Interior designer Gideon Mendelson mixes sophistication, comfort, and a dash of fun in this family-friendly Water Mill home.
In the warm open kitchen, barstools at the island are covered with easily wipeable, kidfriendly orange leather with a zippy stripe accent fabric on the back.
Interior designer Gideon Mendelson has much in common with the owners of a stunning home in Water Mill. They both have dwellings in New York City and the Hamptons, and both are the parents of three young children. “We’ve known each other through several pregnancies and have shared similar experiences,” explains the designer. “I am very aware of what it means to have a family.” So when the couple razed the old home on their Hamptons property, which overlooks a serene horse farm, Mendelson knew just how to create family-friendly interiors for the new house they built in its place.
“I worked with them on their apartment in Manhattan, which is modern,” Mendelson says. “But in their Hamptons house, which was built with the familiar shingle-style vocabulary, they were looking for something more traditional yet still wanted the open spaces and amenities you need to live a modern life.” An early source of inspiration for the décor came from a remark made by the wife during the planning stages. “She told me, ‘I love Lilly Pulitzer,’” recalls Mendelson, who deployed a variation on a classic Pulitzer pink-andlime palette in the living room with lively patterned pillows and midcentury lamps to give some playful zing to the neutral furnishings, including a pair of traditionally influenced, Mendelson-designed sofas and charming bobbin chairs.
Hand-printed de Gournay wallpaper lends an elegant air to the dining room, where Klismos-style chairs and trimmed burlap curtains are paired with a dramatic mirror and gilt light fixture.
The color scheme in other rooms throughout the home was sparked by a hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper that was used to coat the dining room. “It contained a broad mix of colors—blues, greens, pinks, corals—and really drove the design,” says Mendelson. Here, as in other rooms, Mendelson brought extra energy to the space by creating tension with contrasting elements—setting off the fine silk wallpaper with rough burlap curtains, for example, or the hard Englishstyle dining table with soft upholstered Klismos chairs of his own design. “I love that juxtaposition,” he notes.
The serene, lavender-hued master bedroom is topped by V-groove paneling on the ceiling. A large terrace overlooks the grounds beyond the French doors.
Of course, durability and easy maintenance are other top priorities when kids are part of the mix. So, without compromising style, Mendelson upholstered barstools in the kitchen and desk chairs in the library with easily wipeable leather seats, and pepped up their backs with zippy patterned fabrics for pops of fun. With a nod to tradition, he used classic materials like wood paneling in the library and marble on the floor of the master bath, updating them with casual modernity by staining the wood a driftwood hue and laying the floor in a trendy chevron pattern. “These gestures casualized the spaces and made them beachier,” says Mendelson. But they also blend a sense of sophistication with relaxed comfort to create a home where kids, parents, and frequently visiting grandparents can happily coexist.