Mar 28, 2011

Interior: Home in the Hamptons

By: Bethany Lyttle

Interior: Home in the Hamptons Author: Style At Home

Mar 28, 2011

Interior: Home in the Hamptons

By: Bethany Lyttle
To hear her talk about design, you'd think that Canadian-born Amanda Nisbet of Amanda Nisbet Design had a secret life as an anchorperson on a weather channel. She mentions the bleak light of February days, the shadows and dampness of gloomy November afternoons. She calls forward the humid, white heat of mid-August and the sombre mornings of rain in early May. "You have to think about days like these when you're choosing colour for a beach house," she says, moving in on her point. "For example, a blue-and-white scheme is wonderful when the sun is shining and the water is sparkling, but not every day of the year is like that."



Which is why, when asked to design the interior of a six-bedroom house in Quioque, N.Y., just a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean, Amanda cautioned her clients about relying too heavily on a nautical palette. "I wanted them to have a look that was cosy in January yet classic in July," she says. "The challenge was the size of the house," says Amanda, referring to the 6,000-square foot Hamptons home. "It's very long, with an entry hall that's two stories high. How do you get a space that big to give a first impression that’s warm and soothing in bad weather but airy and fresh in good weather?" She began by asking herself what rooms her clients and their guests would see when they first walked in.



"I wanted it to be sophisticated and cosy at the same time," says Amanda. So she did what she always does with colour: layer it with texture. "I used several tones of a single colour in a room," she says. "Think lavenders in rough linen, glossy enamel and smooth glass. Or celadon painted on metal, draped over a sofa or lacquered on a table." Texture is the way to experience one colour in many ways, she explains, because light dances differently on each surface. And the emotional responses vary, too. "The result is a house that doesn't just look good – it feels good," says Amanda. Even on a rainy day.

Entryway The two-storey entry needed to make a statement. To offset the volume and make the entry more welcoming, Amanda placed a custom hexagonal table at its centre. The blue pleated cloth suggests coral but doesn't scream "beach house". The glass tabletop reflects light and lends a watery, fresh feel to the room.


Bold blues "Starting out with a mammoth piece like this sofa, I had to be careful it didn't turn into a big blue void," said Amanda. "The tufting softens it." Contrasting textures, such as a soft throw, linen drapes and rope ottomans, add interest and make the room inviting.


Abstract artwork "Nautical" doesn't need to be taken literally. Here, Amanda used abstract art that suggests waves in motion. A wooden console topped with shell fossils and seaglass-style vessels subtly salutes the sea.


Antique flair "You might not expect a faux bamboo table and antique mirrors to suit a beach house, but they do," says Amanda. The luminosity of the mirrors offsets the rustic woven rug, while simple touches, like stacking a blue book on top of a coral-coloured one, keep the room unified.


Kitchen A white kitchen lets you showcase colourful food, "but bring in something large with a wonderful patina (like these oversized lanterns), so the room doesn't feel sterile," says Amanda.


Bright hallway Even the hallway gets a dose of texture with sisal runners and linen wallpaper.


Family room Combining shades of blue -- soft sky and easy indigo -- creates dimension in the living room. A collection of plump cushions adds softness and keeps the sofa from looking stiff.


Eating nook In the family room, a wicker pendant and wicker chairs are gathered around a glass-topped table. The rug, with its navy border, is consistent with the blues that appear throughout the house.



Master bedroom In the bedroom, lavender and lilac take centre stage. The hues find expression in the stitched bed linens and upholstered headboard, as well as in the plummy drapes and gingham Roman shade. "I wanted the room to be soothing, not boring," says Amanda. Glass table lamps paired with high-gloss lampshades and lattice side tables add sparkle.


Reading nook There's a bluish quality to this chair that's in keeping with the rest of the house, but it's softer and more restful.


Serene outdoor space The perfect warm-weather spot to relax with a gorgeous view? A breezy hammock.


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Interior: Home in the Hamptons