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Every once in a while you find a place that somehow restores your spirits. Of course, if you’re lucky, your home has that effect too. But I’m talking about finding another place, perhaps a B&B you escaped to one weekend or the home of a friend who hosted a weekend wedding party. Somewhere that still evokes happy memories many years later. Well, I have a feeling the house in which we stayed in the Hamptons this month is such a place.

Perhaps it was because we were so exhausted when we arrived. Or maybe it was because this was the first time our whole extended family had been together for over a year (and the first time ever since my nephew was born). But a big factor in our enjoyment was certainly the house itself. Now that I’ve finally downloaded all the photos, I thought I’d share a few. I hope you can see what I mean when I say this was an unforgettable vacation…

Exterior

Well, that’s it there. Beautiful isn’t it? The house was actually built in three separate phases, spanning centuries. The original structure is on the far right. The central and left portions were added later by subsequent owners (and, in some cases, descendants of the original owners). Part of the building was even shipped from Pennsylvania. It also reminded me of the houses you see scattered around the English countryside.

Entry

This is the entry hall. You can see straightaway that this is first and foremost a home. Yes, it’s a big house and the exterior is stunning. But the interior is not at all ‘grand’. It’s sweet, charming and comfortable – although, admittedly, every room does also have enviable proportions and light. The style is slightly Gustavian – the whitewashed floors, striped walls, lots of pale painted furniture. But it’s also uniquely personal. This is a home occupied by artists and you can see evidence of that in every room.

Entry

We were in the house over July 4, so these little figures on the hallway mantelpiece were quite fitting!

Dining room

This is the dining room. It’s the heart of the house physically and metaphorically. It’s supremely practical (you can walk over those white painted floors in your bare feet straight from the garden and the table will stand up to a child’s idea of table manners – and then some). But it’s also really pretty. I love that wallpaper and the chandelier.

Dining room

This little bar area in the dining room is so cute. Brilliant use of colors – and yet it doesn’t look at all contrived.

Dining room

Yet another dining room detail. I love the way this painting is propped up casually on a child’s chair.

Living room

We didn’t spend much time in the living room (couldn’t move off the patio or out of the dining room!). But this is probably the perfect beach house blue.

Sunroom

We did, on the other hand, spend a lot of time in the sunroom. This covered porch is a later addition to the house but it’s perfect for cooling off when the sunbathing gets too much (!).

Sunroom

More Swedish style in evidence. And those lamp bases that look like milk pails are a stroke of genius.

Library

The oldest part of the house includes a library. I can imagine this would be a great snug for winter. I’m partial to walls of books, so here’s a little hint of the room for those who, like me, hanker after floor-to-ceiling reading material.

Master bedroom

The master bedroom is also in the oldest part of the house. The windows are the best vantage point in the house for spotting deer in the garden!

Bathroom

I love this wallpaper in one of the bathrooms. With the dark blue tiles, it looks sharp, not chintzy.

I hope I’ve done the place justice. I’m no photographer. And you can’t capture all the details that make a house so welcoming: the paintings with personal notes from the artist, the collection of old copper kettles in the hallway. But, at least you can see how the owners have eschewed the showiness of much of the Hamptons and instead created a stylish home that makes you want to kick off your shoes and settle down to a great book. Now that’s a restorative vacation…

If you’re interested in renting this house for a vacation, you can do so through CyberRentals. I guarantee you’ll return home a new person.

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We’re back from vacation now and trying to settle into the old routine. I know my posts have been rather sparse in the last week – I just had to be offline for a bit in order to relax.

We spent quite a bit of time visiting some of the Hamptons’ famed galleries. We even made a couple of (very small) purchases – more on that later. But it was the Mark Humphrey gallery in Southampton that really drew my eye, with an exhibition of work by Donald Baechler.

Donald Baechler

I love the bold form and simplicity. But what you can’t appreciate from the photo here is the stunning shimmering silver background and the sheer scale. I’m glad I had a chance to see it in person, albeit briefly.

Even if you’re not an art aficionado, you might well recognize Bachler’s work. His graphic, sometimes humorous, but always arresting, depictions of flowers, faces and other objects are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.

