Ray of Light: Inspired Design in the Hamptons

Traditional Home’s Latest Designer Showhouse Shines in Nature-Inspired Hues


“Clear as gin” was how poet John N. Morris described the Hamptons’ memorable natural light. This light has drawn multitudes of artists—Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock among them—to the sandy shorlines lining the eastern tip of New York’s Long Island. The 2016 Hampton Designer Showhouse is proof that the Hamptons’ light continues to motivate.

As with any design project in the Hamptons, the effect of the natural light must be taken into consideration.

Set in the hushed woods outside historic Sag Harbor, the 10,200-square-foot home contains eight bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms, in addition to a pool, wine cellar, home workout center, and tennis courts. But what makes this house stand out is the creativity that the designers brought to each room. And while the rooms, from the great room to the dining room to the master suite, are the product of unique ideas, they all derive from the same source of inspiration: that famous natural light.

Natural Neutrals

The great room of Traditional Home’s Hampton Designer Showhouse is enveloped in light. Sun enters through the linen draperies and cascades across the soft, neutral hues of the room. Kate Singer, the designer responsible for the room, was inspired by the light tones derived from the sea, the sky, and in the nearby sand. These tones are reflected in her choice of two paints offered by Pratt & Lambert, Osprey 26-29 and Swiss Coffee 33-5.

“In the Hamptons,” Singer said, “I am always inspired by the awesome beauty that exists in nature. I like to connect the inside of a home to the natural organic beauty and colors that exist outside.”

“I like to connect the inside of a home to the natural organic beauty and colors that exist outside.”

The mural that hangs above the fireplace best exemplifies that tie between the worlds on both sides of the glass patio doors. Hand-painted by de Gournay, the British wallpaper company, this mural displays a floral pattern in the same hues of white and blue found in a cloud-speckled sky. The whites and blues continue in the natural linen upholstery on the furniture.

Hamptons Great Room

Singer began her design process by standing in the bare room—“a clean palette,” as she described it—and studying the light. The rest, she said, was based entirely on feel.

“I envisioned how the room would be used and enjoyed,” Singer explained, ”then I developed a furniture layout, color palette, and mood or ambience of the space based on my intuition and style.”

Swiss Coffee
33-5

Osprey
26-29

Dining in Paradise

Gideon Mendelson’s dining room for the Hampton Designer Showhouse starts with architecture and ends with color. According to Mendelson, show homes offer a unique proposition for designers. Without a client whose preferences can be relied upon for clarification, it’s totally up to the designer to design and then execute a dream. For this project, Mendelson centered his vision around his modern take on a traditional lattice room.

Hamptons Dining Room

“The lattice was the starting point,” he said. “The furniture plan and palette came next. Furniture, textiles, and accessories completed the story.”

But while traditional lattice rooms tend to be controlled by whites, Mendelson used the colors of nature to provide depth and sophistication to his dining room. Here, the lattice pattern is found in the woven backing of the dining room chairs, as well as in the wallpaper and the textiles used for the table runner. The palette for all of these elements is a variation on earthy neutrals to emulate the color of the woodlands outside the windows. Mendelson then offered up a variety of green, in the Larsen fabric for the drapery, in the art deco wall art, and in the Paradise Green 16-14 paint by Pratt & Lambert, to give the feeling of an outdoor picnic inside the show home.

Mendelson said, “We found a complementary Pratt & Lambert color for the over-door at the entry of our space. It’s a fun surprise that gives the room a pop.”

“Natural and incandescent lighting and other materials in a room all change how a color is perceived, and these things are always changing.”

As with any design project in the Hamptons, the effect of the natural light must be considered. “Picking the perfect color can sometimes be tricky,” Mendelson said. “So many things have an impact on how color looks in a space. Natural and incandescent lighting and other materials in a room all change how a color is perceived, and these things are always changing.”

Paradise Green
16-14

A Suite of Colors

What is most noticeable in the master suite of the Hampton Designer Showhouse is the color. The blue violet room design along with Pratt & Lambert's Violet Echo 28-28 on the ceiling mirrors the colors of the ocean, making the bed appear as though it is floating in a serene waterscape. But according to Austin Handler of Mabley Handler Interior Design, the selection of Violet Echo 28-28 was actually the final step of the design operation. “We picked a blue and gray agate-patterned fabric to use behind the bed, and then we picked a coordinating grass cloth wallpaper to wrap around the remaining walls,” he explained. “And then, when we saw the full palette of colors, tones and textures, we picked a beautiful purple-blue Pratt & Lambert paint for the ceiling to complete our design.”

“If we pick a paint color first, we may love that color but then find it hard to find the perfect fabric in the perfect shade to go along with it.”

This design process is borne of a desire for efficiency, and because the selection of fabrics can often be more limiting than the vast variety of paint options, it makes all the sense in the world to start with fabric, furniture, and the draperies.

“If we pick a paint color first, we may love that color but then find it hard to find the perfect fabric in the perfect shade to go along with it,” Handler said. “Whereas if we pick the fabrics first, we can always find the best paint color to complement the fabrics.”

Hamptons Master Suite

The selection of the fabrics for the Hampton Designer Showhouse master suite was a highly creative one. Thanks to the vision of Mabley Handler, you don’t even need to get out of bed to experience all the elements—the sky, the ocean, and, of course, the light—that make the Hamptons so unique.

Violet Echo
28-28

Sitting in Summer

Kyle Roberts had a single focus when designing the master suite sitting room for the Hampton Designer Showhouse. As he put it, “I wanted it to be memorable without being obnoxious.”

Roberts’ color selection of Pratt & Lambert’s Summer Petal 15-7 certainly makes the room memorable, and the results are anything but obnoxious. When the sun shines through the French double doors, the walls simply glow. The room oozes happiness and warmth, two key feelings that describe life in the Hamptons.

Hamptons Guest Office

Roberts began his design process by pulling together the ingredients: the table and chairs, the wall sconces, and the credenza. He then searched for the most interesting color he could use with those elements. Summer Petal 15-7 was the perfect choice. The vivid yellow stipples the accessories with sunshine, even when the real sun isn’t shining outside.

Together, the two rooms of the master suite beautifully combine the two elements that make the Hamptons so special: the ocean and the sun.

The use of Summer Petal 15-7 also is a noticeable difference from the cool colors used by Mabley Handler in the adjacent master suite. “I wanted the warm color to complement it,” Roberts said, “without looking too similar.”

Together, the two rooms of the master suite elegantly combine the two features that make the Hamptons so extraordinary: the ocean and the sun.

Summer Petal
15-7

From texture-focused to spa-inspired to organic accents, a variety of topics are discussed by the master designers who shared their style and design choices for the Hampton Design Showhouse. Find out more about the designers’ color inspiration for the rooms and how they coordinated it for an inviting flow throughout the show home in this video segment.