As anyone who has spent any amount of time living in New York can attest, finding a home—ideally a light-filled, spacious, chic one—is not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenge that was thrust upon architect and interior designer Crina Arghirescu Rogard, who was forced to move herself and her family out of their Brooklyn Heights apartment after the owner, a developer, announced plans to renovate. A drawn-out search for a new home followed, and ended, fortunately, in a bit of serendipity.
“One of my collaborators found a listing on a website. I loved the apartment and contacted [the owners],” Arghirescu Rogard tells ELLE DECOR. Turns out that “the owner was the event planner that organized our wedding—we hadn’t been in touch for 10 years! She was moving to Los Angeles to start a new business. So it was just a magical connection—love at first sight.”
The new residence is located in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvestant neighborhood and serves as a family home for Arghirescu Rogard, her husband, and their two children. As a designer, she immediately had plans for the space, which featured high ceilings, generous windows, and original doors and trim. “Obviously, the impulse to turn it into a creative project kicked in,” she says. “But, of course, it being a rental space, we were limited to some interventions.”
Therefore, Arghirescu Rogard let her impressive collection of furniture, art, and homewares do most of the heavy lifting. The result is a series of sculptural, dynamic objects set against a backdrop of soft, historic architecture. Some of these pieces, like a floor lamp by Gaetano Pesce in the living room, came from past interior design projects. “It was a prototype for the beginning of a chandelier that we had custom made for a project upstate,” Arghirescu Rogard explains. “It was the first design following the meeting with Gaetano, so we kept it and integrated it into the house.” Similarly, a sculptural chair in the living room by Joe Colombo was gifted to the architect by a client, and a table lamp by Studio Drift came about from another custom project.
The baluster is wrapped in a cord weaving by Nathalie Sann Regnault, and the sconces are by Liz Hopkins.
Arghirescu Rogard in her living room next to a Memphis-style totem made with her family’s storage boxes.
Arghirescu Rogard makes a last-minute adjustment to a mirror that she inherited with the apartment.
The chair and artwork are both from Holler & Squall, a store in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, that Arghirescu Rogard frequented prior to its closing. The plates are antique, and the glassware includes pieces from her travels to Portugal.
A floral painting by Alessandra Tavernier adds a pop of color to the kitchen area.
Open shelving showcases the many antiques in Arghirescu Rogard’s collection.
A table by Liz Hopkins pairs with chairs by Raini Home.
Arghirescu Rogard anchored the room in rich green upholstery and topped it off with a resin wall artwork by Liz Hopkins and a vintage Italian pendant.
Arghirescu Rogard is especially proud of a shelf by designer and engineer Kay LeRoy Ruggles, who also, Arghirescu Rogard notes, invented the tubular water slide.
A foot sculpture by Gaetano Pesce and a floor lamp by Luigi Bandini Buti for Kartell anchor a corner of the bedroom.
Travel also informed much of the architect’s curation. A trip to Lisbon, for example, ended with a suitcase full of glasses that, happily, made it back to New York fully intact. And while her collection includes objects from around the world, Arghirescu Rogard’s inspirations remain firmly rooted in Italy’s rich design history. “I’m profoundly inspired by Gio Ponti, Carlo Mollino, and Andrea Branzi,” she says. “These were all figures who touched every aspect of the creative process, starting with architecture and moving into design.”
Though these muses remain nearby, Arghirescu Rogard also adds her own flair: a totem in the living room, which emulates Ettore Sottsass’s work from Italy’s Memphis design movement, is made out of her family’s old storage boxes.
Like any New York home, the apartment had to be flexible. Arghirescu Rogard uses it as an office, a family residence, and a space for entertaining—the latter made possible via two tables, by designer Liz Hopkins, that can be pushed together for larger gatherings.
The designer’s still tweaking things here and there, though—even painting the edges of a mirror during the photoshoot for this story. “To be honest I would love to change the apartment constantly,” she says. “I would love to have it be more of a work in progress.”
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