The Hamptons hamlets in New York State are rich in history and beauty – from the whaling town of Sag Harbor to the oceanfront of Southampton, where I grew up. It was only fitting that when I started a family of my own I went out in search of the perfect weekend countryside spot, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. My husband, whose schedule as the news anchor of a morning show wakes him hours before the sun rises, and I, a magazine editor, value the weekends to catch up with our four-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter, and with each other.
Once we found a beautiful house just a short walk from the beach, we set out to create the perfect enclave. The earth is so rich, a mixture of sand and soil, and the trees on our property are about eight years old. The garden we planted with our kids returns an abundance of tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, beans, every kind of herb and sunflowers seasonally. The deer feast regularly on every type of plant, however, and we spend far too much time figuring out ways to keep them out.
Our Colonial-style cedar-shingled home fits in well in an area known for its traditional Stanford White designs. It was the mastermind of a local architect I found who still hand-draws his projects. I asked him to create enough room for everyone to find their own quiet space. I enlisted my Australian-born friend Emma Jane Pilkington to decorate the house from top to bottom and she gave it her well-mannered, tailored touch. Coupled with the bohemian flair I wanted, the end result was perfectly eclectic. Its mellow personality is comfortable for our children, and it suits their boisterous ways. Pilkington’s signature use of many mirrors is in every room, reflecting the light that streams through french doors and windows. Beautiful Oly chandeliers of oyster shells and wood give a glow to the house in the evening.
The woven sisal used throughout the house is paired with crisp linen and silk fabrics with splashes of vibrant colour – hand-dyed purple, navy blue, or yellow (in the den, master bedroom and living room respectively) – giving a happy turn to the otherwise relaxed atmosphere.
The sunroom is the perfect place for us to read the papers on weekend mornings. Even the open kitchen is an inviting place to hang out and is a great spot for us to watch my husband slave over the stove. I wanted the guestroom to be an escape for our visitors – a place to feel completely at home, yet pampered in fine linens and country warmth. The kids’ rooms are my favourites – filled with David Netto modern cribs, beds and mini-Kartell Ghost chairs by Philippe Stark. But then again, any room my kids are in is my favourite room. With a third child on the way, I am dreaming of spending even more time in our chic little family nest.