My Blue Heaven

BY JILL SIERACKI | June 18, 2010 | Past Events

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LEFT: The upstairs playroom allows the two kids plenty of room to roam. A collection of beanbags builds on the home’s color scheme, and the Crate & Barrel artwork mirrors the geometric infl uences. RIGHT: The bleached oak X-Base kitchen table by Avant Garden, of Pound Ridge, NY, is paired with Crate & Barrel Folio chairs that easily wipe clean—perfect for casual family dinners. A Bone Simple Design pendant light adds a modern touch.

THE EAST END MAY HAVE more than its fair share of rules and regulations when it comes to real estate and curb appeal, but there’s nothing on the books that says when you buy a beach house, surf shack must be your aesthetic. So when a married couple recruited Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler to renovate their Sagaponack home, “modern beach” was the order of business.

“The inspiration came from the client,” says Mabley. “As we were showing her fabrics and paint colors, she was really gravitating toward a sophisticated blue palette, white furniture and silver. This house is such a reflection of her. I felt that she really knew what she loved, and once that was established, everything fell into place so quickly.”

Each room blends seamlessly into the next thanks to a soothing blue-gray color scheme paired with contemporary silver accents. A collection of Dana Volkert paintings brings a Hamptons-appropriate natural element to the décor, but its abstract influences make the ambiance more original than ordinary. Several Karen Robinson pieces, particularly in the upstairs guest suites, add an ocean element without succumbing to cliché.

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Mabley and Handler worked with Robert Allen to design the bed in the master bedroom, and a set of white side tables from Worlds Away and Lucite lamps from Homenature in Southampton add a geometric element. Alan Campbell linens and a Kravet chaise and love seat in purple-blue velvet complete the room’s curated look.

The couple, who love to entertain, chose white furniture for an elegant living room but added color-cohesive throw pillows in a variety of patterns for a bit of whimsy. “It’s sophisticated, but it’s comforting and relaxing and soft,” says Handler. “You see so many of these Hamptons houses that are done so seriously. The average person coming out here is living in New York City and probably has a stressful job. Our point of view is the house should relax you the second you walk in the door, and as you move from room to room, it should have a very calming, soothing feel.”

Using a limited color spectrum could have made the interior design fall flat, say the designers. Mixing up the textures, shapes and patterns gave the home an extraordinary level of dimension: Square tables and ottomans complement the square frames on the sofa, love seat and chairs; circles on the silver tables reflect those of the large Dana Volkert painting in the living room; geometric wallpaper in turquoise and silver shades gives the main powder room unexpected punch. “She really wanted the powder room to make a bold statement,” says Handler. “As much as we would have liked to have redone all the bathrooms, this was one area where we really felt we could, with minimal renovations, make a huge statement.”

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LEFT: “If you wanted to have some quiet time, this little nook in the sitting room is quite lovely,” says Mabley. “But we thought putting in traditional ottomans [would make it] too crowded, so we found these little John Derian poufs that are very chic, but also have good function.” RIGHT: “This is definitely a Mabley Handler bathroom,” laughs Mabley of the powder room that features David Hicks wallpaper, a Walker Zanger vanity with stainless steel finishes and a custom-made Room & Board mirror.

The designers also mingled unexpected elements with clean pieces in the spacious master suite. Silver Moroccan poufs accent a classic pale-blue club chair, and a purple-blue velvet chaise and love seat counter the grand, white bed frame and Art Deco Lucite lamps. “Architecturally it’s a traditional house, but we’ve spun it a little more transitional with some modern touches,” says Handler. “You’ve got a traditional chair but with cleaner lines and paired with a funky ottoman, which is not what you’d normally expect to see.”

A transitional space on the top floor that links the two guest bedrooms and a spacious media room flows into a playroom for two young children. The wife found the colorful beanbags that pair perfectly with Crate & Barrel artwork, echoing the home’s geometric elements. “The kids definitely have their destination in the house,” says Handler. “The couple wanted to have adult, sophisticated spaces for their enjoyment, and the kids have spaces that are specially designed for them to be more casual and fingerprint friendly.”

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LEFT: The Mandala rug in the living room, designed by Madeline Weinrib, has a medallion pattern that’s enlarged in the entryway rug to give the two rooms a cohesive look. RIGHT: A shell chandelier in a quatrefoil pattern over a silver Julian Chichester table introduces the home’s design scheme as soon as you walk through the front door.

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