"If you saw it before, you wouldn't recognize it," says New York interior designer Stewart Manger of his clients' Shingle-style Southampton home. Built by esteemed Hamptons architect James L'Hommedieu in the 1880s, the historical qualities of the seven-bedroom house fueled the summer dreams of large, young family. But after spending a few seasons in the home, they were ready to make it their own, and called Manger. "They wanted a comfortable family weekend home for them and their friends," he says.
Manger, who frequents the Hamptons, was familiar with the house—and was way ahead of them: "I already knew the drawbacks," he recalls, namely the fact that the home was plagued by fuddy-duddy renovations of the 1960s and "70s. "It was my job to bring it back to its former glory."
Manger teamed up with his friend, Portugal-based architect Alexandre Gamelas, to execute the yearlong renovation. The clients had two main priorities: First, the existing structure contained a pair of full kitchens; Manger's plan involved opening up the space to create a large family kitchen and a separate pantry. Next came an awkward master suite, the designer says. "When this house was built in the late 19th century, bathrooms weren't even considered." The suite needed to stride into the modern day, incorporating a breezy sitting room, dressing room, and bath.
The team also restored the glory of the home's aging wraparound porch, opened up access from the living room to a cozy library, and added a back stair that suits the movements of a sprawling family (and guests) in and out of the house.
But in addition to substantial structural changes, Manger spied perhaps the largest opportunity of all. "I always knew [the original home] was aesthetically bland," he says. "The client was game to bring in color." And bring in color, he did: Bright pops of turquoise anchor the porch's sitting areas; a Matisse-inspired mural adds a French Riviera feel to the sunlit library, and rich plays of cobalt and red enliven a child's bedroom. Supporting neutrals and textures balance the bold strokes, creating an ideal balance between lively and relaxing—which is the whole point of any summer weekend in the Hamptons.
Pictured: It doesn't get more Hamptons than Shingle style and idyllic gardens that feel at once perfectly manicured and captivatingly wild. The lush landscape design was created by James Doyle of Connecticut firm Doyle Herman Design Associates.
Updating the home's broad, wraparound porch was a game-changer for the oft-entertaining homeowners. The defining moment of this space? "The location," says designer Stewart Manger. "It's where you spend a lot of the summer." Turquoise McKinnon and Harris outdoor pieces pair well with everything from morning coffee to afternoon cocktails. A Paul Ferrante ceiling fixture illuminates summer nights.
"An entry should be warm and welcoming," says Manger, who punched up the neutral palette with a stenciled floor—a creative move that brings in pattern without a rug, which especially suits beach homes. "If people walk in with sandy feet, it's easy to clean," he says. A Peacock chair from Made Goods offers an on-trend perch for shedding sandals, while an antique console catches the family's keys, hats, and more.
In the living room, things begin with bright and white: The walls are plaster, and the ceiling is a white lacquer. But the room's defining moment is certainly a nearly wall-to-wall blue-and-orange area rug. Inspired by a Swedish design, the custom piece nods to beach sunsets, and works to pull together the color-splashed room. A curved sofa floats in the center to create movement in the lively space.
In the original home, there were two kitchens, one where the breakfast area now resides, and the other in the now-pantry. The homeowners wanted a single roomy kitchen. "We blew out the whole space, took it back to the raw studs. Everything you see is new," says Manger. Now, the kitchen is a wide-open blank slate, well equipped for preparing waterfront picnics.
The pantry that lives just beyond doubles as a gateway to the home's cozy breakfast spot.
In the formal dining room, Manger got crafty to accommodate the home's inhabitants. He brought in not one but two custom dining tables, flanked by Frances Elkins chairs. "As a family, they can sit at one table, but if they're entertaining they can use both," he says. For the room's plaster walls, Manger commissioned a mural of mother-of-pearl inlaid trees. "The entire home became about these deluxe finishes," he notes.
Manger added a private balcony to the home's guest room, complete with French doors, to create a genuine retreat feel. The designer integrated horizontal stripes amid the blues and greens throughout to play on the horizontal shiplap wood paneling on the walls; a Madeline Weinrib rug unifies the palette.
In a child's bedroom, Manger employed a tried-and-true red-and-blue color combo. And if you think that pretty blue damask is wallpaper, think again. A decorative artist hand-stenciled the wall pattern to perfectly match the curtains. A vintage red chair and Coca-Cola poster act as yin to the room's cobalt yang. "It feels like a sophisticated kid's room," says the designer.
The original pool was modified to coordinate with the restoration of the porch, and now includes two seating areas: one facing south for sun exposure, and one facing west to take advantage of sunsets.