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Annie Hall Lived Here

“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.”

The office terrace: The potted geraniums and hydrangeas are from the Flower District. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The office view: Von Humboldt’s office windows overlook her large terrace. The curtains were from Pottery Barn and she added the red stripes. The two desks were designed for her former office and fit perfectly here flanking the stairs. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The entrance foyer in the apartment: The raffia wall covering is from Scalamandre, covered with panels of African Kuba cloth. The portrait of “Luna” is by von Hohenberg, and the light fixture is from CB2. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The dining table: Charles Villacara Furniture made the dining table from von Humboldt’s design. The reupholstered chairs are ’50s Italian vintage. The mirror was a gift from von Humboldt’s aunt, who was a painter and lived in London. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The little terrace: Just off the dining area, it’s just large enough for tea for two, morning coffee, or a cocktail. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The bedroom: The bedcover was custom-designed with handwoven fabric from Mexico. The rug is from Galerie Triff in Paris, and the curtains are from Pottery Barn. The wall of closets came with the apartment. Von Humboldt’s dressing-room closet is beyond. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The dining and conference table: The table was a gift from von Hohenberg, who also took the framed photographs of people at Andy Warhol’s memorial for Vanity Fair. Photo: Annie Schlechter
The living room: “My structural contribution to this place is the fireplace,” von Humboldt says. “The fireplace surround was horrible and covered in dark-brown tiles. Since it’s a rental, I decided to box the thing.” The size of the furniture depended on being able to get pieces up the narrow building stairs. The couch was custom-designed to fit and be large enough to be a comfortable guest bed. The pink armchairs are by Paolo Buffa. The black-and-white photographs flanking the fireplace are by von Hohenberg, and the Chinese “Grandfather” over the fireplace is from the Ming period. The rug is from Galerie Triff in Paris. Photo: Annie Schlechter

*A version of this article appears in the June 25, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

An Interior Designer’s Office-Home in Annie Hall’s Building