produced by Brianna Donnelly; appearance by Hugh Smith; appearance by Ria Pegus Smith; edited by Sam Russell.
In Refinery29’s Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial women. Today, 31-year-old Ria Smith and her husband Hugh share their luxe two-bedroom apartment in Newark, New Jersey.
When Ria and Hugh first got engaged, they were drawn to the idea of a loft apartment. But after two years of tiny windows, brick wall, and zero separation of living spaces, the couple got tired of it and started itching for something new.
So when Ria got an email saying a new development was open and looking for renters, she decided to check it out. "I was just being nosy, and wasn’t planning on moving," she says. "Our lease wasn’t up, and we weren’t looking to move, we just heard there was a new building down the block."
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After a tour of the apartment, the couple was sold, if only because of the floor-to-ceiling windows. "We got out of our lease a whole year early and moved in," Ria says.
Still, despite it being a new development, the couple behind the newly-launched e-design company Hunter Hue had to make some adjustments to make the space fit their modern decor. First up: Painting the walls a stark flat white. Watch the video above to see exactly what they left their loft for — and read on for decorating tips and the nitty gritty details.
Misty HughesStrange Loop$20.00
INFOWest ElmModern Chesterfield Leather Sofa (79")$2899.00$2319.00
INFOEtsyMedium Knot Floor Cushion$320.00
Did you two have a broker’s fee to deal with?
"We did not have a brokers fee because we came and checked it out ourselves. We also got one month free because it was a brand new building, which was just taken off from the deposit. The security deposit we did a traditional 1-month’s rent, and we had also a dog fee which was $500, and then we have dog rent which is $40 a month per dog."
What is the most expensive thing in your apartment?
"The couch was the most expensive. It was about $3,000 we got it from West Elm. It’s leather, and it’s just a really beautiful couch and we just didn’t want to go with a standard material because we have two dogs and they sometimes have accidents."
Do you have any design tips or tricks?
"With art, we kept it to one art piece per room mostly. We like single, large pieces. It’s clean and modern and sometimes if you put too much art on the wall, it clutters the space. Because we wanted an open feel, we decided to go with single large pieces."
What has influenced your home style?
"I work for an interior decorator and my husband just has a great design eye so we do it together. He honestly has a better design eye than I do, and has a lot of talent. Our style is pretty modern Scandinavian, open, clean, and simple. Ultimately, we want it to feel like a hotel, and if a guest comes they can feel comfortable."