When interior designer Kevin Dumais did his initial walk-through with his clients of their newly built, shingle-style colonial house in Bridgehampton, what he found was a place literally built for entertaining. “It would be so easy to create three individual indoor-outdoor rooms,” Dumais explains of the living room, kitchen and great room that open onto a long patio that extends the full length of the house. “When the doors slide open you can easily flow in and out.”
The homeowners, who live full-time in the city and purchased this house as a weekend retreat, were smitten with the property and envisioned the home as a place where they could kick back with family and friends on weekends and holidays. However, there was a catch: Dumais was hired in March and the family had a Memorial Day deadline. The owners planned on having overnight guests by that time, so rudimentary accommodations had to be in place; after that, a more leisurely approach could commence. Time was of the essence, but luckily Dumais was given carte blanche with the design.
To begin, Dumais approached the design with a modern eclectic flair that focused around custom furniture, statement lighting and plenty of vintage panache, which turned out to be a perfect contrast to the traditional feel of the architecture. “The house has a layout that can feel quite formal, so we wanted to contrast that with a casual, urban sophistication,” says Dumais. “Now, there’s a nice juxtaposition between the two styles.”
When designing the house, architect William Minnear, who worked with project manager Jonathan Favaro on the build, explained that while it may have some of the hallmarks of tradition, the updated style combines old and new. “The house has two rooflines which makes it a little different from the houses more typically found in the Hamptons,” he says. “The unique roof gives it a more contemporary feel.”
Working from the outside in, Dumais culled the majority of outdoor furnishings from restoration hardware, choosing pieces made from teak because they will turn a silvery gray over time. “It’s such a large space, so we used pieces that have a little bit of scale and heft to them,” says Dumais. Comfortable upholstered pieces make each designated outdoor space feel more like interior rooms.
When the couple bought the house, a pool had already been installed, but the backyard green space was otherwise “just vast areas of lawn,” says landscape designer Matthew Stengel, who oversaw the outdoor beautification of the home. For privacy, Stengel planted towering Hinoki cypress trees, screening an area where the barbecue faces the road. Uniform bluestone pavers that connect the house to the pool now have grass in between, creating a modern look, while beds of pink hydrangea border the terrace.
After the holiday deadline, Dumais could refocus and put all of his energy on the inside, starting from scratch with all-new furnishings. “We had this big empty house to fill,” says Dumais. “So we ended up using a lot of vintage items. That helped because they’re readily available and they create an eclectic space.”
Dumais then mixed things up with tailored upholstered pieces, such as custom sofas in both the great room and living room, and a pair of 1940s French iron armchairs he upholstered in a Rogers & Goffigon linen in the great room. The occasional one-off, like the tree stump coffee table in the living room the designer found locally at Mecox gardens, reflects the couple’s fun, youthful taste and the casual ease they were looking for in the design.
Special attention was paid to the living room, kitchen and great room, since that’s where the couple spends most of their time. Because these rooms also spill onto the terrace, Dumais unified the spaces with oversized lighting. In the great room, a delicate Fontana Arte Avico dome holds court, while in the kitchen, Dumais chose two classic globe pendants from remains lighting. And, perhaps hinting toward a life lived near the sea, a large capiz shell pendant takes center stage in the living room. “At night, when they are all lit up, they look like lanterns or beacons,” says Dumais. “They create a really nice glow, especially when viewed from the outdoors.”
With everything in place, the house is now ready for every possible entertaining scenario. “The couple is young and energetic and they truly love to entertain and be with their friends,” says Dumais. “And even though we were kind of in a rush to get it finished, the outcome really works for their lifestyle and personalities.” to create a layered, elegant home in the Hamptons is a dream come true for any designer. And for Dumais, it was only a matter of time.