Anna Hoffman

Before & After: From IKEA to Dorothy Draper
Nancy from Marcus Design took the Rast dresser from IKEA and DIY’d it into a Dorothy Draper-inspired Hollywood Regency accent piece for her bedroom. Check out her step-by-step instructions and try this at home! Nancy’s first step was to prime the surface of the dresser and spray it with two coats of black lacquer spray paint from RustOleum.
Oct 17, 2022
Quick History: The Parsons Table
The Parsons table is one where the square legs have the same width as the tabletop, regardless of its other dimensions. Its history is characterized by contradiction: created to be a simple canvas for exceptional materials, its design is simultaneously credited to the famous designer Jean-Michel Frank and to anonymous design students. But is the real story even more muddled?
Oct 12, 2022
Quick History: Cane Furniture
The British Colonial look is always especially appealing during these tropical New York City summers, when creamy neutral spaces provide a cool haven from sizzling concrete. Caned furniture is classic in a colonial interior. Lightweight and airy, it seems at home in a palm house or on a veranda (image 1).
Oct 12, 2022
Sex and the Sixties: Verner Panton’s Pop Fantasia
Verner Panton is known as the ‘enfant terrible’ of Danish design. Breaking away from the airy neutrals of typical Scandinavian design, Panton worked in Pop colors, simple geometries, and trippy organic shapes. His work is perfectly of its time — sexy, informal, tongue-in-cheek, space-age, and bold — while still feeling totally current today. Let’s step into his environment and feel our way around his oeuvre.
Oct 12, 2022
What is a Moravian Star and How Do I Use It in My Home Decor?
All about the origins of these funky geometric shapes.
Jun 3, 2020
Quick History: Shaker Design
image:091a0421120d147dd94cb74569189c01f6d2e4ed w:540 s:"fit" class_name:"mt-image-center" show_pin_button:"true" show_image_credits:"true" Ideally, our furniture can reveal something about how we live and what we value. But in reality, other factors like cost, space and what is available in the marketplace ends up limiting us or diverting us from our true values. We might believe that form should follow function, but own an uncomfortably lumpy hand-me-down desk chair.
Jun 5, 2019
How To Turn Holiday Inspiration Into Reality: Tips from House Beautiful’s Sophie Donelson
The monthly delivery of House Beautiful is one of the only good reasons I check the mail. Lately I’ve been particularly jazzed about the new Editor in Chief, Sophie Donelson, who brings a fresh, youthful look to what’s considered America’s most established design mag – and the go-to spot for the best paint colors. This month’s issue features A-list event designer Bryan Rafanelli’s tips for a holiday tablescape in your own home.
Dec 1, 2015
Quick History: Tatami Mats
Tatami mats are a kind of rush flooring used in traditional Japanese homes. Made of woven rush grass around a rice straw core, they are gentle but firm underfoot, and also give off a lovely (I think) scent, especially on rainy or humid days. Increasingly rare in modern Japanese interiors, tatami deserves to be considered as a potential material in all homes. Let’s take a look at its rich history.
Sep 27, 2012
Quick History: Wicker Furniture
Wicker furniture might seem like an invention of the Victorian era, but that’s just when it hit the English and American markets. In fact, wicker is one of the oldest methods of making furniture, common all over the world for thousands of years. But wait, I’ll bet you’re wondering what wicker is exactly, am I right? So let’s define our terms, and take a quick look at the history of wicker.
Sep 12, 2012
Quick History: Adirondack Chairs
Now that we’ve reached asphalt-melting temperatures in New York, it’s time to start thinking about breezes skimming across lakes, icy tumblers full of Pimm’s Cup, and the rustic luxury of a quiet hour spent in an Adirondack chair. Which for me, design history nerd, means that it’s also time to start thinking, what ARE Adirondack chairs anyway, and where did they come from?The first Adirondack chair was created by Thomas Lee around 1903.
Sep 10, 2012
Quick History: The Bauhaus & Its Influence
We’ve all seen Marcel Breuer’s famous Wassily chair — the first to use tubular steel for a domestic setting — supposedly inspired by a bicycle frame (image 1). Would you believe this chair, maybe the most famous design to emerge from the Bauhaus, is a grandfatherly 87-years-old? Yes, the Bauhaus turned 93 this past spring, a shocking fact given that Bauhaus design still feels incredibly fresh and current.
Sep 5, 2012
Layered Rugs
The other day we looked at a bunch of rooms that went unexpectedly without rugs or carpets, embracing a relaxed bare-floor look. Today let’s go in the opposite direction: what does it look like when one rug just isn’t enough. The most common look for layering rugs seems to be an animal hide (faux or no) over a sisal — this is probably the most neutral option. Other examples mix patterns and colors, sometimes creating a bohemian wonderland of textiles.
Apr 22, 2011
Before & After: Studio to One-Bedroom
Peter and Molly’s light-flooded West Village studio was perfect for the two of them plus Hugo, their dog. But when they were preparing for a new baby, they successfully reorganized the space and added a sliding door, creating a comfortable and calm one-bedroom. Initially, Peter and Molly used the larger area for their bed, a comfy chair and storage.
Feb 23, 2011
9 Ways to Organize Books: Which Is Your Style?
I’m not a particularly organized person … except when it comes to my bookshelves, which are arranged in a perfectly logical, consistent way (although it’s logical only to myself). If you have a sizable book collection, it’s worth taking the time to organize them so that you can find whatever you’re looking for. Let’s take a look at some of the best methods to choose from.
Jan 14, 2011
Quick History: Checkerboard Floors
Black and white checkerboard floors first appear in European paintings in the 15th century, but the pattern’s origins lie long before that, in ancient artifacts from Iranian ceramic vessels to Roman paved floors. Here is a quick look at the history of checkerboard floors.
Jan 6, 2011
What Color Is Your Holiday? Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa
With the city festooned in red and green for the holiday season, it seemed like an appropriate time to wonder how these colors came to be associated with Christmas, how blue and white became the official colors of Hanukkah, and what symbolism black, green, and red have during Kwanzaa. The Christmastime significance of the color green is partly related to the evergreen tree, seen as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection and eternal life.
Dec 17, 2009