At Home In The Hamptons


It Doesn’t Matter Where You Started, You Just Know When You’ve Come Home

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Raised in Peru and educated in British boarding schools, the owner, and his wife, who describes herself as a “Virginia country girl,” had long maintained their primary residence on New York’s Upper Eastside. They were comfortable and happy. And then, as she stepped onto the rooftop expanse of an 11,000-square-foot Bridgehampton tri-level already in progress, she experienced an instantaneous connection. Not really interested in beaches, the Hamptons, or even owning a house, she gazed at the views over Mecox Bay, Sam’s Creek and the Atlantic Ocean, and exclaimed, “I think we’ve just bought a deck” — and the house that goes with it.

Set on two acres of natural landscaping, and still only a grand but unadorned shell, the owners would go on to work with Paolino Development, architect Mehran Talaie, and Miami-based designer Steven La Fonte who unabashedly says this was “the most rewarding project” of his career. The modern home includes a private office, a home theater, two sets of glass-enclosed elevators, and at the far end of the pool and spa, a pool house and art studio. But first was translating the serenity the wife had experienced on the rooftop into the home’s interiors. It would be a collaboration of very like minds. La Fonte says that the couple most particularly, wanted “a quiet house.” The palette would be muted, casual and calm; few colors, few patterns, and it would strive for architectural tranquility.

The great room, styled in the coined color termed “greige,” features three joined but separate seating areas that can shift to take in the kaleidoscopic play of colors across the bay. Pale grays, beiges and whitewashed woods blend in a sandy backdrop to the panoply of colors beyond. A glassed fireplace divides the 30-foot room, where accent pillows provide a touch of drama in Romo’s poppy-red velvet.

With entry on ground level, bedrooms on the second tier, a third level for all main living areas, kitchen and dining, and finally, a rooftop garden, the stairway makes its own respective and dramatic statement. Balustrades of glass, oak and dark bronze-supports present the stairwell as grand sculpture in complement to the geometry of a blue piece by artist Mel Kendrick that dots the wall. La Fonte and the owners were careful to choose art pieces by local Hamptons artists whom they’ve come to know and support.

“Since the owners purchased the home as it was being built, we were afforded the opportunity to be part of the cabinetry and finish selection throughout,” La Fonte says. In the kitchen, a white-glass waterfall island overlooks the breakfast area’s “greige” custom-finished oak dining table. The angular frames around shelving and a serving-console are of dark, cerused oak and resonate with a small window bench positioned to make the two rooms one space with vistas that sweep toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The master bedroom captures yet another view from the tall four-poster bed. Flanked by glistening chrome lamps, it matches the La Fonte-designed bedside tables, chest and bench in white satin oak. Seeming to flow into the custom-colored oak flooring, ABC Carpets’ silk area rug bespeaks simplicity. Nearby, the master bath with its own picturesque views is a place of leisure and renewal. With a vanity of multiple exotic veneers, La Fonte incorporated a tufted stool into the ensemble.

At the far end of the pool, lies any artist’s dream — a private studio. As with Monet, the light and seasons bring constant change and it is here that the wife comes to find her muse. While abstracts are her expressive choice, the setting sets her senses free.

“We still go to our place in the city, but here is where we live,” the husband says. From poolside, where bright orange stripes in pillows and towels demand a smile, to kayaking on the creek and paddle boarding on the bay, activities blend with the comforts of a place of warmth, a place the owners now call home.

Design
Steven La Fonte, Steven La Fonte Design, Miami, FL

Photography
Kim Sargent, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Architecture
Mehran Talaie, McDonough & Conroy Architects, P.C., Islandia, NY

Development
Paolino Development NY Inc., Miami Beach, FL

Text by
Marina Brown