To the coast: stylish Southampton beach house
When Architect Timothy Haynes and his partner, designer Kevin Roberts, were asked to create a home in the Hamptons for a Wall Streeter and his young family, they understood that the job would loom large for them, not just while they were in the midst of it, but forever. The two designers are known for high-end residences throughout the world, but this project, a vast enclave set on the ocean, was, by definition, unique.
Luckily for the pair, the heft of the task was leavened by the clients’ exuberance and creative intelligence. The couple, who have five children between the ages of three and 15, wanted a home that would be both rugged and refined. Most of all, they wanted to enjoy the process, not just check in from time to time. “They were total partners in this, enjoying every moment and decision,” says Roberts. “They knew what the best clients know—that you should make the process part of the house itself.”
In the living room, the custom-made sofa is upholstered in an Edelman leather, the 1960s steel chairs by François Monnet are covered in a Knoll Luxe mohair, the 1940s “finger chair” is by Maurice Pre, and the stools are by Charlotte Perriand; the 1960s light fixture is by Arredoluce, the wall sculpture is by Aldo Chaparro, and the custom-made rug is by Beauvais Carpets. In the library beyond, a painting by Donald Moffett hangs above the fireplace.
Boxwood shrubs and a 1991 sculpture by Sol LeWitt at the entry; the house is clad in cedar shingles, and the steps are bluestone.
As processes go, this was not a simple one. The couple had to gather up enough parcels of beachfront to give themselves the privacy and sheer square footage they longed for. And Haynes had to make certain that the grand dimensions of the main house would still have human proportions. “Tim’s genius is that he knows how to take a regular house and blow it up bigger,” says the wife, who also worked with the pair on a Park Avenue apartment. “He made sure we understood how big the windows had to be, that we didn’t want it to look like a conference hotel. Scale is a kind of magic.”
In the family room, the sofa by Milo Baughman is covered in a Holland & Sherry linen-wool, and the chandelier is by Lightolier; the ceiling and floors are oak, and the rug is by Stark.
The homeowners were sure of one thing going in: The house would have to have a split personality. They wanted it to be formal on the street side and entirely beachy at the back. “The idea was to seem like Fire Island out the back doors,” says the wife, referring to the legendary barefoot, car-free beach community some 50 miles away. She wanted the kids to be able to run wild in an environment decked with textured surfaces and sturdy structures. “I wanted it to be a little camp-like, as though they had been in a bunk for the summer.”
The sofa and club chairs in the sunroom are by Janus et Cie, and the high-back chair is by Patricia Urquiola.
But she and her husband, who are collectors of contemporary art and love to entertain, wanted to have a grown-up house too. They had lived for a time in Europe, and they sought to inject some Continental flair, details like the black-trimmed windows so prevalent in Amsterdam. They appreciated how the Europeans had less fear of combining the historic with the modern.
In the entrance hall, the 1960 light fixtures are by Stilnovo, and the 1940s armchair is covered in a Larsen wool fleece.
In the master bedroom, Haynes-Roberts designed the headboard and bedding; the circa-1950s table is by Valentine Schlegel, the midcentury stools are American, and the carpet is by Stark.
Thus, from the street, the house has a minimalist, linear feel, with boxwoods and a white Sol LeWitt sculpture. “It’s a bit manicured,” she says, “which I think is how it should be, because you’re coming from town.” The home grows increasingly, if subtly, more casual as it moves toward the ocean, with lots of brushed oak and exotic woods. The property includes a guesthouse and poolhouse, as well as two pools lined in marble-dust–covered gunite.
The other side of the family room holds a games table by Perriand and Jeanneret, a cabinet by Perriand, and French cane-and-teak armchairs, all from the 1950s; the painting is by Damien Hirst, and the walls and staircase are white oak.
Each room of the main house has a distinct ambiance—a challenge in a structure of lofty spaces that tend to flow into one another—with various amounts of light and shade carefully calibrated throughout. The living room, with 11-foot-high windows overlooking the dunes, is airy, in pale blues and beiges; the library, with its ebonized-oak paneling, seems ready for an autumn night warmed by the fire. The dining room can easily seat 30 at the custom Corian dining table beneath an enormous black Jean Royère chandelier.
The kitchen island and cabinets are custom made, the sink fittings are by Dornbracht, the 1940s light fixtures are French, and the floor is paved with Thassos mosaic tiles.
Unlike some large homes where the magnificence of the space takes precedence over the furnishings, this one pays great attention to some of the masters of mid-20th-century French design, including Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, and Royère. Set off by large-scale artworks by Damien Hirst and Donald Moffett, the pieces create a spare but warm geometry. The clients accompanied the designers to France to shop and had a riotous good time. “It was one of the greatest treats ever,” she recalls.
A set of 1950s rush-and-bronze chairs by Colette Gueden surround the custom-made Corian dining table; the light fixture is by Royère.
The nursery’s sofa is by Jonathan Adler, the 1980s table is by Milo Baughman, the 1960s fiberglass chairs are Italian, and the carpet is by Missoni; the ceiling is painted in Benjamin Moore Aura in Rhododendron and Peachy Keen, and the wood blinds are painted in Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo in Onyx.
As she looks from her gleaming white kitchen to the family room beyond, and out onto the Atlantic Ocean, she remembers the time spent huddling with Roberts and Haynes, discovering unexpected treasures, debating design, each of them pushing the others toward a unified vision of a project they knew would be truly significant.
“How often do you get to do something like this?” she asks. “It gives pleasure every day, and I hope it will forever.”
One of the couple’s daughters under a painting by Damien Hirst in the living room; the circa-1950 cocktail table is by Royère, and the chairs are by René Gabriel.
Teak ottomans by Sutherland with cushions in a Perennials fabric and a cement side table by CB2 beside the lap pool; the decking is ipe.