LA VITA È BELLA
When you talk about interior design in New York, Betty Wasserman’s name always comes along. Since 1996, when she launched her design business, she has become recognized as one of the best New York interior designers. She united her knowledge of 10 years working as a private art dealer with her passion for design and architecture: and the mix was very successful, known for a warm and minimalist approach.
CovetED had the pleasure of interviewing Betty and we’ll tell you all about it. Let’s go?
Her beginning on interior design was accidental. After 10 years working as an art dealer, Betty was inside the New York scene on the field: and one of her clients just wouldn’t accept no for an answer. He bought a new apartment and asked her to help him and his wife design it after firing a couple of people before. “I said ‘I don’t do that’, and he said: ‘Yes, you do’. I was like, ‘What do you mean? Yes, I do’…and it was just one of those people that you that doesn’t take no for an answer.” Betty then put a team together and took down all the tacky mirrors that were all over the place, the tacky chandelier and ripped up the wall-to-wall carpeting. After sourcing for everything they needed, they sorted it all out. “Somehow it came together, then, of course, we did an art collection and that was my first project. Once I realized that I was pretty good at it and I really liked it, then I decided to go back and take classes and learn how to properly do a floor plan and reflected ceiling plan and all of that.”, she completes.
After the first client, the creation of her own business was almost natural. She already had an art business, already had an assistant, so the mindset and circumstances were right. It was a very easy transition and the two businesses support each other beautifully. Design and art are very connected after all. Now, Wasserman’s exclusive New York City design studio is tucked away in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood. From this unassuming studio, she designs for the most fashionable and exclusive addresses in the city. She also has a personal residence and satellite studio in The Hamptons where she designs many luxury homes that have been featured in top design publications.
Designing in New York might have some specificities. “You have to be very smart about space”, she affirms. Between the most expensive square foot in the world, any space in the city has to be very well thought out: you can’t waste luxurious space when you do Manhattan apartments. Times have changed and, if in the past people wanted closed kitchens, now it’s the opposite: an open kitchen fits the current lifestyle, in which you have to use the space well and you want to interact with people while they’re cooking.
“The spaces have to function. They have to work well and they have to be beautiful, and they have to be bulletproof.”
Of all the projects, Betty has a favourite: her own loft in Southampton. “It’s not that it’s the biggest project I’ve ever had, not that it had the biggest budget by far (laughs) but because it was done for me and my family and it was so personal and I love working with my builder. I enjoyed the process so much that I was sad when it was over”, she confesses. After looking for houses for more than a year, she decided to go another way: to build her own. She hired an architect and started to make real all the lines, shapes and high ceilings she had in mind.
“I always try to have a say and try to be involved in the architectural part of the process because as you probably know, architects like to design from the outside in, and designers design from the inside out.”
After more than 20 years working with that, she doesn’t ever plan to retire. The intention is to slow down a bit, to chose two big projects instead of three, for example. “I just can’t imagine not doing it because I really love it, it doesn’t feel like work at all. I feel very lucky and I always tell my daughter: whatever you choose to do for a career, you have to love it. I don’t care if it makes a little bit of money or a lot of money, you have to love it because otherwise, you know, do you want to wake up at 50 and say “Oh my God, what I did for all those years”?
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