By Jill Brooke
Veranda calls Victoria Hagan “the reigning queen of restrained elegance.” Architectural Digest compares her to Katherine Hepburn, “strong yet restrained, crisply enunciated and charged with a robust optimism that is uniquely American.” The New York Times called her “cerebral,” but not sure what that means except you know it’s a big compliment.
Oh yes. It means that she’s really smart. Because it takes an innate intelligence to understand that simplicity is best, even when it is actually much harder to achieve than it looks.
Plus, there’s something else always humming in her designs. A wry sense of humor that is revealed in an accessory, a piece of art or an unexpected flourish on furniture choices. It is not surprising to me that her husband, Michael, has one of the driest senses of humor of anyone I know.
It’s what makes her designs exciting without being boring.
We have been friends of over 20 years and I recently was honored when she asked me to moderate a panel for her newest book, “Dream Spaces.”
Since founding her firm 25 years ago, Victoria Hagan has been celebrated for her intelligent integration of architecture and interior design. Based in New York City, Victoria’s 26-person firm works around the globe on luxury residences, providing a full range of interior design and renovation services, all bearing her signature, classic American style.
She has worked on projects ranging from ski chalets in Aspen to beach houses in Martha’s Vineyard to sprawling apartments in New York City or San Francisco. To me, one of her biggest accomplishments was being asked in 2008 to design the official residence of Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States in Washington D.C. That job made my heart burst with pride – and her whole family proud.
I still treasure the most beautiful bud vase she made for her collaboration with Target, as well as her soothing rugs from VH Collections, which compliment my expressive florals.
But here’s the thing. Victoria’s palette is calm, not bold and colorful. (Calm is more my style). When I was starting this web site, I asked her, “Do you do floral wallpapers?”
“I do everything,” she said. “Just interpreted in my style. If my clients want floral, I find what’s right for them.”
She added, “There are always flowers in every room I design. Flowers are my favorite accessory.”
Above are some examples of Victoria’s sublime artistry and her use of flowers to accent her rooms. You may notice that she tends to make her bouquets all one type of flower.
Of course. Simplicity is best.