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Minimalists, Rejoice—Sandra Weingort’s Version Is Warm and Welcoming

Words by Morgan Goldberg
a bedroom with a large bed and a painting on the wall

Photo by William Abranowicz

Sandra Weingort’s heart beats for New York City.

Though she grew up in Colombia—and lives mostly in Miami—the interior designer got her start in Manhattan, first as a student at Parsons and then during her decade working at Studio Sofield. It’s no surprise, then, that her aesthetic has the edited, minimal vibe of the concrete jungle and the warmth of Florida sunshine.

“I gravitate towards New York both energetically and stylistically—that's where I lived most of my life,” Sandra explains. “It's where my galleries and vendors are. It’s where my name goes around and my clients find me through word of mouth. My primary home is in Miami where my son goes to school, but 100 percent of my projects are for New Yorkers.”

Sandra finds that her New York clientele shares her passion for design, always willing to take risks with vintage furniture, avant-garde art, and unexpected materials. The result is a portfolio of daring-yet-sophisticated spaces that feel on-par with the vibrant edginess of the city that inspired them—no matter where in the world they’re located. (New Yorkers own homes across the globe, after all.)

Early in the pandemic, Sandra's Japanese Modernism Lower East Side project was published on Architectural Digest and went viral. “It propelled my business onto a never-before-dreamed level,” she says. More recently, another Sag Harbor home feature leveled up her firm once again. Here, she shares the secret sauce behind her winning aesthetic.

a living room filled with furniture and a fire place

Photo by William Abranowicz

What architectural era is inspiring you right now? There's a beautiful minimalism and austerity to Post War architecture because it was very much about the function. At the time, they were paring back all the crazy, decorative details that came from the eras before it, leaving only really simple architecture. It's something that you can truly relate to because it's not ostentatious. You don't feel it's too rich, you don't see it from a distance but you can connect to it. You can live there. And I find that to be very inviting.

If your design style was a fashion icon, who would it be? Jane Birkin was just so fun. She was always in those mini skirts and crop tops and little things that were just the perfect level of beauty and good design. There was a beautiful restraint in the way she dressed. That’s what I want to do with my work.

I have no idea if The Row is inspired by Birkin, but their aesthetic feels the same way. They make such a beautiful, high style of clothing that’s also extremely understated. I'm not going to call my work beautiful, but it’s similarly thoughtful and people with an eye for design can tell.

What piece always anchors a space? I always start with a rug and design around it. I never have a target style or set myself up with rules when I'm looking for a rug. So that means I go to my favorite rug shops and whatever I find is what I start with. The rug creates the spirit of the room for me.

a bedroom with a bed, nightstand, and pictures on the wall

Photo by William Abranowicz

What are you dying for a client to request? I’d love to be involved in a project where John Pawson is the architect. He designs very few homes, but when he does, he does them so well. He creates minimalist, white backgrounds that would be amazing to overlay with beautiful vintage furniture and gorgeous art collections.

What’s your signature design move? Art takes the lead.

What’s an architectural pet peeve that always needs fixing? I can’t stand wrongly-placed switches and outlets smack in the middle of prominent art walls. Good planning can help avoid this. Someone managing the project should be with the electrician at all times so the switches are installed close to the door frames as you enter a room. Not in the center.

a kitchen with wooden chairs and a bowl of fruit on the counter
a table with two chairs and a vase with flowers on it

Photo courtesy of Sandra Weingort

Photo by William Abranowicz

What design trend needs to be retired… and what should make a comeback? When we talk about trends, I feel like we kill something good. Recently, I heard that the Jeanneret furniture is too trendy and should go away. It’s so wrong for something so beautiful and thoughtful to be ruined by a trend. And then other things become trendy for the wrong reasons like someone cool on Instagram buys it so everybody else wants to buy it.

What’s the most underrated material that you love? Nowadays, natural materials are often replaced by shiny, manmade, artificial materials. I can’t claim that using wood is original, but the most obvious, naturally-occurring materials—those that are frequently being substituted—feel underrated at the moment. Wood makes a room feel cozy every time.

What does every great kitchen need? The kitchen is truly the heart of the house, so it needs a great island to congregate around. If someone's cooking, everyone's surrounding them comfortably. When there's no island, there's really no place to be able to sit and spend that hour or two with the cook. It's just such an important space.

What should you always buy vintage? I buy vintage everything, but lounge chairs are the priority because they're a really good investment. You can move them anywhere you go. Sometimes, a stunning sofa or a giant dining table unfortunately won't fit in your next home, but chairs always will. They can move from the living room to the bedroom, but you will always have space for them. They will never not fit. Plus, they're the most accessorizing of the bigger furniture pieces.

a living room filled with furniture and a fire place

Photo by William Abranowicz

Where do you save and where do you splurge? I save on kids’ and guest bedrooms. I splurge on public spaces and primary bedrooms.

What does your dream sofa look like? The sofa Charlotte Perriand designed for the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in France in the ’60s combines good design with a very simple approach and honest materials. It’s very straight and long and oversized, but it's got just enough curviness and materiality to make it really timeless and interesting and comfortable. And the proportions are just extraordinary. I believe that she only made one of those. It's iconic because it's so spectacular, but it's not an overseen iconic piece like many other of her designs where they’re everywhere and they kind of tire. It's a very rare sofa.

What hotel represents ultimate luxury to you? Le Sirenuse in Positano is very different from my style but its soulful, understated elegance is what I call true luxury.

What’s next for you? I’m wrapping up an extraordinary modernist project in Wainscott, New York. It's expansive, but it feels very human scale. It’s very whoa, but it’s also subtle. The furniture, the architecture, and the art speak to each other in a really beautiful way. It's my best work to date. I am also working on a giant office in New York City, a project I was terrified to take on, but has been going wonderfully.

a woman sitting in a chair with her arms crossed

Photo courtesy of Sandra Weingort


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