But, even if it still isn’t ringing any bells, you’ll certainly recognize the painting that graced the front cover of this month’s Elle Decor. Baechler’s bold floral silhouette is a major feature of Aerin Lauder’s East Hampton living room.

Elle Decor

And so we go full circle. How very fitting.

We’ve been in the Hamptons for four days now and I’m starting to get used to leisurely breakfasts and warm, lazy afternoons. What a change from the usual frenetic pace of life. We’ve been enjoying lots of meals outside and it got me thinking about some of the most idyllic al fresco dining images I’ve seen. They all feature something in common: trees. There’s something about dining under a tree that just appeals – shade in the day, lanterns hanging from the branches in the evening. Wouldn’t you like to enjoy a meal at one of these tables?

Outdoor dining

Outdoor dining

Outdoor dining

Tented outdoor dining room

Outdoor dining

Outdoor dining

Outdoor dining

I’ve always wanted to be able to do this in our backyard but we just don’t have the right kind of trees. I’ll just have to get my fix this week while on vacation.

Credits:

1 – Laurence Pasquier; 2 – Polly Wreford; 3 – Via Vintage and Chic; 4 – Marie Claire Maison; 5 – Le Mas Roussier, Anglo French Properties; 6 – Via Apartment Therapy; 7 – Via LivingEtc.

We’re off to the Hamptons next weekend. I can’t wait for a bit of R&R and family time. Exhaustion is starting to set in… Apart from that, though, I’m looking forward to getting a dose of Hamptons chic.

Thomas O'Brien

No, this is not where we’re staying (I wish!). This is designer Thomas O’Brien‘s Bellport, Long Island, home via Habitually Chic. It pretty much sums up my idea of Hamptons style.

I’m looking for suggestions of places to check out while we’re there. We’re staying in Westhampton but will try to get around a bit. I’m particularly keen to get some hints on must-sees (or must-shops) for design addicts like me! Anyone got any tips?

Perhaps it’s because of the hot weather, but I’ve been thinking about beach houses (well, the beach in general actually). I’ve been wanting to do some posts about amazing movie interiors, so what better place to start than the most stunning beach house of all: the one in Something’s Gotta Give.

Something’s Gotta Give, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, has been one of the most talked-about movies from an interior design perspective ever. Keaton’s city home was pretty special, but her beach house was just amazing. Some argue that it set the bar for Hamptons style. There are literally dozens of blog posts about the house, but one of the most helpful I found was on interior design blog, Surroundings.

To remind you, here’s what the house looked like (via Surroundings).

Something's Gotta Give living room

Something's Gotta Give - reading nook

Something's Gotta Give - kitchen

How to get the look

To me, this look is more about the colors and architectural details than about the individual furnishings. For example, a major defining characteristic is contrast of light and dark, with the all-white walls, moldings and cabinetry against the dark wood floors, tables, chairs and kitchen countertops. This is a look that works in pretty much any home, but is particularly effective here because of all the interesting architectural details.

Although some additional color is introduced in the drapes, rugs and sofas, it’s still all very muted – the designers have layered pale coastal-inspired blues and sandy yellows.

But what makes this house feel so personal is the use of texture. The drapes are all linen, the rug a beachy woven stripe, the furnishings a mix of cotton slipcover, wicker and polished wood. If you look carefully, you see that the book shelves are even backed in bead and board.

Then there’s the use of art, books and careful lighting – all of which make the house seem really cozy. Quite a feat really, considering it’s actually a movie set. Apparently, the set designers even sprayed sunscreen around just before anyone walked on set – to evoke that real-life beachy feel!

More tips here from Surroundings and also the Set Decorators Society of America. For those based in San Francisco, the SF Examiner had a few tips on bringing the Hamptons to the Bay Area.

More inspiration

If you’re looking for more beach house inspiration, try these tempting pics:

Marjie’s coastal cottage, via Apartment Therapy.

AT coastal cottage

From Apartment Therapy’s ‘modern lake houses’ post.

Lake house

This Portland beach house is from Design*Sponge.

Portland beach house

And this house is in Sydney, Australia (via Desire to Inspire).

Syndney beach house

This photo is by Catherine Gratwicke and is via Desire to Inspire.

Beach house

These next two are from LivingEtc.

Beach house

Beach house

These last two are from Coastal Living.

Beach house

Beach house

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