From its flower-filled Jacques Grange–designed rooms to its much-photographed celadon and silk dressing room, Aerin Lauder’s Park Avenue apartment has always epitomized her perfectly curated life. But fans of the lifestyle, fashion, and cosmetics entrepreneur got a big surprise when she recently revealed on Instagram that she had moved out of her family home of 23 years. And she made the announcement in the most Aerin way possible, by sharing that “a wonderful new family is moving in” and that she is thoughtfully leaving AERIN lighting in all the rooms, as well as gifts from her home and fragrance collections for the owners and their young daughters.
We, of course, had so many questions. Where is she going? What gave her the idea to leave gifts for the new owners? So we took our queries straight to Aerin herself.
ELLE DECOR: Your Park Avenue apartment is so iconic. Why are you moving?
Aerin Lauder: There was an opportunity in this building that we love. It’s on Fifth Avenue, with beautiful views of Central Park, and was owned by C. Douglas Dillon, who was the Secretary of the Treasury under John F. Kennedy, and who had wonderful taste and style. Inside it feels like time stood still, with a more traditional sensibility, and I’ve kept all the old doorknobs and many elements of the design.
ED: You raised a family in the Park Avenue apartment. Was it emotional to leave?
AL: To tell you the truth, it is very emotional packing up and going through old photographs and finding wonderful old documents. I found folders full of things from when my kids were in nursery school [they are now 22 and 20]. We moved in when my son was a year old, and we’ve had so many celebrations in the apartment. But a new chapter is always exciting and fun.
ED: Your Instagram post about the gifts you are leaving the new family was so charming. Did you get to meet them?
AL: I didn’t. But their agent is a friend of mine, so I knew that the family has two little girls, and I texted with the buyer a little bit, trying to figure out logistics. She seemed lovely and I’m excited that they’re happy about their new home. I knew from the broker that she loved the curtains in the bedroom, and the lighting and the wallpaper. I did take some of the vintage lighting that was dear to me, but I replaced it with lights from my AERIN line. For example, in my dressing room, with that beautiful Gracie wallpaper, I installed one of my most successful lights, the Hampton. I also left some presents for them in the kitchen—white ceramics from my Allette line for kitchen entertaining. And I put out Aerin shopping bags with my fragrance for girls, Rose de Grasse Pour Filles, for the daughters. It’s like a lighter version of the fragrance I just launched, Rose de Grasse Joyful Bloom.
ED: Who are you working with on the new apartment?
AL: Jacques Grange is working with me again a little bit on the new one, along with the designer Stephen Sills. And we are also working with an architect, Annabelle Selldorf, who worked with my father [Ronald Lauder] on Neue Galerie. I love her sensibility and the way she combines traditional architecture with modern touches. That’s very much what the new apartment is going to be. We are moving in at the end of August.
ED: Can you share any details?
AL: I love the idea of a magical dressing room, so I’m doing a new one with a very different sensibility. It’s still floral. It’s still fantasy. And I always love a white kitchen. All the furniture is coming from the old apartment. It’s very consistent with my palette. Some of it is being recovered but it is in the same palette—browns and golds and touches of green.
ED: What advice do you have for others who are leaving their longtime homes?
AL: It’s definitely very challenging and stressful, but there is something special about having memories in a place and closing that door and opening a new one. And for the next owners, I think it’s so important to leave it in good condition and really clean it out as much as possible. My home is very much a reflection of me and my life. I wanted to hand it over as perfectly as I could.
Ingrid Abramovitch, the Executive Editor at ELLE Decor, writes about design, architecture, renovation, and lifestyle, and is the author of several books on design including Restoring a House in the City.