After years of long-distance dating, the owners of this Bridgehampton residence were eager to live in the same place. The young woman relocated from London to New York, and, together, they began hunting for a home of their own. A 1990s farmhouse set in a grassy lot with majestic mature trees quickly captured their imagination. Every inch of the property needed work, but who better to imbue some much-needed TLC than a pair of transcontinental sweethearts?
Enter Augusta Hoffman, a New York-based designer and longtime friend of the couple, whom they confidently tasked with reconceiving the abode as a happy, all-season retreat. For these owners, happiness meant “the juxtaposition of an elegant, traditional home that felt youthful and edgy at the same time,” notes Hoffman. It also meant a space designed for entertaining as, on the weekends, they regularly host upwards of 40 guests for lunches and cocktail parties.
Joined by general contractors Stephen Sisca and Vitaly Katsnelson of Renovation Partners in collaboration with locally based Carlos Mendoza of Eastern Chateau, the designer set about delivering their wish list with a series of clever, impactful updates. In addition to fresh millwork throughout, a new lighting program was installed to elevate the interior canvas. “We brought in a lot of thoughtful elements from traditional Georgian homes, which add to the refinement of the space,” Hoffman says. “One of the best decisions was to replace all the outlet covers and light switches with unlacquered brass so the rooms would feel much more architectural and considered.” She also gave the downstairs guest suites a hospitable feel by removing closets in favor of breathing room, and converted the former den into an expansive dining room replete with a built-in bar and French doors opening onto the garden.
Paint, meanwhile, was Hoffman’s secret weapon. Opting for bright palettes in rooms that lacked optimal sunlight, the designer leaned into maximalist jewel tones for the home’s heavily windowed spaces. To wit, the dining room was given a velvety emerald coat, and the office and den a rich indigo. And instead of gutting the rustic kitchen, Hoffman simply replaced the countertops and painted everything black. “By bringing in a bit of New York edge with dark millwork and new marble counters, we enhanced the space without actually doing much,” she explains. Even the floors were treated to dramatic paint transformations. The entry hall and dining room, for instance, now feature timeless diamond checks, and the sanctuary-like upstairs bedrooms’ wooden boards were painted a beachy white hue.
Formalizing the joining of their design sensibilities, the couple became engaged midway through the project, and many of Hoffman’s updates play to this tension. While the man’s taste had always skewed Scandinavian midcentury, his fiancée preferred a more classic British look inspired by her family’s home in the English countryside. And so, Hoffman embraced both influences when it came to fabrics and furnishings, deftly balancing notes of modern masculinity with Cotswold flair.
Take the dining room, where a set of teak midcentury dining chairs surrounding a steel-based table effortlessly mingle with an English George II-style server dating to the 1750s. Or the living room, where a medley of European and Scandinavian pieces gather around a fireplace composed of manganese Delft tiles. Twentieth-century furnishings with sleek lines similarly break up the unabashedly British spirit of the bedrooms, courtesy of elaborately canopied beds and layers of dainty floral and block prints.
Completing the transformation of this residence was a sweeping exterior overhaul. “We reoriented the entrance, moved the pool, highlighted the front door and shutters with black paint and beautiful brass hardware, and removed decaying trellises,” the designer recalls. And, imperatively, to create a grand lawn for parties, landscape designer Michael Donnellan opened up the parcel, pushing out the existing perimeter of hedges and accentuating it with classic hydrangeas. Those young plants have since blossomed and Hoffman’s clients are now newlyweds. As for their very first home together, it’s the toast of the town.
UP THE CHARM FACTOR
The draw of pastoral style is alive and well in American design. Get your fill of cottagecore inspiration with this charming guest cottage, country-chic apartment, cheery farmhouse or rustic potting shed.