Fifteen years and one city office, Caribbean villa, Chicago condo and corporate jet later, Lien Luu’s longtime client came to the Manhattan-based interior designer with an especially fun project in mind: to work on a guesthouse on his handsome Southampton estate. “He wanted it for his adult daughters so they could bring their friends to a separate house on the same property,” Luu says.
Like many part-time Hamptons residents, the daughters live and work in Manhattan and would use the weekend abode as a place to relax and socialize. So, the thinking behind the guesthouse was to create a space that was all about being “casual and comfortable but very luxurious,” says Luu. Taking its cue from the main house, a classic shingle-style home more than 100 years old, the guesthouse pays homage to many of the same exterior elements: cedar shingles, white trim, a wrap-around porch, and distinct copper leaders and gutters.
It became a “cute button of a home that pays respect to the old home, but doesn’t replicate it,” says John David Rose, who, like Luu, has long collaborated with the homeowner. “There are plenty of little twists that make it distinct.” Among them are three prominent fireplaces: a large brick mantel underneath the porch outside, one constructed of stacked river stone and driftwood in the great room and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, broken up by a round window, in the upstairs master bedroom. Inside, the architect chose classic finishes—oak floors, wainscoting with deep ledges and white marble countertops—that, again, harken back to the main house.
Because this is the Hamptons, Luu opted for an overall palette of white, beige, cream and light gray, carefully selected to take advantage of the region’s legendary natural light. As for the furnishings, “pretty much everything is a bit overscaled,” Luu adds. The custom tufted sofa, for example, upholstered in a durable Great Plains fabric from Holly Hunt, is so deep you can lie down on it.
To round out the interiors, Luu, who loves vintage furniture and accessories and shops around the world for them, combined such pieces with those of her own design and a few industrial-looking finds to satisfy a request from the homeowner. In the master bedroom, a midcentury arrangement, which includes a vintage pair of Scandinavian benches and a Gordon Martz tile-topped table, contrasts with the nautical motifs found in the pair of Balsamo rope lamps and the wavy custom headboard made from a Rogers & Goffigon wool with Samuel & Sons rope trim. The custom zinc dining table and antique French holophane streetlights provide the requisite industrial touches.
The result? A home that Luu happily reports had the homeowner nearly speechless. “When he first laid eyes on the completed space, he was completely in awe,” she says. “He said it was beautiful and unpretentious and that it looked so natural.” The perfect Hamptons escape.