This Old House
Years of serious antiquing—and colleagues with design connections—turned the Morfogens’ gut renovation into a glorious home.
BY JENNY SHERMAN
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Stratis Morfogen’s 1962 Mercedes-Benz in the front drive; Filipa and Stratis Morfogen with their daughters Beatriz and Isabel; Isabel, Beatriz and Natalie Morfogen
The Morfogens have two different stories as to how they came to own their three-story house in Southampton. Ask Stratis—third-generation restaurateur and principal of Philippe Chow Restaurant Group—and it sounds like the purchase resulted from much house-hunting and thoughtful planning.
“My wife and I had rented for 15 years,” he says. “We bought the house four years ago, but [the interior] wasn’t to our liking.” They decided to gut the place, add a third floor and design it themselves. “My wife is the director of accessories at Vogue,” he says. “With an eye like hers, we both agreed we wanted her to design the house. We did it nice and slow, did a lot of antique shopping. It took about two years to get where we are today.”
FROM LEFT: The kitchen breakfast nook has a table from Sag Harbor Antique Shop; The living room has bird paintings by Hunt Slonem, a braided sisal carpet by The Carpetman in Southampton and a tapestry by Tapeçarias De Portalegre, owned by the Fino family.
Talk to his wife, Filipa Fino Morfogen, however, and the story is a smidge different. “We had definitely been thinking of getting a home out there,” says Filipa, “but he put a down payment on this home without my seeing it.” She was mollified when Stratis told her she could tear it down, but demolishing the structure wasn’t necessary. “The bones of the house were great; the layout of the house was great,” she says. They fleshed out those bones with an eclectic, organic interior. The minimalist country home succeeds in balancing family functionality with good taste.
One of Stratis’ favorite spaces is the basement, which is decked out with a home theater and other indulgent flourishes. “The basement was done before we had a bed,” says Filipa. “The huge big-screen TV, the popcorn machine, the M&Ms vending machine, the sofas, carpeting, pool table, air hockey—all of that was there before I had a bed. We were sleeping on mattresses.”
FROM LEFT: Stratis and Beatriz bake cupcakes together once or twice a week in the kitchen. The stools are from Homenature in Southampton; The dining room table is from Homenature, the armoire is a family heirloom and the chandelier is from Mecox Gardens in Southampton.
When they finally did buy a bed, Filipa used it as the anchor piece for the bedroom. Each room, in fact, has one special focal point: a handmade table in the dining room, for example, and a tapestry from her family’s factory in Portugal in the living room. “I’m very much a person who finds things,” she says. “It’s very cultural; it’s how I was brought up.” It also helps to work in a creative field, surrounded by designers and artists; she credits friends and colleagues with offering suggestions and advice.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC STRIFFLER