When New York-based designer Alison Downey, founder of Downey Interiors, took on this project in the Hamptons’ Watermill area, she was tasked with creating purposeful rooms to meet a growing family’s needs during COVID.
“When the pandemic hit, everyone fled New York and made their secondary home their main home,” Downey tells Robb Report. “They already bought the home and furnished it, but realized the spaces didn’t meet their needs. Typically, we start with the architecture and work with a clean slate, but this project was different in that we worked on transforming a newly furnished home into something else.”
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Redesigning a home during the pandemic brought many logistical challenges, but it also provided Downey with an opportunity to make each room feel interactive, personal, and engaging. Her goal for the modern farmhouse-style home was to evoke a sense of luxury hospitality, as the family enjoys entertaining. To accomplish this, she created welcoming spaces with sumptuous textures, free-flowing layouts, and multi-use furnishings.
The 5,000-square-foot home has eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms spread throughout two floors. The main level houses the kitchen, family room, and great room. The light-filled bedrooms are upstairs.
“Because the home was new, we tried to customize what we could without gut renovating the home,” she says. “We brought custom details to things that already existed. For example, we redid the wallcoverings and installed unique wainscoting in the common areas.” Accent colors were selected to complement the homeowners’ collection of artwork, and since the family room doesn’t get as much light as other parts of the house, vermillion-colored lacquer side tables add a pop of color and shine.
The family loves to do puzzles and play games like Mahjong, so Downey ensured the coffee table in the family room was conducive for game nights. She was also strategic about fabrics. “In the Hamptons, so many homes are alike,” she says. “Sometimes clients will show me plans for their homes, but I’ve seen that house what feels like ten times. We wanted this to be different.”
Silk wallcoverings, like the watery blue Philip Jeffries design in the family room, were chosen to add unique texture, and in the great room, two armchairs were upholstered with fabric Downey had initially planned to use as drapery. The blue and white ombre fabric, from Rosemary Hallgarten, inspired Downey to incorporate more blue accents into that room.
The entire home is filled with natural light, and Downey installed each room with warm hues and soft tones that work well with the airiness of the home. She used thoughtful materials like raw teak, limestone, and linen, inspired by the property’s natural surroundings and the client’s affinity for sculptural furnishings and objects. Outside, however, she opted for soft taupes and sandy tones offset with black and gray hues for a punchy entertaining space that immediately draws you in.
“For the outdoors, we wanted to play around and make it unique,” she says. “It’s really about the programming and how the family will use the property. The outdoor living space is situated under motorized shades and located directly off the great room, so it feels like an extension of the indoors.”
The external entertaining space has an outdoor carpet, large heat lamps, and chic decorative elements. To one side, there’s an outdoor dining table (also shaded), and to the other, a lounge underneath the overhang, which is set under the primary bedroom’s walk-out terrace on the second floor. Downey and her team also added a pergola and outdoor kitchen near the pool and spa.
Black umbrellas shade poolside loungers set against a thickly wooded backdrop. To accompany these moody hues, Downey sourced a glass tile that has bronze and gold accents to it, creating a unique reflection throughout the day.
Click here for more photos of this modern farmhouse-style Hamptons home.
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