Adopting a Hamptons style turns a summer home into a serene sanctuary.
By Kelley Atherton
Rolling waves, white sand, and wood planks that lead back to a beach house with large windows. The influence is a bit colonial, a tad early modern. It’s old wealth that’s not ostentatious, but traditional, with an ease that signals beautiful environs steeped in comfort. Attention is paid to the home’s natural, airy surroundings. This is Hamptons style and it never goes out of style.
When designers want to infuse a home with Hamptons style, words such as light, casual, comfortable, effortless, and a breath of fresh air come to mind. The quintessential Hamptons home is surrounded by calm, serene colors and warm natural touches that invite everyone to take it easy and enjoy long, hot summer days.
The emphasis is on creating a space that underscores the beachy vibe of the Hamptons with a bit of a rustic feel. Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design.[/caption]
“The classic appeal of the Hamptons comes from a lifestyle that enjoys the finer things in life, but also appreciates comfort and ease,” says Peg Fruin, a native of the East End of Long Island, who has been designing the interiors of Hamptons homes for more than 15 years. Her firm, Hampton Design, in Bridgehampton is tasked with updating mostly second homes for her clients, who are looking to enjoy the beach with friends and family. “Having a home that is casual, but functional, really captures the essence of a true summer home,” she says.
That casual, effortless style of a vacation home can be found anywhere, especially in South Florida, which fits perfectly with the personality of the Hamptons, says designer Cynthia Whitaker of Cynthia Whitaker Studio in Boca Raton. “Like the Hamptons, it’s a getaway destination, so an easy-going, yet stylish, backdrop fits very well,” she says.
There’s something a bit rustic about adapting a Hamptons style — with the emphasis on creating a space that underscores letting nature converge with home interior. Bright colors and fussy details seem out of place here, serving only to compete with the idea of the weekend or summer getaway where the intention is to relax and entertain with ease, according to Jennifer Duneier of Duneier Design, based in New York.
What works are lighter, linen-inspired colors that “accentuate the overall architecture of the home while bringing the outside in,” says Fruin. Variations of white and taupe mingle with the sand, ocean, and plants of the beach. That means lots of soft grays from the furniture to cabinets, wide plank floors in oak and other light woods, and white marble counters or Caesar-stone quartz. Everything else — from the furniture to the art on the wall — should have an “overall beachy vibe” to create a total immersive experience. South Florida homes and condominiums may not have the traditional exterior associated with Hamptons style, but Fruin says the interior of a home can tell a completely different story.
One of her Hamptons kitchen designs is almost completely white with cool grays extending into the marble countertops, shaker cabinet doors, and subways tiles — but the stainless appliances and furnishings keep it contemporary enough to not creating too much of a contrast. In a Southampton home, she embraced contemporary with built-ins, keeping the kitchen pieces contained in straight, boxy lines enveloped in a warm neutral tone.
Whitaker says the essentials to creating the Hamptons in a South Florida home include white walls, rustic wood finishes, colorful accessories, and transitional furniture with a vintage look. Duneier advises that to extend the Hamptons to an abode outside of New York, add a dab of color to warm up the space. She uses light-colored woods and some metallic sparkle in the light fixtures to bring it all together.
In a Boca Raton home, Whitaker chose abstract prints of ocean waves against a neutral background of white and beige with flecks of metallic details. “The blue jumps off the wall,” she says. She added in cobalt couches, playing off the blue of the water. This eclectic touch added personality to a room so that the environment didn’t become awash in traditional colors and furniture style. Different shades of blue, from indigo to bright cerulean, reflect a seaside influence — blues that are a bit more bold, rather than the mainstays.
At a Watermill home in Southampton, Duneier also used a teal blue that bounces off the white in a geometric graphic print on the chairs and a thin stripe paper on the walls — all on trend — crystal globe light fixtures and circular lines break up the traditionalism of a classic Hamptons home Hamptons style can evoke a certain image of an overkill of white and wicker that comes off as too traditional and boring. But the Hamptons also tend to embrace the latest trends with those unique touches of “traditional playing side-by-side with modern” that keep the Hamptons fresh.
A summer home has entertaining in its bloodline, too, so this is the place to add whimsy. Nautical accessories add personality as long as they are subtle and not overboard. Pieces procured from vintage shops, and then altered to match the style of the room, work best.
“You start with a unique concept to the space,” says Whitaker. “It could be a color, a dream, or a piece of art. With a great foundation, the possibilities are endless, and your project evolves into something incomparable to anything else.”