Home Tour: A Stylishly Neutral Hamptons Home
Designer Marie-Christine McNally of Marie-Christine Design was given an important task when her clients requested her help to transform their previously traditional space into one more suited for their growing transitional tastes. Located in Watermill, New York, the farmhouse-style four-bedroom home was quaint, but no longer meeting the homeowers' needs. The clients—a professional couple who reside primarily in Manhattan—originally used the home on holidays and during the summer, but now that their children are grown, they tend to utilize the space year-round.
The house also serves as a well-deserved, relaxing retreat for Susan, the wife, a two-time breast cancer survivor who dedicates her time to cancer-related charitable initiatives, including serving on the leadership council for the Basser Center for BRCA. By utilizing some of the family's existing pieces while carefully adding more modern, textural elements, McNally was able to create a space that worked for the home’s already established character while still feeling fresh and serene. Keep scrolling to take a tour.
McNally was called upon to inject some dimension and modern appeal into the home’s original, traditional design. “The home was originally decorated as a charming little farmhouse, skewing on the more traditional side,” says the designer. “My client’s wanted to inject a more sophisticated sensibility, while still maintaining the warm, easy, and inviting character of the house.”
To ensure the home was both beautifully airy and functional, McNally put extra thought into the design. “It required us to think carefully about the balance between light and dark,” the designer says. “We wanted the spaces to feel bright and sunny, but white everywhere wouldn't have been practical. We used dark colors on most of the upholstered pieces, and sourced slipcovered sofas for the den.” Patterned rugs help mask marks underfoot.
When McNally was brought onto the project, a renovation was already underway to enlarge the kitchen, add a mudroom and a powder room, as well as a covered porch for entertaining al fresco. “I helped to select materials and finishes, and worked to design the new interiors in a way that would bridge the more modern renovation and addition with the more quaint and rustic character of the existing structure and interiors,” the designer says.
“Our concept was to keep the space simple, bright, and airy, and use interesting pieces and natural textures to bring dimension into the design,” McNally says. Woven rugs, leather furniture, and rattan accents add depth to the neutral spaces.
“Susan had great existing pieces that we both wanted to incorporate into the new space,” says the designer. “We even took an old server she had in the dining room, refinished it, and had it built into the new dining area.”
Thanks to the client’s appreciation for the decorative arts, the process was a collaborative one. “Susan has a real passion for design, and worked with us very closely throughout the process,” says McNally. “We took many shopping trips together, and sourced some pretty fantastic pieces from Europe, California, and all over the New York and Connecticut area.”
The only departure from the home’s dark upholstery rule are the vintage Chambron & Guillerme chairs in the den which were done in an off-white linen with a saddle leather trim.
Since this is a summer home where the clients entertain, the interiors needed to be not only stylish, but durable. “One of the requirements from the beginning was to make this house beautiful, but usable,” McNally shares. “Nothing should be precious. The clients had to be able to put their feet up wherever they sat, without any stress!”
Part of the home’s renovation included expanding the second floor master bedroom and adding a large second floor terrace that looks down onto the adjacent horse farm.
When asked what McNally feels is the strongest aspect of the home’s design, successfully executing her initial task is what comes to mind. “I think we did a great job bridging the old space and interiors with the new space and interiors,” the designer says. “It feels pretty seamless as you walk through the house.” We’d say, mission accomplished.
Could you see spending a weekend in the Hamptons in this charming home? Share with us in the comments!