Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summertime: "Show and Tell"

The East End of Long Island, a.k.a. The Hamptons, plays host every summer to one or more designer showhouses.  This year's showhouse is located in Bridgehampton; it's over Septermber 4, so if you're in the  area, I'd recommend checking it out.  There are always innovative ideas to glean from these exhibits, sometimes there are moments of genius, but it ain't quite what it used to be.  And that has more to do with the "bones" of the house itself than with the efforts of the designers.

In perusing my cache of old House & Garden issues, I came upon some photos of showhouses past.   I thought you might enjoy taking a peek at some rooms on display during the summer of 2006, photographed by Thomas Loof.

For those of you who can't get enough blue and white (not a bad vice), here is Barclay Butera's ode to that classic Long Island color story.  His entrance hall is grounded by a carpet inspired by the great David Hicks.  Sea shells are a recurring motif here; their whimsy balances out his well-tailored furnishings.  The walls above the chair rail are covered in grasscloth.

Ernest de la Torre's library has lots of wonderful pieces, but perhaps most striking is the Candida Hofer photo hanging above the sofa.  Appropriately, it's a library -- of Trinity College, Dublin.  In sharp contrast is a Basquiat print on the opposite wall.  The Sol LeWitt cocktail table sits on an antique Agra carpet.  The chairs, by de la Torre, are in the style of Paul 

Jay Jeffers imbued the enclosed porch with indoor refinement, right down to hanging artwork from the shingled walls.

Healing Barsanti's dining room was memorable, with lots to take away from it.  As Dan Barsanti explained, "'For every polished surface, we added a textural counterpoint.'"  The console is from Lorin Marsh, the dining table from Nancy Corzine but the real conversation piece is the designers' paw-foot chairs.

Eric Cohler's family room is truly eclectic, playful and cozy at the same time.  Notice the red leather tiles above the mantle.

The living room by Scott-Ullman is soft and inviting with a warm color story that takes its cue from the antique Oushak carpet.

This is a screened porch.  Pretty elegant, but everything in it is resistant to the elements.   Its designer, Philip Gorrivan, refers to it as "the summer room"...yeah, sounds better than "screened porch."

  Another wonderful example of the richness and diversity of outdoor fabrics and furnishings is Amanda Nisbet's porch.   It's quite a blue and white statement, right up to the vivid hue of the ceiling.  Notice the coral specimens mounted in shadow boxes.

 Another memorable room was Emma Jane Pilkington's potting room, albeit a more luxurious space for horticultural pursuits than is normally found, even in the Hamptons.  Her inspiration was the East End's "'weathered grey aesthetic."'

Christopher Peacock chose simple lines for his kithchen, but they are punctuated (!) by the custom pot rack hanging over the island.

The design team of Angus Caravelli was surely channeling 18th Century Europe's love of tented bedrooms with their serene sitting room.

Noel Jeffery's master bedroom is calm and sophisticated.  The layering and draping of the bed and at the windows adds to this ambience.

Did I mention draping and layering?  Alex Papchristidis's bedroom has it in spades.  But my favorite part (aside from the most elegant dog bed) is the floor.  Look closely: it's not a carpet.  It's stenciled.  Brilliant!

What makes this guest bedroom by Michael Rosenberg a standout is the wallpaper, custom printed on grasscloth.

Both of these bathrooms are distinctive for their beautiful mosaic tiled floors, their interesting wall treatments and colors and their tubs...and what fun to fill one with sunflowers!

More to come next week.   Thanks for reading, everyone!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summertime: "Hulse Farm"

Eastern Long Island is not all A-list parties and huge estates.  There are some quaint little towns, minutes from the storied Hamptons yet vast distances away in terms of attitude.  I spent many years lovingly (and at times not so lovingly) restoring a circa 1850 farmhouse that you see above and below.  It was known as "Hulse Farm" after the old Long Island family who owned and worked the land for so many years.

