Hamptons Showhouse Puts Twist on Tradition

Amagansett, NY— Though the Hamptons are a world-famous destination for the rich and famous, for the most part, the homes in the area are surprisingly traditional in style. Shingle-style homes line the streets of this affluent seaside community located on the south shore of Long Island.

When Hamptons Cottages & Gardens magazine created its 2007 Idea House, located in the Hamptons village of Amagansett, the natural choice was a traditional shingle-style home. However, the house, located on the former Warner LeRoy estate and designed by noted architect Steve Semes, was decidedly upscale, encompassing 6,500 square feet of space.

The interior of the home, which is designed for an affluent young family with a contemporary lifestyle, features innovative building products and interior design concepts. Though there were no specific guidelines or color schemes to follow, the design teams were asked to consider current environmental concerns when creating the individual rooms of the home.

The kitchen was designed to work as both an entertaining kitchen and a cook’s kitchen, according to lead designer Tom Vecchio of Bilotta Kitchens, which has locations in New York and Connecticut. Included in the design are a prep sink and a main sink, various high-end appliances and an extra-large, double-tiered island.

Beach Scenes

Though no color palette was set, Vecchio notes that all of the designers who worked on the home went with the recent trend of light blues, browns, oranges and off-whites, “which really pulled the whole house together. Everything just worked,” he says.

Among his contributions to that color palette were kitchen cabinets in a creamy tone. “I decided that, instead of going with the standard ‘Hampton-esque’ white painted cupboard, I would develop a custom paint for the mahogany Bilotta Collection cabinets that were used,” he reports. The cabinets feature a weathered finish for a “windblown beach” effect, he adds.

“This custom finish was complemented by all of the other selections in the room,” and the overall effect provided a “casual, summertime feeling, yet it still is integrated with the sophisticated, traditional design elements,” he comments.

Vecchio chose oil-rubbed bronze hardware from Top Knobs USA for the cabinets, as well as concealed hinges. Cabinet panels were used on the appliances to give the room a more comfortable, furniture-like feeling.

With regard to appliances, Vecchio notes that he included “as many appliances as possible that would be helpful for both the ‘entertainer’ and the ‘cook.’”

The kitchen includes two Viking double refrigerators with bottom freezer drawers for plenty of storage, as well as two dishwashers. A convection microwave and Miele coffeemaker are among the smaller appliances.

A Viking 60" gas range is topped with a custom hood that features a piece of driftwood, designed to reflect the rustic, beach-like feeling of the home. The aged, French oak wood floor with smoke finish from Exquisite Surfaces adds to this effect.

In the island, a Viking warming drawer is located near the range, providing easy access when taking something out of the oven or off of the stove.

The double-tiered, extra large island can be used to prep food on the open space while people are sitting at the island, eating or gathering. The double tier also separates the prep/work area from the eating area.

“With this house, I was limited to where I could vent out, so I wasn’t able to put a cooktop or other appliance that might require exhaust above it on the island,” notes Vecchio.

Vecchio chose to use three different countertops to make the design more interesting and distinctive. “The custom, hand-finished mahogany top adds that sophistication that you’d find in the Hamptons; the granite adds color and complements the backsplash; and the limestone on the island presents a nice contrast to the mahogany,” he explains. The fossil-like patterns in the limestone also work well with the beachy, seashell design, he adds.

A custom glass mosaic backsplash from Artistic Tile “reminded me of sea glass,” reports Vecchio, “and the colors pull together the countertops and cabinets.”

A Franke prep sink with Perrin & Rowe faucet in English bronze finish from Rohl is situated near the range for easy access when cooking, and a main sink from Franke, also with a Perrin & Rowe faucet, is located at the opposite end of the kitchen near the coffeemaker and refrigerators. A pot filler from Whitehaus Collection in oil-rubbed bronze is also featured.

Special Touches

Keeping in mind the functional needs of the space, Vecchio added innovative storage solutions throughout the room. “People get excited about storage – especially when it’s hidden,” he stresses.

He included different pull-outs on either side of the range and at the island. “At a glance, they look like panels or decorative legs, but they pull out to store spices and other cooking items,” Vecchio remarks. He also included deep drawers for storing pots, as well as some double-tiered upper cabinets to store items that are not frequently used. Open shelves were incorporated for cookbooks and, at every corner, a deep open shelf was added to hold items that need to be accessed easily, such as a telephone or mugs near the coffeemaker.

Vecchio incorporated lighting under all of the cabinets and inside the glass-front cabinets to highlight the china. “All of the lights are on dimmers, so the light can be as high or low as needed, depending on the situation, mood or company,” he notes. The chandelier featured in the room is more decorative than functional, but the high, round ceiling, painted a light blue with some puck lighting, “really brightened up the room,” he offers.