For me September into October is the best time to be at the beach. Labor Day and Summer crowds have come and gone. Locals reemerge and inhabit their towns again. The weather is the finest, warm in the day, and cool at night (you can often build a fire in the fire place, or fire pit, or even have a bon fire on the beach if ordinances allow it). The water is the warmest having heated up all Summer, so swimming is divine.
I love an East Coast beach, I guess because I'm a New Yorker and have spent many happy times in the Hamptons, and on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. There is just something so right about this kind of beach decor, done here by Victoria Hagan.
The entrance hall is T-shaped and provides views in three directions. Directly ahead, through the living room, one sees the harbor and a lighthouse. To the left is the way to the dining room and kitchen; to the right, the stairs and hall to the billiard room and guest wing.
All the classic elements are here: white walls; dark floors; natural fiber rugs and curtains; a blue and white color palette; white slip covered furniture. The restricted palette—white, blue and brown—adds serenity. The floors are wide-plank reclaimed oak from Massachusetts, to contrast with the crisp white walls. Each room has paneling in a different configuration. The wainscoting in the dining room is two-thirds height, for example, while the paneling in the living room reaches to the ceiling.
The Elizabeth Eakins rug was customized by the designer. Nanz hardware on doors. Fabric on bobbin chair, Chelsea Editions. Ralph Lauren pillow stripe. A nautical note comes in the form of the owner's ship's light. I love the blue hydrangea, a local beach flower. To this Hagan added dark accents: a patinated-bronze low table by the sculptor Bruno Romeda, a leather wing chair from England, an embellished mirror, an antique English Windsor chair and an unusual English Arts and Crafts table.
The dining room. “The clients entertain in a casual way,” says Hagan. “I tried to capture their lifestyle. It isn’t about the furniture,” she adds. But still, look at this wonderful farm house table, the mix of chairs (including the arm chair slip covered in linen), the simple side board with the perfect mirror. Apart from a brass chandelier, the dining room is all white and brown. It has a mid 19th century English trestle table, an Irish serving table and a 17th century mirror.
The cabinetry breaks the wall into five sections in the area that separates the living and dining rooms. A large, vibrant blue painting by Jennifer Bartlett inspired the décor of the living room. To complement it, Hagan ordered a custom blue-and-white-plaid rug (“I adjusted its scale and pattern to the room”), pillows with blue-and-white stripes on white-duck-covered furniture, blue cashmere throws and breezy white draperies. The kitchen, where the family takes most meals, “has the charm of an older house but with a modern emphasis on the relationship to the outside,” Hagan points out. The faucet is from Waterworks. Sub-Zero refrigerator. Viking range. Pot filler, Chicago Faucets. Nanz hardware.
This look has become the quintessential version of the Somethings Gotta Give kitchen. I like the French bistro chairs very much. The master bedroom. Hagan paid particular attention to the corresponding heights of the oak side table and the bed. “The most important consideration is how the little things click,” she says. “And combining the old and the new.” Chelsea Editions Duvet cover fabric. The basket under the night table is a lovely touch.
The four upstairs bedrooms and baths overlook the harbor and the Atlantic. There is no clutter, not even in the kids’ rooms, because cabinets were built into the spaces between the dormer windows.
An alabaster light fixture crowns the master bath. “It emits a beautiful, diffused light,” Hagan says. Waterworks tub and tile. I love this style of bathroom using classic elements: Small tile floor; Victorian style sinks and tub; painted white woodwork.