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Rethinking Interiors

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By David McCabe


Local designers will help a local cause this weekend, when the 2012 Hamptons Designer Showcase, benefiting Southampton Hospital, opens to visitors. Several local designers have lent their hands to reinventing the interior of the post-modern shingle-style home on Flying Point Road in Water Mill.

The kitchen in the house was entirely remodeled by the Sag Harbor-based Bakes and Company, after the event’s organizing committee decided the kitchen in the house was inadequate for their needs.

Bakes designed, manufactured and installed the kitchen, according to the company’s founder, Robert Bakes.

That meant expanding the space to include two islands, one for preparation and one that acts as a communal space. The latter island includes a wine cooler and a trough sink.

In addition to the Bakes and Company-designed cabinetry, which was manufactured at the company’s factory in Detroit, the kitchen features a custom-made brushed nickel sink.

The island counters feature Gioia marble, which has been polished to give it a more striking feel.

“It kind of livens it up a little bit,” said Bakes.

While the kitchen is designed to be a space where friends can gather around and share food and drinks, the house’s basement lounge is designed to be a place for quiet reflection and the appreciation of art, according to its designer, Greg McKenzie, who has offices in East Hampton, New York and Miami.

“It’s basically focused for an escape from the crazy, frenetic life in the Hamptons we can have,” he said.

The lounge includes pieces by the artist Edward Moses, which are on loan from Hamptons gallery owner Mark Borghi.

“I think art is a very important aspect of creating a home, and it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive art,” McKenzie said.

But, he said of his room, “Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean dull.” The lounge is colorful — done in shades of burnt orange, turquoise, chocolate and white. McKenzie said he left a television out of the room, because it is meant to be a space where one can reflect without distraction.

The walls are covered in a grasscloth wallpaper embroidered in a modern, geometric pattern. McKenzie says this reflects his transitional aesthetic.

Most of McKenzie’s clients come from referrals, he said, so the showcase isn’t about bringing in new business. Rather, he said, that as a long time member of the East End community, he wanted to support the hospital.

This is not McKenzie’s first time designing a space for the showcase — but it is the first time he’s doing so inside. The last time he participated in the event, he designed the pool house, the terrace and the porch. Those spaces required him to use more functional materials that could withstand the elements.

McKenzie is hardly the only local presence in the showcase. The photographer for the event is based in Bridgehampton and various suppliers come from around the East End. The dining room in the house is decorated by Mably Handler Design, based in Water Mill.

The firm, which is owned by the married pair of Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler, tends to do mostly second homes on the East End.

“It’s important that the houses we design have a reference to the place that they’re in, but there are ways to do that are both stylish and relaxed without going over the top,” Handler said.

The dining room reflects this — traditionally dining rooms are formal spaces that Handler says feel out of place in the Hamptons. Instead, he and Mabley designed a room that incorporates the functionality of a dining room while maintaining the laid-back attitude that people associate with the beach.

“We wanted the dining room to be a very vibrant and relaxing and fun place to entertain,” Handler said.

The inspiration for the room is a new collection of fabrics designed by Jonathan Adler and produced by Kravetz. Mabley Handler received a preview of that collection, and used it to anchor their room.

The primary fabric features a chevron pattern on an aqua background. Handler said that it feels “fresh, beachy and stylish.”

“It really encompassed everything we like to incorporate into our design,” he said.

To contrast with the colored fabric, the designers chose furniture in a white lacquer finish. This includes a table, buffet and a bench that can be used to seat large groups. The walls are decorated with art by the painter Patton Miller and a distinctive linen drum light fixture by Michelle Hatch New York for Bone Simple Design anchors the ceiling.

Handler said that they enjoy working on showcase houses because it allows them more creative freedom than a normal project.

“It’s an opportunity for us to create something from the things that we’re inspired by without any limitations,” he said.