Stepping into the cool respite of “Beachcomber” from the oppressive 90-degree heat is like entering a vivid world of bold color, lush textures and high design.
This is the 17th year of the popular Hampton Designer Showhouse and interior designers were making last minute tweaks, painters were doing touch-ups, photographers shot vignettes, and construction workers hurried back and forth and up and down a sweeping staircase. But the frantic movements belie an assured sense of calm and quiet excitement here at one of two new-build showhouses in the Tuckahoe area of Southampton called The Fields. The second showhouse is The Linden. The Fields is being developed by Paramount Custom Homes, based in Center Moriches, and is permitted for 28 homes with a 10-acre park.
“Brass is back!” said the energetic John Shaka, installation manager of the designer showhouse, as he multi-tasked—on the phone, going from room-to-room, putting out fires—with humor and aplomb.
Hampton Designer Showhouse, presented by Traditional Home Magazine, opened to the public on Sunday, July 23, and will run until Labor Day. There will be gasps and oohs and ahhs and “I want to live in this room” comments. The two splendid homes deliver on all levels, featuring both local and national renowned designers, each with his or her own unique viewpoint and vision. Some of the local design firms include Brady Design, East End Home, East Hampton Gardens, English Country Home, Grayson De Vere, Greg McKenzie Designs, Mabley Handler, MancAVes, Melanie Roy, Old Town Crossing, Sea Green Designs and Wolf Interior Design.
As in the past, the proceeds benefit Southampton Hospital.
Created for the enjoyment of patrons, it’s also a chance for designers to really show off.
Melanie Roy was sponsored by Garnet Hill and created a vibrant guest room that evokes a beautiful garden with whimsical touches from the 1970s.
“Greenery is the Pantone color of the year,” she said. “I decided to work with that. I wanted to bring the outdoors in.”
One wall is covered in faux fern from New Growth Design. Roma wallpaper with a mica shimmering ceiling paper highlights an Arteriors’ Finch chandelier made of twigs and a hanging bamboo chair swings aside a Kravet’s Coya acrylic table. A faux fur rug is thrown on the bed. She also hung an acrylic on cyprus canvas by Jason Middlebrook from Elizabeth Fiore Art Advisory. “Being green is so very important,” Ms. Roy said.
Down the hall, the master bedroom by Eddie Ross for The Mine conjures up the life of an eclectic world traveler. Mr. Ross said this is a room “for creative types—art collectors, maybe, or fashion editors—who love living with color. They know the rules and break them every chance they get.”
He cleverly pays homage to John and Jackie Kennedy in contemporary and traditional artwork: “I picked them up at the Woodman/Shimko Gallery in Provincetown. I love the artist’s modern take on traditional icons, echoing the theme of the room,” he said.
One corner of the room looks as if a chic hostess has just arisen from writing thank-you notes. The mix of patterns and colors combine to give the room an authentic touch.
“Decorating is all about personal style, combining colors, patterns, styles and time periods into a modern mix that tells your story,” he said.
Lillian August’s reflective lights in an oversized hanging fixture anchors a family room with comfy couches and chairs that make one want to just drop into them, grab a good book and never leave. Natural textures contrast with bold pops of color and lots of green to create a sumptuous “boho chic” space.
Outside, East Hampton Gardens’ Michael Giannelli worked with interior designer Gregory Shano to create a stunning patio and outdoor living room.
“We mixed Palm Beach with East Hampton. The theme is this eclectic, chic woman who was down in Palm Beach and she loves style and color and brings her favorite things up here for the summer.”
They blended pops of color with traditional blue and white.
“Here’s a little bit of a Chippendale with a custom bench in powder-coated aluminum and a French dinette set in navy and, of course, her classic Italian lobster-ware,” Mr. Giannelli said.
Grand, striped umbrellas come courtesy of Pottery Barn and there are chaise lounges where one can imagine getting a poolside manicure-pedicure. They separated the two spaces with a stunning fountain.
Ticked off the kitchen is the mudroom where Artworks and Designs’ Art McShane was inspired by his dog, Milo. This delightful space is an homage to man’s best friend. Mr. McShane points out the hand-painted, “herringbone-pattern wall finish” as well as a houndstooth bench and quirky details such as a doggie to-do list. This is a room that people will love as much as dogs.
Downstairs, Shannon Wiley’s Sea Green Designs provide the perfect blend of cool and warm for a retreat, bedroom and study. Her coastal influenced designs are in full force here and the result is a functional combination room perfect for a Hamptons home.
Over at The Linden, one is immediately awed by Ken Gemes’s foyer, where he accomplishes his philosophy of “creating environments that are at once elegant and inviting.”
Off to the left, is Brady Design’s dining room. Always one to be on top of, if not starting a trend, architect Brian P. Brady features ombre wallpaper.
“What’s amazing is that the wallpaper comes from a photograph that has been blown up and put on the walls,” Mr. Shaka said.
Upstairs, not to be missed is NYC designer Rajni Alex’s “jewelry box” room where every detail and nuance is handled with creativity and thoughtfulness. A Gabriel Scott Harlow chandelier mixes well with street art—a Grace Morgan photograph of a graffitied wall in Spain. This room is edgy and elegant at the same time. Built-in cabinets feature custom blue lacquer paint and brass fixtures and open to reveal Hermes orange interiors.
“We tried to bring all the colors into the details; we tried to use them with restraint but at the same time, cleverly,” Ms. Alex said.
She even added clothing that this sophisticated city girl would wear. Blue Mabula doors lead to the bathroom and walk-in closet and textures and colors are layered for a 3-dimensional feeling of utter splendor. Custom orange embroidered drapery by Taffard, cream-colored Moroccan rugs by JD Staron, and luxurious pillows by Dedar and Lee Jofa complete the effect.
“This is a room for a girl who has been exposed to culture but is a little bit of a rebel,” Ms. Alex said.
On the lower level, Jeanne Liu strikes the perfect balance of whimsy and function in a boys’ bedroom, complete with bunk beds.
Tucked in the garage of both Beachcomber and The Linden, is the pop-up boutique, Deluxe. Sandi Berman is the first to admit, “There’s nothing new here.” Indeed, this is her 10th year at the showhouse, and all the collectibles for sale are vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces. Nothing is new! Ms. Berman’s Upper East Side boutique has been a staple there for three decades.
Vintage furniture, home accessories, art, decorative pieces and couture costume jewelry start at $20. Ms. Berman wields a giant red pepper, and proudly holds up “ten Missoni plates!” and “a Rosenthal demitasse set—from the ’70s!” Then she directs attention to her favorite piece: a cocktail shaker made in France with a matching ice bucket in hammered silver or silverplate. She also loves a sterling silver bowl with a corset. There are treasures here to bring home, created to inspire long after the showhouse closes its doors. Ms. Berman said, “Almost everything has a story. Here’s a magic hat—you can put your utensils in it.”
Also to note: MancAVes has installed state-of-the-art screening rooms on the lower levels, and Kohler has returned for the second year in a row to sponsor all of the baths for both houses, along with all of the kitchen, wet bar and laundry sinks and faucetry. The results are simply fabulous.
For more information on the Hampton Designer Showhouse and to purchase tickets, visit hamptondesignershowhouse.com.