elledecor– When the design duo behind Husband Wife first met, they were not (yet, anyway) husband and wife. It was 2006 and Brittney Hart, a fledgling designer with a fresh master’s degree from UCLA, was in New York on a business trip. A mutual friend introduced her to Justin Capuco, also a burgeoning designer in the middle of completing his master’s in architecture.
It was love at first sight, Capuco recalls, even though they lived on opposite coasts. Hart relocated to New York the following year. After taking on various design jobs (Capuco worked for ELLE DECOR A-List firm Rafael de Cárdenas; Hart for Peter Marino, SHoP, and others), the pair struck out on their own in 2015 with the belief that good design comes from the same place as a good marriage—the ability to find an equilibrium.
“It’s striving to find this balance between opposing forces or complementary forces,” Hart says. “Sometimes complementary, sometimes opposing.”
Those diametric forces are at work in a recent apartment the pair designed for a mother and her three children living on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But the client sought just the right programmatic mix for practical purposes, too: She wanted to create a home where the kids could both sit and do their homework and where she could have friends over for cocktails—a haven that felt both elegant and informal.
“We all wanted it to feel like you could have a party for 20, or your kids could run around and watch movies and wrestle,” Hart explains.