August 1, 2014 |
Hamptons-based firm Mabley Handler Interior Design’s Egypt Lane project offers an elegant hideaway to an international family.
Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler of Mabley Handler Interior Design on the veranda of the Egypt Lane project.
Call it a long-distance love affair. London real estate developer Nick Capstick-Dale has been smitten with the East End for the better part of 25 years, since he first started visiting his brother in Amagansett. Ten years ago, he rented a place for himself in East Hampton and decided that that’s where he wanted to plant roots of his own. When a house on Egypt Lane—one of his favorite village streets—came up for sale five years ago, Nick and his wife, Laura, jumped at the opportunity and bought it. The property sits on a little more than a half-acre, just a short walk from Egypt Beach and village shops and restaurants. After a lengthy permitting process (due to the proximity of wetlands), the Capstick-Dales have a brand-new four-bedroom dream house (plus a separate guest house and garage) designed by Amagansett-based James D’Auria Associates PC Architects and built by celebrity contractor Ben Krupinski.
The couple and their sons, Nate, 2, and 4-month-old Grey, now decamp from their 200-year-old townhouse in North London’s Primrose Hill to their tasteful, understated shingle-style home for several months in the summer. “One of the reasons I love the East End so much is because I can live a quiet private life. If I go to the South of France or Portofino, I run into everyone I know from London,” Nick says. “For me, what makes East Hampton a perfect place is the combination of sophisticated restaurants, wonderful food in the markets and farmstands, spectacular beaches, and lovely architecture. We love the light out here, the fresh air, and falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach.”
When it came to decorating their new East End getaway, the Capstick-Dales turned to Water Mill-based Mabley Handler Interior Design, the husband-and-wife firm of Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler. The homeowners had come across the couple’s work while researching local designers online and in magazines. “Their color schemes are very soft, relaxing, and easy to live with. They manage to create an understated, beachy sophistication,” Nick says. And there turned out to be good chemistry between clients and designers. “Our initial phone conversation felt like a real connection,” Mabley recalls. “When they came to meet us at the studio for the first time, we just clicked.” Distance was never an issue. “Nick and Laura were always available to discuss things by phone or e-mail. They really wanted to be involved, which is nice,” Handler says. The two couples met up several times in New York City for shopping trips.
Mabley Handler’s interiors walk a fine line between tailored and relaxed. “Nick and Laura wanted something organic and relaxing, but sophisticated at the same time. And they wanted something very bespoke, very special,” explains Handler. “When I was looking at houses to buy, nine out of 10 of them looked like they belonged in Greenwich,” adds Nick. “They were all too formal. We wanted a traditional East Hampton beach house that would blend into the village as though it had been there a long time. But once through the front door, it was all about relaxed living, with an abundance of open family living space. That’s the way we like to live.”
A lacquered custom game table has a prime place in the living room.
He and Laura opted to turn what was originally planned as a proper dining room into a lofty skylit den and TV room, and the family entertains friends at either a long farmhouse table in the kitchen or in a breezy outdoor dining area with a fireplace. The cool, airy living room has lots of places to perch, including an inviting window seat and a lacquered custom game table. Rooms aren’t overly grand, and there are no oversize hallways or other wasted spaces. The Capstick-Dales wanted to maximize every inch of usable space they could into the area they were allowed to develop. The overall vibe is one of coziness and comfort, in a soothing ocean of aquas, blues, and soft grays.
The thickly woven wall covering in the guest bedroom resembles a Chanel tweed fabric.
That’s not to say there’s no panache. “We wanted restraint,” notes Mabley, “but the Capstick-Dales are a very stylish couple, so we also wanted the house to have glamour and a bit of edge—just not too much.” Subtly luxurious touches abound, many of them custom, including the living room’s silvery-blue Madeline Weinrib rug and a large opalescent-glass ceiling light in the den by Berkeley designer Christopher McEwan. Wallcoverings, like the ground-floor guest room’s thickly woven paper, which resembles a Chanel tweed fabric, and a nubby silk covering the walls of the den, lend the home a touch of shimmer. “When you walk in you feel like you’re at the beach, but you still have a degree of luxury,” offers Nick. Most of the art on the walls is by East End artists, including Elwood Howell, Mark Humphrey, and Susan Vecsey.
A marble-topped vanity in the guest cottage is just one of the luxurious touches the homeowners opted for.
Getting the place finished and fluffed in time for the Capstick-Dales’ first summer was a nail-biter. The day the family was arriving from London, Mabley and Handler were still hanging artwork, arranging flowers, and parking shiny new Beach Cruisers in the just-laid gravel driveway. “They had a brand-new baby so I wanted it to be easy, so they didn’t have to run out and buy diapers,” recalls Mabley. She and Handler had barely pulled out of the driveway when their clients drove in, ready for their first summer.
The overall vibe of the master bedroom is one of coziness and comfort, in a soothing palette of sand, cream, and white.
Every year the family tries to spend longer stretches of time on Egypt Lane. “This home gives us the life we dreamt of for our family. It offers a feeling of freedom,” Nick says. “We came to East Hampton for a quiet, private life and to allow our children to flourish outside the city.” Adds Mabley, “We’ve never met a client who had such a love and appreciation for the Hamptons.”
photography by eric striffler