At this year's Hampton Designer Showhouse, decorators drew inspiration from both Long Island's natural beauty and the vivid colors and patterns of faraway lands. Together, they came up with the ultimate summer getaway at the shingle-style Bridgehampton mansion, which opens to the public with a gala this weekend.
The showhouse contrasts spaces that are serene and soothing with those that make bold, shiny statements. Most of the designers aimed to create living areas that are sophisticated but livable. Many of the looks can be replicated with some simple, inexpensive DIY touches.
Connecticut designer Lynne Scalo was inspired by "The Great Gatsby," which director Baz Luhrmann brought to the big screen this spring, to make an upstairs lounge shine and to capitalize on the latest home design trend. "I was inspired by the elegance and the over-the-topness, and the gold, and the silver," says Scalo, who brought in a curved gold bench accented with large, brightly patterned pillows, and a touch of gold lacquer on the ceiling. On the walls are pieces of modern art, including one bold sculpture of crumpled silvery metal. A pair of wicker chairs with white, furry cushions tone down the bling.
DIY TIP To get a similar look, Scalo suggests painting the walls white and hanging some gold frames around the room. Fill them with family photos, or cut out pictures of luxury brands from magazines to make a graphic statement. You also could find an old piece of furniture and spray paint it gold.
Manhattan-based designer Barbara Page decided to create a bedroom for her 18-year-old daughter, who will soon be heading off to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The room is designed around the Moorish-patterned wallpaper. The purple drapes and the bed upholstered in green velvet create a color scheme appropriate for a sophisticated, well-traveled teenager, or young adult, who may be returning to the nest. "I wanted a sophisticated, playful, restful retreat when she comes home," says Page, who also has a house in Southampton. "It's not a young girl's room." A recent trip to Morocco also inspired Sherrill Canet, based in Locust Valley and Manhattan. Her sitting room includes a laser-cut aluminum panel with geometric shapes over the window instead of a curtain, and mirrors in bone and ebony.
DIY TIP Make a room personal by including special tokens from your travels. One of Page's inexpensive design elements is a shell from Santorini in Greece. "You want them to tell a story," Page says.
For her informal sitting and dining areas, Patricia Fisher brought in "durable, user-friendly items." Instead of flowers, the centerpiece of the circular dinner table is a giant shell planted with cacti and succulents, which need to be watered only once a month and are very much on trend. "They're great summer plants," says Fisher, who works in New York and East Hampton.
DIY TIP Succulents can grow in just about anything, so it's easy and fairly inexpensive to be creative.
Grass cloth is a big trend for 2013, and Skye Kirby Westcott and Tina Anastasia of Connecticut-based Lillian August, who recently opened a store in Manhattan's Flatiron District, use it to cover the walls in the very green formal dining room. It's part of a bigger use of natural materials in general, says Tony Manning, showhouse marketing chairman. Many of the rooms use both small and very large seashells as accent pieces, and there is a faux wood treatment on the wallpaper in the living room designed by Northport native Brian del Toro, and on the ceiling in an upstairs sitting room/natural man cave by Bradley Stephens. "There are a lot of things that relate back to nature, either color-wise or texture," Manning says.
DIY TIP Shells are fairly abundant -- and free. This is Long Island, after all.
SOME WORK, MOSTLY PLAY
The only hint that Port Washington designer Keith Baltimore's room is an office is the whitewashed desk on one side. Otherwise, a big, rose-colored linen sofa and soft window treatments that evoke a summer dress dominate the space. The vaulted part of the ceiling is painted with calming silver and white stripes. Baltimore, who recently opened a showroom in Sag Harbor, said he wanted to give the workroom a St. Bart's vibe, and that he thinks interior design is "softening up" a bit. You're supposed to be on vacation when you are in the Hamptons, after all. "It's a combination of formality and really casual at the same time," Baltimore says. "It's a very Hamptons visual."
DIY TIP Baltimore whitewashed the brown Hickory Chair desk himself. Get the same effect with a less expensive piece of furniture using a mixture of paint and water.
EXOTIC OUTDOOR ESCAPE
The trend of bringing the indoors out continues, and with indoor rooms inspired by Morocco and St. Bart's, it's only natural that the outdoor space has some international flavor. Bryant Keller, a designer based in Manhattan, gave the side porch an Anglo-Indian look with teak furniture accented with pillows and cushions with red, orange and green patterns. He turned a large cooking pot into a mini fish pond as the centerpiece of this exotic retreat.
DIY TIP For a shabby-chic look, take a daybed and put it outdoors. Set up the space like an indoor room, complete with ethnic art hung on the outside walls. "The kind of furniture you use isn't as important as setting it up as a room that looks like it's in the house," Keller says.
If you go
WHAT The 2013 Hampton Designer Showhouse, a benefit for Southampton Hospital
WHEN | WHERE Opens with a gala preview cocktail party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, then opens to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week starting Sunday, through Sept. 2, at 990 Brick Kiln Rd., Bridgehampton
INFO Gala tickets are $225 each; entry starting Sunday is $35, which includes a showhouse journal; no strollers, infants, children younger than 6 or pets allowed; 631-808-3008, hamptondesignershowhouse.com.