Read on to find out how August Black Interior Design grew to prominence by transforming ordinary homes into high-end luxury spaces that re-imagine possibilities.
MEET THE DESIGNER
Q&A WITH CHARLI HANTMAN, FOUNDER OF AUGUST BLACK INTERIOR DESIGN
August Black is a Manhattan-based luxury interior design firm founded by Charli Hantman with the objective of creating timeless homes with distinct character and purpose. August Black has had a wide portfolio of accomplishments since its debut in 2008. Charli proudly launched August Black Home in response to the increased demand for high-end residential projects. August Black Baby, August Black Commercial, and Hospitality soon followed, and August Black was also included in the extraordinary staging division.
In this Q&A, we hear from Charli Hantman, one of New York City's top interior designers, who has worked on projects ranging from high-end luxury houses to apartments, condos, and commercial structures, including restaurants, offices, and hotels.
CHARLI HANTMAN'S favorite collection
ultrawide bathroom + vanity mirrors
Q: AUGUST BLACK LAUNCHED IN 2008 AS THE ONLY INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM THAT CATERED EXCLUSIVELY TO MEN. HOW DO YOU DEFINE INTERIOR DESIGN FOR MEN?
A: August is a play on the word Augustus, which is Latin for "venerable," ultimately a masculine term, meaning one is accorded a great deal of respect and character. These are primary attributes in the homes we design for men. Spaces cannot come to life without character. Interior design for men focuses on the design catering to "his" lifestyle, whatever that may be, in a way that creates ease of flow and functionality in a very dapper way. It is my job to understand that lifestyle to create the best plan and visual to reflect this client's ideal home.
Q: CAN YOU REVEAL SOME BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO DESIGN AND MANAGE A NUMBER OF LARGE-SCALE HOSPITALITY PROJECTS AT THE RITZ-CARLTON HOTELS AND RITZ-CARLTON PRIVATE RESIDENCES?
A: For large-scale hospitality projects like this, it is all about planning and precision. Flying back and forth between our site locations and New York, it's imperative that everything be planned for in advance-the measurements, any wiggle room for changes that may occur once walls are moved, lighting placement, finishes and materials, furniture and textiles. Pre-planning includes preparing for damages. All items are sent to, quality checked, and categorized by our receiving warehouse. It is very likely that some things will arrive damaged and need to be rectified, so ordering in advance to limit delays for installation saves a lot of time on the back-end! Properly scheduling all installations is also extremely important. From carpentry and millwork to tile work, painting, finishes, electrical and furniture installations, there are a ton of moving parts! Each element affects the next. Preparing for some delays really helps keep things on track once installations begin.
Q: WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION DO YOU GATHER FROM YOUR CLIENTS TO CREATE A BATHROOM SPACE THAT WORKS FOR THEM?
A: I like to prompt questions that give me the information I need to design a proper space for a client. In their bathroom, it's important that I find out how the client plans to use it. Do they want an open concept and plan to only be in that bathroom on their own? Or do they prefer to have separate spaces for the toilet, vanity, and shower in case they will be used by multiple family members at once? Depending on age, a bench in the shower could prove helpful and safe. If a client wants to do their makeup in the bathroom (vs. a bedroom vanity, etc.), that affects the type of lighting I feel will work best for them, like a mirror with integrated LED lighting.
Q: HOW DO YOU CREATE A TIMELESS LOOKING BATHROOM?
A: To me, timeless is about something a client truly loves. If something is trendy but the client is in love with it, it will be timeless to them regardless! I like to take risks while keeping functionality and practicality at the forefront. So I might opt for a really fun patterned floor tile, and keep the walls, mirrors, and fixtures simple and classic.
Q: WHAT ARE 5 THINGS IN YOUR OFFICE AT ALL TIMES?
A: Without question, a tape measure, painters tape, a paint fan, fresh flowers, and my laptop (usually with CAD open at all times!).
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COLLECTION FROM MODERN MIRRORS AND WHY?
A: The Modern Illuminated Ultra Wide Collection! I love how the length makes any sized bathroom feel instantly larger. The LED light framing the mirror, with an additional mirror around the edge, is so perfectly chic and functional.