enjoy these pieces for generations.

What makes a room feel cozy every time? Soft, ambient lighting can change any space.

What hotel represents ultimate luxury to you? My husband and I got married on the coast of Italy at Hotel Il Pellicano. Being surrounded by family and friends, while sipping Negronis by the sea, is my ultimate form of luxury.

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Photo by Tim Lenz

Photo by Tim Lenz

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