Mercedes Courland designed the master bath for the 2012 Hampton...

Mercedes Courland designed the master bath for the 2012 Hampton Designer Showhouse. (July 16, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

This summer's Hampton Designer Showhouse brings new meaning to what's hot in home design.

Not one but two rooms in the newly constructed Water Mill house drew inspiration from the erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"People who read the book are excited to see what's happening in here," says Cold Spring Harbor designer Diane Guariglia, who did a playroom with a "Fifty Shaes of Grey" theme (for adults, that is) in the basement.

Upstairs, visitors might get a peek at a newsmaker next door. Listed for $5.495 million, the shingled Hamptons-style home borders property occupied by New York Knicks point guard Jason Kidd.


The trend: "I think gray as a color is the new neutral," says Tony Manning, showhouse marketing chair.

And so it was at the showhouse, where Roslyn Harbor designer Mercedes Courland's use of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" theme started as a way to offset the overwhelming whiteness of the master bathroom. In the center of the space is a bright pink pleated velvet chaise, where, she imagines, "you can lounge, read the book and maybe then take a cold shower."

In the second "Fifty" space, Dyfari Interiors' Diane Guariglia says she wanted to make her grown-up playroom sexy but subtle, fashioning the room after what she imagines dark and complicated Christian Grey's living space ought to really look like in the novel. "There are 50 shades of gray in the room, maybe more," Guariglia says, from the reclaimed barn wood on the walls to the mylar wallcovering with faux rivets on the ceiling.

DIY tip: "Make sure you have a lot of white to contrast the gray to make sure it's not dreary," Courland says. For depth, use some charcoal, perhaps as a background color on the wall. And, she says, "steer away from monochrome gray."


The trend: Here's something cycling back -- the use of horsehair in the home. The age-old use of woven hair from a horse's mane finds new life in Manhattan designer Patrik Lonn's living room, done in an equestrian motif. He uses a nubby and neutral Phillip Jeffries fabric on the walls. A light blue version of the fabric is used in two stools. "It is totally indestructible," Lönn says of the fabric, adding, "but it's also beautiful."

DIY tip: For those on a budget, Lonn suggests less expensive knockoff fabrics. "They've come a long way with faux horsehair," he says.


The trend: The sophisticated, grow-with-the-child nursery gets a boost from California designer Tamara Kaye-Honey's use of vintage lighting, which she says is now chic. "It sets the tone of a space," she says. "It creates an unexpected warmth." She uses a 1960s Austrian blown glass chandelier on the ceiling. In one corner of the room for a whimsical touch, she placed a lamp from the 1950s featuring an Italian spaghetti ceramic poodle.

DIY tip: This is the sort of one-of-a-kind piece worth investing in, says Kaye-Honey, who suggests scouring flea markets and yard sales for items that can be purchased less expensively but might need refurbishing.


The trend: It is hard to walk through the showhouse without taking notice of the widespread use of wallpapers, particularly those with dramatic designs.

"Nearly every single room has it," says Katie Leede, whose firm Katie Leede & Co. is based in Manhattan and Los Angeles, correctly noting that wallpaper sales are on the rise. The designer, well known as a textile artist, turned one of her Egyptian-inspired fabrics into wall coverings for an upstairs bedroom. Depicting papyrus, the bold and painterly Menna pattern is in blues, greens, golds, chestnuts and hay yellows.

DIY tip: When working with a bold wallpaper, paint the baseboard, chair rail and bottom part of the wall, only wallpapering the top half, Leede suggests. "Pick out a color that coordinates and plays off the wallpaper," she says.


The trend: "Art doesn't have to be really expensive," says Huntington Bay-based designer Kate Singer. And, by the looks of her den, it doesn't have to be in a traditional form. A tray in her space contains tea service from Juliska in a design stroke meant to say, "Start your day with a work of art," Singer says. The charcoal gray cups and saucers from the Country Estate collection each feature a different scene of the English countryside.

DIY tip: Try to fill your home with functional items that display well, such as books, seashells, even bottles of liquor. Showing off such things provide "another little opportunity to bring in something interesting and beautiful," she says.


The trend: Aqua makes an East End splash throughout the house, but most vividly in the dining room designed by Mabley Handler Interior Design of Water Mill.

"Aqua is of the moment," says designer Austin Handler. "There's a bit of it in everything." He and fellow designer (and wife) Jennifer Mabley found inspiration for the space from a new Kravet fabric design to be released in the fall. The chevron-like pattern, which is used in the chairs and drapes, was designed by Shelter Island's Jonathan Adler. Aqua is "a little bit more fun" than timeless navy blue, Handler says.

DIY tip: Aqua can be both soothing and playful, depending on how it is used. Pair it with softer colors for a quieter effect. For more of a pop, try it with a darker hue.

IF YOU GO 2012 Hampton Designer Showhouse, presented by Traditional Home to benefit Southampton Hospital

WHERE | WHEN Opens Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Labor Day at 80 Flying Point Rd., Water Mill, N.Y.

INFO $30, which includes a journal; no admission 30 minutes before closing; no strollers, infants, children under 6 or pets; 631-745-0004,