I shifted the entrance and added the front gabled wing and the front porch.  My intent was to make it look as though it had always been there.

The house itself had grown like Topsy.  My challenge was to rearrange the rooms into a reasonable floor plan.  The original part of the house --just a tiny cabin -- became the entrance hall.  The stairs (formerly spilling into the living room) were rerouted.  The original beams were exposed, the original chimney was rebuilt and an antique mantle added.

The living room (above and two photos below) had a ceiling that was less that eight feet high.  It looked like a bowling alley.  I opened up the room, gaining double height by eliminating the attic.  Luckily we were able to use salvaged beams to add interest to the expansive ceiling. 

 Two seating areas worked well in the large space.  The windows were also all replaced and enlarged.  

I took advantage of the soaring ceiling to add a dramatically over-scaled mirror.

 The dining room (above and below) occupied a space that had been a bedroom.  The location, right off both the living room and kitchen, was good but the room was tiny (let's call it "intimate") but I still managed to squeeze in a fireplace.

The den was also small, but cozy, and opened out onto a marvelous screened porch (below).

The screened porch was about the only part of the house that remained untouched.  It was a great size and served as living and eating quarters for several months out of the year.  Above photo shows the seating area.

The master bedroom was light-filled and spacious. (My favorite photographer, Michael Kraus, took the photo above and below.)

The downstairs guest bedroom also had an abundance of windows.

The upstairs guest bedroom was created out of a virtual wreck of a space.

Most practical people would have simply razed the little house, but I'm glad I saved it.  It's stood perched on its little spot amidst gently rolling landscape and old trees for over a hundred years, and will most likely stand a hundred more.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summertime: "On the Waterfront"

This is not a typical "Hamptons" house, all breezy and beachy with lots of overstuffed, slipcovered sofas and vases spilling over with blue hydrangeas.  This is more a shrine to luxe Modernism and important art, realized by the design team of Fox-Nahem who imbued their clients' Southampton, New York house with "their own groovy version of beachiness."  Elle Decor published this iconic house (photographed by Pieter Estersohn) prior to 2003.  Take a look:

This double height entrance hall is not filled with white-painted wainscoting, but rather with two striking photographs by Rineke Dijkstra, an equally show-stopping vintage Verner Panton shell chandelier and a pair of circa 1958 lounge chairs, in the style of T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings.

The living room (above and below) features more important art and furnishings.  The mixed-media work above the custom sofa by Fox-Nahem is by John Baldessari.  The ebonized arm chairs are attributed to Jean Royere and the barrel-back chairs are 1950s Italian.

The curved sofa is by Vladimir Kagan through Ralph Pucci.  The primitive wood cocktail table (below) is by Jerome Abel Seguin; the freeform cocktail table is vintage 1950s.  Three Jokes, acrylic on canvas, by Richard Prince hangs in the background (below.)  The huge rug, incidently, is goatskin -- a big ticket  item in and of itself.

A massive George Nakashima table commands center stage in the dining room.  The oak and woven leather armchairs are by Waldo Designs.  The magnificent chandelier is a 1950s Fontana Arte.  The white lacquered sideboard hints at the style of Tommi Parzinger.

The breakfast room is dominated by Ed Ruska's painting, Cold Beer Beautiful Girls.

Modernism continues in the den.

 Outdoor chairs and table from Delgreco & Co. enhance the deck overlooking Shinnecock Bay.

Pool side features more Delgreco furniture by Richard Schultz.

Did I mention the designers had 10 weeks to pull this off?  Pretty amazing, no?

Thanks for reading, everyone!

I'm back!

Sorry for the interruption in service.  It was a technological error that I finally solved.   I'll be publishing a new post later today, but I just wanted to let my loyal readers know that I haven't gone away.  It also seems a good opportunity to let my readers know how much I appreciate you.

Please stay tuned, and thanks for reading, everyone!