“You know this building is in Annie Hall,” interior designer Carolina von Humboldt says. She’s sitting in her office on the third floor of a 1910 Beaux-Arts mansion on the Upper East Side that the film’s titular character called home. “I think Diane Keaton is great fun, but I don’t relate to her,” she says. One floor above is her apartment, and von Humboldt is equally straightforward when it comes to how she likes things in her home to look: “Classic proportions with a sleek edge; not too many cushions,” she says. “But it has to be comfortable. And I don’t like trends.”
Von Humboldt’s path to interior design was not direct: She designed textiles for D.
Porthault, then came a modeling career. Now, in addition to the residential spaces she works on, she has decorated the Estée Lauder headquarters in Paris and the Bilboquet restaurants in New York and Atlanta. She’s currently working on a Bilboquet outpost in Denver, and von Humboldt describes the décor as “a French bistro with ‘déjà vu’ that feels sort of ‘I’ve been here forever.’ ” You might say the same for her current apartment, which she’s lived in for only three years. “One of my clients said to someone, ‘Carolina makes your home look like you have always lived there.’ It has to give the impression that I arrived there simply and easily — like an haute-couture dress! It fits impeccably, but if the invisible perfect underpinning is not there, it just doesn’t work.”
The office sitting area (above): The two slipper chairs were a gift from interior designer Carolina von Humboldt’s friend, which she then reupholstered in fabric she found in Mexico. The Christophe von Hohenberg photo to the right is of Stephen Sprouse. Of the painting on the mantel, von Humboldt says, “I found it on some strange website and I thought, I like this woman; I have to get it.”
*A version of this article appears in the June 25, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!