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Scarface Meets Herzog & de Meuron in This Stylish Couple’s Aerie

Paola Singer

When they moved from Washington, D.C., to New York City in 2014, Peter Ostrega and Samantha Angelo had a vision for their future, and it was peculiarly related to the narrow views of their small apartment on the Lower East Side. “The only thing we could see from our living room, which faced a back alley, was this modern building going up,” says Ostrega, a tall, sharply dressed European. “We started fantasizing about living in a space like that but had no way of accomplishing it at the time.” Ostrega was still finding his footing in the field of legal technology consulting, and his wife had recently left her position as a clarinet player for “The President’s Own,” the oldest military band in the country. “I was ready to make a change, so I took the plunge,” adds Angelo, a svelte blonde with runway looks, referring to her decision to quit music to become a fashion stylist and creative director.

In the master bath, the deep tub is decorated with accessories from Côte à Coast and Homenature in New York. Above it hangs a landscape painting from Ostrego’s birthplace, Krakow, purchased by his father at Florian’s Gate. “It’s a reminder of the sacrifices my parents made to be here in the U.S.,” he says.

Five years and several smart career moves later, the couple were finally able to purchase their dream home: a window-walled residential unit atop Ian Shrager’s Public Hotel, which occupies the Herzog & de Meuron–designed building they had coveted from their creaky old rental on nearby Mott Street. “It was a big moment for us to make that happen,” says Ostrega. “It’s been an incredible journey, and it’s an incredible place to live.”

While both he and his wife have a strong sense of style (just look to Angelo’s website, The Eye Travels, with images of the pair at various social events), they decided to work with a professional to help them turn the rather cold, minimalist bones of the 2,000-square-foot apartment into a home filled with luminous colors and flowing silhouettes. A friend suggested they talk to Armann Ortega, a young interior designer with a background in film who immediately clicked with the couple. “They looked like they walked out of a movie set,” says Ortega of meeting them for the first time. “She was wearing a bubble-gum pink pantsuit, chunky Maison Margiela shoes, and huge glasses, and I thought, There’s a lot to work with here. They were my inspiration for the whole project.”

Scarface Meets Herzog & de Meuron in This Stylish Couple's Aerie

Samantha Angelo, a fashion stylist and designer, and her husband, Peter Ostrega, a legal technology consultant, live in this light-flooded apartment atop Ian Shrager’s Public Hotel on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The building, which has 11 residential units, was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, with interior architecture by minimalist master John Pawson. The couple, who are frequently photographed at social events wearing glamorous and somewhat retro ensembles, say they’ve had an “incredible journey” since arriving in New York City in 2014. Back then, they lived in a creaky old apartment on Mott Street, where they could see the construction of the high-rise they now call home. “We started fantasizing about living in a space like that but had no way of accomplishing it at the time,” says Ostrega, who emigrated from Poland to the United States as a child, at a time when his country had imposed martial law. Angelo, who played the clarinet with the United States Marine Band for almost a decade, quit her position to start a new career as a stylist and creative director. Armann Ortega of AO Atelier helped the couple with the home’s interior design.
Rows of 10-foot-tall windows flood the space with sunlight during the day and Manhattan’s urban glitter at night, yet this abundance of glass can also feel cold. To add warmth, interior designer Armann Ortega filled the home with luminous colors and flowing silhouettes. The curvaceous sofa is Vladimir Kagan’s Serpentine model from Holly Hunt, and the round rug is a custom piece from Lepere.
The apartment’s open kitchen was designed by John Pawson, who was responsible for the building’s interior architecture. In the back we see a concrete vase and fruit bowl by Michaël Verheyden and a Raven stovetop kettle from Fellow. The fresh flowers are from Metaflora.
One of the home’s most eye-catching pieces is this custom desk, made of poured terrazzo and inset with bits of mirror and inspired by Miami in the 1980s. “We had seven or eight meetings about the desk,” says Angelo. “It was a true collaboration with us and Armann.” The fuchsia chair is a Mies van der Rohe Brno model, paired with a vintage Art Deco rug in matching colors.
Both the designer, who studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the homeowners are cinephiles. The movie Scarface was an inspiration for the moody atmosphere of the master bedroom, with deep burgundy walls covered in Ressource Peintures’ limewash paint in Chianti. Thin brass sconces from Juniper, which provide a halo effect, and a large-scale photograph by Christian Stoll showing dark billowy clouds add to the midnight vibe.
In the master bath, the deep tub is decorated with accessories from Côte à Coast and Homenature in New York. Above it hangs a landscape painting from Ostrego’s birthplace, Krakow, purchased by his father at Florian’s Gate. “It’s a reminder of the sacrifices my parents made to be here in the U.S.,” he says.
In the home’s foyer, rose-tinted walls as well as a vintage Joseph Hoffman chair and a black acrylic console from Interlude Home help create a feminine, retro atmosphere. In the back is Angelo’s office, which features a distinctive clothing rack from Plinths.London with black metal rails and a microsuede base. The stylist and creative director is getting ready to launch her own clothing line, Angelilli, in the fall.
Ortega decorated the home with flowing silhouettes that soften the hard angles of the 2,000-square-foot two-bedroom space. A rose-hued, round-edged artwork by Sidhoum Lyès-Olivier set the tone for the living room.
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Ortega was not only inspired by his clients’ glamorous and often nostalgia-tinged sartorial choices but also by their artistic tastes. Ostrega and Angelo are fans of the Brian De Palma movie Scarface, so the designer let his imagination wander over to Miami, circa 1980, to come up with the look of the property’s office, which features a custom terrazzo desk embedded with bits of mirror, a Mies van der Rohe Brno chair upholstered in fuchsia velvet, and a vintage Art Deco rug in matching hues. There are even more explicit De Palma vibes in the bedroom, which is awash in a deep burgundy wall paint with an intensely matte, textured finish, and decorated with a large abstract photograph simulating dark billowy clouds. “We wanted to make the space feel very dreamy, like a smoky midnight scene,” says Ostrega. “The rest of the apartment is very bright.” Indeed, most of the home has an uplifting palette of saturated pastels, along with pops of purple and blue. Add to that rows of 10-foot-tall windows that flood the space with sunlight during the day and Manhattan’s urban glitter at night, and the result is nothing short of cinematic.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest