This Southampton Summer Home Traded Beachy Decor for Sophisticated Global Style
A young family's Southampton summerhouse stretches past stereotypes to reach new heights of unstuffy sophistication.
Beach House Reimagined
Beach houses, done well, can make coastal themes and colors rock. Yet even the most gifted designers struggle to overcome the genre's limitations: There are only so many ways to riff on surf, sand, and all things nautical. New York designer Young Huh, known for bringing a global perspective to her projects, dodged the dangers inherent in beach-house decorating in a delightful dovetail with her client Rose Caiola Musacchia, who wanted to instill her family's Hamptons home with elements of exotica from their travels.
"Rose had a distinct vision inspired by her passion for Moroccan and Indian art and design," says Huh, who enjoys nothing more than bringing reminders of her clients' great cultural experiences into their homes. "At the same time," she says, "we didn't want to make the design appear 'costumey' or out of place. That meant respecting the traditional shingle-style architecture with a composition that overall was somewhat traditional, with modern and ethnic flair for a global point of view."
That flair, though tightly edited, does the heavy lifting that personalizes this beach house for Rose, her husband, Carl, and their two young children.
In the entryway, a jute rug from Stark sets a casual scene.
Anything But Typical
The airy garden room, the most heavily trafficked by the children with its pool access and TV, blends practicality and cultural flavors. Ethnicity exudes from ikat curtains (one of Rose's favorite fabrics, in a warm gray) and from paler gray-on-cream hand-blocked Indian wallpaper that Huh inset into preexisting panels. "It was very much a typical beach house before, with tropical palm trees in the insets," Huh recalls. A pediment above the inset from an earlier design was retained for the sense of definition it brings to the fireplace.
To streamline the room, Huh remade an existing rattan sofa into an all-upholstered piece that sports a clean, modern style with graphic color blocks of dark gray and white. For durability, she chose a fabric for the frame that takes the sting out of spills with its easy cleanup. "Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to use white in a beach house with children," she says. Fabric on the seat cushions is hard-working but not without sophistication: Up close, threads of the linen cushions reveal "a silver shock" for a touch of modern glam.
The family's existing sculptural wood coffee table provides an important visual connection to the wooded property and its acres of gardens. The round mirror above the fireplace is framed in the delicate plasterwork of Stephen Antonson. It echoes the shape of the round window above the French doors.
Glamorous Living Room
"We wanted a design that was welcoming, approachable, and glamorous," says Huh, who invested the living room with the home's most luxe look. Its artful design shimmers, especially at night. An existing artwork (an image of the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and the only piece reused in the space) served as the design catalyst. "It's a photograph that's entirely covered in tiny glass beads," Huh says. Giving a nod to traditional Hamptons architecture, she framed the art with white-painted millwork and flanked the space with bookshelves. She matted the walls behind the art with a hand-painted celadon paper dramatically accented in gold leaf. "We put lighting all around the framework so that at night the entire wall has a warm glow, and the glass beads sparkle," she says.
Bringing the home's earthy palette into the more glamorous living room could've been daunting, but Huh extended her Midas touch to the black-and-gold velvet covering the sofa, an understated gold pattern on the chairs' creamy upholstery, and a metallic gold glaze on the linen curtains. The custom sofa is dressed in a Lee Jofa velvet stripe placed on the diagonal for a chevron effect.
Custom Furniture Pieces
The hand-grooved doors of a clean-lined custom chest glow with a subtle gold finish, and above the chest, a bespoke Moroccan mirror frame echoes the chest's lovely low sheen in hand-pierced brass. Warm beige grass-cloth walls, though neutral and beach-house appropriate, appear lustrous.
Adjustable lamps from Circa Lighting reach the desired height without competing with the custom chest and Moroccan-style mirror.
Classic White Kitchen
In spaces that include the master bedroom, kitchen, and baths, white beadboard on walls and ceilings remains. Huh and the homeowners opted to leave the rooms untouched, reveling in the classic cottage look. "What we love most about the design is, it's not ostentatious," says Rose. "It's not a home that screams, 'Look at me!'"
Canine family member Romeo stakes his place beneath the skylight in the classic white kitchen.
Lighting That Dazzles
Hung at staggered heights, luminous lanterns from Morocco cast a dazzling glow on a rustic wooden table paired with upholstered chairs. "We wanted them to look a little bit random, but we actually did drawings for precise placements to ensure that look," Huh notes. At night, the flickering flames of candles, a must-have for Rose when dining after dusk, play a shadow game with the lanterns' lacy light. "The room feels exotic, like being in a souk," the designer says.
In the media room, easy chairs covered in a navy blue, crocodile imprinted leather provide roomy seating. A custom bar in the room ensures guests are well equipped to enjoy the entertainment.
Warm and Airy Bedroom
Beadboard on the walls and ceiling warms the high-vaulted master bedroom, which boasts a tiny private garden just outside that's even equipped with a small gate.
A club chair and ottoman provide a daytime reading spot next to the French doors in the master bedroom. Lightweight raw-silk curtains with a metallic silver glaze are lined with blackout material, making it easier to sleep in. The small table is upholstered in leather.
Light-Filled Master Bath
The barrel-vaulted ceiling adds drama to this light-filled space, which looks onto a rock garden.
Patterned Guest Room
A neutral backdrop sets the scene in the guest room allowing the bed to take center stage. Patterned pillows from Zak and Fox play with the vintage embroidered Indian wool blanket on the canopy bed. Striped drapery panels add additional pattern.
Rose is a passionate gardener, aided by landscape professional Maureen Ford. The multi-acre property's profusion of colorful annuals creates a magical setting. Faux bois furniture in this intimate space is from Janus et Cie.
Instead of lighting with predictable nautical lanterns, Huh introduced Moroccan-made iron lanterns in the tented poolside pavilion.
The Musacchia family enjoy their tented pavilion by the pool in privacy thanks to a stepped-back double row of beautifully verdant boxwoods and a canopy of trees. Janus et Cie furniture repeats the graphic gray and white palette of the garden room just inside.
The Family At Home
The Musacchia family is pictured here: Carl, Rose, and their children, Sofia and Carmelo.