In the course of 10 years, interior designer Scott Sanders has worked on several projects for a young Manhattan couple with three daughters. So naturally, they approached him when they decided to renovate their 1 1/2-story shingled beach house in Quogue. “He listens, internalizes and has a magical ability to transform a space,” says the husband about why they chose to work with the interior designer again. Sanders easily understood what the couple wanted for their 1940s bungalow: a place to relax, casually entertain and celebrate the ocean. “My clients like color, and I like color,” he says. “This was an opportunity to have fun.” However, the real fun would have to wait four years—when architectural changes could be approved by the Village of Quogue.
To start, the clients tapped architect Michael Smith for the renovation, and he faced some immediate challenges—one of them being that the cottage was unusually close to the ocean and the dunes. “You’re not allowed to do that today,” says Smith, who renovated the property with builder George E. Vickers Jr. There also wasn’t much flexibility with the footprint, so they went upward instead, raising the main level for both compliance and to capture the views, thus creating a 2 1/2-story home. “In a lot of those houses, you don’t get a panoramic view from the first floor. So, we added a floor on top of that,” Smith says. “It’s almost a new house at this point.”
In the new structure, the main floor consists of the open living-and-dining area, the kitchen and two guest suites. Upstairs is the master bedroom, which faces the ocean, and the girls’ rooms and their sitting room. To take advantage of the waterfront location, porches, terraces and paths that lead from the home to the beach were added, and on the bay side is a new pool and pool house. Despite the new elements, though, there was a focus on “maintaining the beach cottage theme,” Vickers says. “The interior wall and ceiling finishes consist of various styles of wood paneling and wainscoting, all tastefully done.”
Celebrating the abundance of light now on the first level, glass doors panel the rear of the house and frame the ocean, which is also visible from the living-and-dining area. Taking a cue from the water, Sanders had his eye
on a vibrant blue when he spotted a gorgeous rug in a kaleidoscope of bright blue, navy, marigold, four shades of green and three shades of yellow. “I love yellow and most people don’t use it, but it’s such a happy color, and they’re a happy family,” says Sanders. Building off that palette is a pair of wingbacks covered in Regimental Blue linen and a wood-framed armchair boasts cushions covered in yellow; another wood-frame chair plays upon the color scheme with a bright yellow-and-blue stripe. Across the spacious room, the dining area’s turquoise chairs and a painting by Clint Jukkala unify the entire space with their bold hues.
Oceanic themes continue upstairs in the master bedroom, where a beach-glass-hued wallcovering and a sand-colored rug both reference elements of the landscape. Furnishings in weathered wood follow suit in classic elegant lines, such as the bobbin bed, a wooden barrel chair and the clients’ own bench, whose rope-like pattern evokes sailing.
Some of the most beautiful views, however, can be found in the kitchen, which was designed by Felton Pervier. “The windows facing the bay made for great light and a spacious feel,” says Pervier. They also overlook the pool and a dune garden created by landscape architect John Imbiano, who planted native perennials such as Montauk daisies, black-eyed Susans and bayberry shrubs. So as not to compete with the scenery, the kitchen is more subdued. The walls, floors and wood are all light, and the countertops are a gentle blue macauba. For a pop of color, the living room armchair’s stripe repeats here on the bar chairs. The cabinetry—featuring both open and closed shelving—was finished with polished-nickel hardware, giving the space “almost a nautical feel,” says Pervier.
It may have taken a few years, but the design team’s diligence has paid off, and it’s exactly what the clients were looking for in an escape from the city. “It’s where time slows down for our family,” says the husband. “And we love the color. When the vibrancy is taken together with the wallcoverings, fabrics and special lighting elements, it becomes a residence where we feel like we can be barefoot and just enjoy our own family resort.”