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Hampton Designer Showhouse: large, energy-efficient

This year's Hampton Designer Showhouse may be big - try 11,190 square feet - but it aims to be energy efficient. The builder, East Hampton-based Sand Dollar Development Corp., has given the six-bedroom, 6 1/2-bath shingle-style home some solar panels and a geothermal heating and cooling system.

The emphasis on eco chic - and other trends in home design - continues inside the newly constructed Sagaponack house. Here are some things we noticed:

Think of the ceiling as the fifth wall. Use paint or wallpaper or another wall covering, as Greenwich, Conn.-based designer Douglas Graneto did on the ceiling of an upstairs guest suite. He used grasscloth from the Christopher Norman Collection, but this natural fiber is both affordable and widely available.

Antiques become the ultimate reclaimed furniture. Many of the rooms in the showhouse are eclectic because, as organizer Tony Manning points out, there is "a mix of various styles and periods." He cites East Hampton designer Kevin Hart's upstairs bedroom, which features an English rosewood breakfast table with a mid-century modern upholstered chair and table from Dunbar.

Gone organic. There are more natural objects in this show house than in seasons past - seashells, unfinished woods, natural stone, rock sculptures, Manning says. Notice the wind chime of now-in-again capiz shells above the mod chaises in the cabana showcasing Lilly Pulitzer, who has stores in East Hampton and Southampton.

Art abounds. The first-floor library by Fire Island resident and designer Gail Shields-Miller includes several works of art - including an original video installation, "Midnight Tango," by Sandra Llano-Mejia. And in the basement, there is an art room, shown here, done by the McNeill Art Group in Southampton featuring 23 works by various artists, including Jeff Muhs, whose wife, the art dealer Beth McNeill, owns the company. "The room is conceived as an art lounge, with a casual, comfortable setting to enjoy, discuss and house an eclectic art collection" Muhs says. "It's a place to hang out, have a drink and talk about the art."

So much shimmer. Specifically in curtains, fabrics, wallpaper and paint. In the master bathroom by Port Washington-based Tarasoff Interiors, shown here, the walls are done in silver leaf with a subtle hand-painted vine-and-leaf design in a faint brown and a deeper tone of silver. Mabley Handler Interior Design of Water Mill used reflective surfaces in a guest suite - including a mirrored headboard - to create "a more ethereal feel," says designer Jennifer Mabley. With a serene gray and ashy purple palette, pleated wallpaper spray painted with silver metallic paint, and silver accent tables and accessories, she says she and her partner, husband Austin Handler, hoped to produce "a glamorous but livable look."

Still, some bold colors. Witness the red in Cold Spring Harbor designer Regina Kraft's mudroom, the purple in Manhattan-based Shields & Company Interiors' library and the turquoise in Manhattan designer Jennifer Flanders' junior master suite. "We're seeing a lot more bold color, and part of that is a reaction to our economic climate," says Manning, president of Hampton Designer Showhouse Foundation Inc. "When people are feeling down, bold colors are cheerful."

Hampton Designer Showhouse

59 Farm Ct., Sagaponack Listing price $12.5 million Lot size 1.4 acres Square footage 11,190 Green features Solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling Bedrooms 6 Bathrooms 6 1/2 Amenities Tennis court, Gunite pool, hot tub, pool cabana and outdoor shower Info Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Aug. 31. Call 631-537-0455 for details.

Do it yourself on the cheap

1. Manhattan designer Christopher Maya built this table for his living room at the Hampton Designer Showhouse. But making it yourself is easy. He used Clarence House fabric, but, he says, "You can go to a lot of places and get linen." And almost any kind of table, no matter the condition, can be used since no one but you will see what's inside. Try to add fabric tape to the hem, as he did, to create detail. And layer with a second piece of fabric underneath to create contrast, he says. Aside from helping to anchor the room, the table can be used for storage.

2. To make a small, narrow room look larger, try wide stripes, as Susan Calabria of Locust Valley-based Noli Design Inc. did in this children's study. The stripes should be no less than 8 inches wide, and the colors should relate to one another. "They have to balance each other," says Calabria, who used Benjamin Moore colors Marblehead Gold and Florist White for her scheme.

3. The East End's watery locale inspired East Hampton designer Kevin Hart to make this headboard for his upstairs bedroom. And it wasn't too difficult or too expensive. Make a paper template of your design, then have a piece of plywood cut from it. Recreate the same shape in balsa wood, which can be cut with an X-acto knife. Glue to plywood. Then, pick 12 of the dreamiest latex colors you can find. When dry, sleep soundly.

4. For an extra special flourish, try wallpapering the inside of closets. That's what Manhattan designer Nancy Boszhardt did in her second-floor bedroom. She chose a fabric that looks like the inside of a suitcase, she says. "To me, it's all about details like that that make a room special," she adds.

5. The chair covered with Mongolian lamb fur in the Shields & Company Interiors' library cost $12,500. Designer Gail Shields-Miller says you can create your own with any chair for about $1,500 (an acrylic fur found in fabric stores that's soft and supple enough for the chair costs about $125 a yard, and about 12 yards are needed). "It's imaginative, creative and puts a smile on your face," she says.

WHAT: The 2008 Hamptons Cottages & Gardens Idea House - a 150-year-old farmhouse once owned by James Jones, author of "From Here to Eternity" - gets a "green" makeover.

WHERE|WHEN: The showhouse, at 151 Sagg Main St. in Sagaponack, opens today with a gala from 7 to 9 p.m. Viewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 24. [CORRECTION: The 2008 Hamptons Cottages & Gardens Idea House is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until Aug. 24. The wrong days are given in today's Your LI Home, which was printed in advance. (A17 ALL 7/25/2008)]

INFO: Tickets for the gala are $150; tickets for weekend tours are $30, available at the door only. Proceeds benefit five East End charities. For more information, call the Peconic Land Trust at 631-283-3195 or visit

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