Dinner Alfresco? Count Us In. See The Humble Hamptons Retreat That Harbors This Perfect View


An ocean view lies beyond a set table in the Hamptons

With nature as her muse, Land of Belle founder Annabelle Moehlmann designed a color palette to feel harmonious with the sight lines. “We drew upon the crisp blue sky, the warm earth tones of the rocky beach below, and the mossy greens and burnt umber of the hedges and dune grass swaying in the breeze to create a scheme that feels fresh, earthy and timelessly chic at once,” she notes.

If you’re lucky enough to pass through the gates of the Montauk Shores Condominium, the scent is the first thing that hits you. It’s a scraped-off-the-ocean-floor brine that can only be found at the wildest Atlantic beaches. What hits you next is the visual, for the beachfront condo association is in fact a trailer park replete with vintage Winnebagos and postage stamp-sized yards. Admittedly, with one of America’s best surfing beaches as the backdrop, the humble setting takes on an exalted quality.

One mobile home manages to stand out while blending in with its environs—perhaps unsurprisingly, as it bears the stamp of architect Frederick Stelle. Lending a warm, minimalist sensibility honed over 35-plus years living in the area, Stelle embarked on a top-to-bottom renovation of his clients’ standard-issue trailer, reinforcing the flimsy structure, refinishing the interiors and cladding the façade in cedar shiplap and the roof in galvanized steel. “One thing that all of our projects have in common is materials that stand up to the elements while weathering,” says Stelle. “The houses that have always appealed to me most look like they’ve suffered life’s slings and arrows but are still standing proudly.”

Atop the table, an eclectc mix of elements suggest effortless aplomb. Natural touches, including Land of Belle's fiesta placemats and bamboo flatware, mingle with mismatched patterned linens and dishware, and loca, seasonal blooms by Sag Harbor Florist goruped in low-slung, single bloom tumbler arrangements. As for the final fluorish? An artful sprinkling of collected shells and stones "to create a festive, casual mood," says Moehlmann.

For an organic look, Anastasia Casale of Sag Harbor Florist stuck to simple, seasonal blooms in a monochromatic palette. Low arrangements keep the conversation free-flowing.

Mussel and scallop shell decor pops against a patterned indigo Land of Belle tablecloth.

At the bluff's edge, Moehlmann created "a secondary spot for sunset hors d'ouevres overlooking the beach with blankets to cozy up with as the evening wind rolls in."

A sunny corner of the trailer's wraparound deck serves as a perfect perch for sorting beachcomber's finds.

The cedar-clad facade of the recently renovated trailer nods to its storied neighbors to the east—McKim, Mead and White's Seven Sisters—which are a treat to behold from the dinner table.

Another hardy material choice befitting the oceanfront setting: The wraparound deck Stelle fashioned of mahogany, a tropical hardwood that “doesn’t rot and doesn’t get beat up,” he notes. Seated at the built-in bench that runs the trailer’s eastern perimeter, the focus by design is not on the architecture, but on the magnificent views. The eye sweeps across conservation land dotted with bayberry, black pines and native grasses, up to the Seven Sisters—the iconic cluster of Shingle-style homes designed by McKim, Mead and White in the 1880s—down the steps to the rocky shore and finally, out to sea. Adds the architect, “Designing houses that take advantage of a place without dominating is always our goal. It’s all about protecting the land of which we are the stewards.”

To celebrate the spirit of this singular retreat— simplicity, bohemianism, connection to nature— Luxe tapped home brand Land of Belle (a curated collection of home accessories from leading brands and artisans, with Hamptons roots) to design a gathering befitting the unspoiled beauty of its surroundings.