BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY - For New York City dwellers, summer weekends are often reserved for heading "out east," where palatial year-round homes share the land with opulent beach houses on Long Island's south shore. The "Hamptons," which comprises a number of tiny towns including the famed Southampton, is a place where the famous and wealthy gather on warm nights.
Nestled amid the more relaxed homes in Bridgehampton that surround the larger shore estates is Cottage Living magazine's first Idea Home. Commissioned by Cottage Living, the 3,000-sq.-ft. home is meant to reflect the warm, cozy comfort that cottage-inspired designs embody.
"Cottage is more of a feeling – it's the colors, it's how you live in it. It's all of these adjectives that aren't really architectural at first glance," states Joshua Roland, project manager, Historical Concepts in Peachtree City, GA, the architectural firm that designed the home. However, adds Roland, "we found out that they're very architectural in nature. There's a big difference between making a space that's comfortable and cozy versus one that is airy and lofty."
The style and design theme for the home's interior is a family space that's "fresh and open, and it functions easily on a day-to-day basis and also as a place to entertain," offers Steven Gambrel, principal of S.R. Gambrel Inc. in New York, NY. His firm created the interior motif.
"We kept the home fresh and clean and light, but with spirit, by using a number of natural materials, as well as a mixture of materials, ranging from stone to laminate, from lacquer to wood," Gambrel adds.
According to Roland, every house that his company plans has a story, and a history, to it, even though each one is brand-new. The Idea Home was certainly no exception.
When looking at the home from the outside, the kitchen area gave the appearance of being added on over time, he describes. Lattice work and windows that wrap around the corner of the kitchen give the outside detail, while inside the room is bathed in natural light. The windows in the kitchen are oversized and placed a little higher than usual "to get that high light that really floods the space. [By installing the windows this way it] increases the feeling of volume in the room," he explains.
A lower, white-lacquered, board ceiling gives the kitchen a more intimate feeling while lending a sense of freshness, Roland continues. This also serves to reinforce the cottage-inspired aesthetics. Also of note, he adds, are the pine floors in the kitchen and throughout the home from Authentic Pine Floors, Inc.. They were painted in a wash and then finished to make them look like they were worn over time.
"It added to that overall beachy-type feel of the house," he points out. "The texture just gives a great, warm feeling to the entire house."
The kitchen's overall design complements the surrounding rooms, including the breakfast area and the great room, which are all interconnected to promote a natural flow throughout the home. "The kitchen doubles as a family hang-out area and a place for a serious cook," observes Gambrel. "But, mostly, it's a gathering place to share with friends and family."
To that end, Roland cites a pass-through – which is located in the center of a wall of custom-built cabinets that separates the kitchen from the main living space – as being a key component to the design.
He explains: "Having that connection from the kitchen to the great room plays an integral role in how we placed the openings in the kitchen – especially the pass-through that acts almost as a server to the great room."
Also of note, the cabinets on the great room side feature open shelves with beadboard backing for display, as well as storage drawers for table linens and other items. A row of see-through cubbies with doors tops the pass-through, adding more storage.
In the kitchen, extra wall and base cabinets are joined by a number of storage drawers and nooks for basket storage. To create a warmer aesthetic, the cabinets are finished in a pale, gunmetal blue and topped with soapstone countertops from Vermont Soapstone. These countertops feature a muted, complementary blue tone.
Tying seamlessly into the design is the center island, which features a Kohler Co. apron-front sink. Directly across from the island is a KitchenAid stainless steel range, which was installed on the back wall. Surrounding that range is a white rectangular tile backsplash. A KitchenAid stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator is also featured there.
White half-globe lights, trimmed in a stainless band from Circa Lighting, are featured, as well, with vintage light fixtures placed over the island and the table in the breakfast nook at the back of the kitchen.
While the kitchen and great room area are designed to accommodate entertaining and socializing, the rest of the home is geared toward giving residents and house guests plenty of privacy for quieter moments.
"We tried to have little, [private areas], where you would go out of the public space into [one of them]," explains Roland, stressing that, "No private spaces should ever open up directly into a public area."
Also noteworthy is that each bedroom features a private bath, complete with a toilet area, a bathing area with clawfoot tub and/or large glass-enclosed, walk-in shower and two pedestal sinks from Kohler Co.
Taking advantage of the outdoor view, the windows in each bath overlook the home's magnificent landscaping, and add to the inviting and cozy cottage feel of the home.
According to Roland, the color choices in the master bedrooms and baths are bright and whimsical, and, more importantly, were selected to "make the house sing."
In fact, he points out, the color choices are a comfortable contrast to the rectangular white tiles used in the bath area, and give a contemporary edge to the traditional black-and-white, hexagonal, tiled flooring.
For Roland, it is precisely these types of artistic complements that enable the Cottage Living Idea Home to demonstrate a comfortable, more relaxed side of elegant living.