Standing in his clients’ breezy, three-story Water Mill, New York, home feels “a little bit like floating,” says architect and designer David Mann. This is partly because the structure’s main living spaces (including the living room, kitchen, dining room, deck, and even the pool) are located on the second floor, one up from the lower level. It’s also because of the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, which offer views of Mecox Bay—not to mention unhindered natural light and open air.
In a house like this, Mann says, what’s going on outside determines much of what happens on the inside. When decorating the 4,600-square-foot modernist build, designed by Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects in 2010, for new owners, he made sure not to compete with the architecture or the view. Warm neutrals and the occasional touch of deep sea blue were layered over sand-white walls.
Furnishings and decor would need to be extra tough, to withstand both sustained use by a family with three young children and the strength of the summer sun, which spills inside from all angles. On the terrace, that meant Perennials cushions; inside, off-white linen on the sofa is de facto fadeproof.
A sense of consistency between rooms was important too. “On the main floor, there are really no doors,” Mann says. “You’re just continually moving from one room to the other. So the palette in one area had to work with the palette everywhere.” Window treatments throughout were all made using the same fabric, a linen-polyester blend (Cassina by Coraggio), to avoid a visual patchwork.
But because the clients “tend to actually like colors that are intense,” Mann says, interspersed among all the neutrals are red-orange accents like blankets and throw pillows—items more easily replaced than, say, a sofa. “Red is the most fugitive of colors,” the designer explains. “It’s the color that will fade the fastest.”
One of Mann’s favorite “rooms” is where the roof extends over a seating area and outdoor fireplace on the terrace. There’s no dining table because the one indoors, crafted from freijo wood, is lightweight enough to be picked up and carried outside for open-air meals. There, says the designer, “you really are a little unsure, are you inside or outside?”
Shades of blue, inspired by the owner’s Sarah Crowner painting above the fireplace, punctuate this Water Mill, New York, home decorated by David Mann. Curtains: Angel Threads, in Coraggio fabric. Sofa and basket: RH. Pillows: Angel Threads, in S. Harris (solid orange), Maki Yamamoto (blue-and-white), Raoul Textiles (orange pattern), and Angel Threads (fur) fabric. Coffee table: Dos Gallos. Chairs: vintage, John Salibello. Side table: Kieran Kinsella, BDDW. Rug: Sacco.
A vintage chest is topped with a piece of driftwood found on the beach. Baskets: RH. Chairs: Thomas Hayes Studio, in Castel fabric. Lamp: Liz O’Brien.
The original architects added a second front door, made of wood, outside the glass door. If the owners are out of town for a while, it can be closed to protect any artwork inside from the sun. Pendant light: JMW Studio. Art: Dana Schutz. Spherical doorstop: RH.
An outdoor seating area is shielded from the elements by the home’s extended roof. Table, sofa, and chaises: RH, with cushions in Perennials linen. Poufs and patterned pillows: West Elm. Solid pillows: CB2. Throw: Serena & Lily.
“From the bed, you’re looking out across the bay to the ocean,” Mann says. “It’s really the perfect place.” Ceiling light: Roman Thomas. Curtains: Angel Threads, in Coraggio fabric. Lamp: Remains Lighting. Table: Vintage. Bed: RH. Bedding: Sferra. Bench: The Future Perfect, in Weitzner fabric. Armchair and ottoman: DWR. Throw: Anthropologie. Side table: Fernando Mastrangelo Studio.
“In buildings with so much glass, decor becomes subordinate to the view,” Mann says.
Sheer window shades (in the same Coraggio fabric that’s used for curtains throughout the house) allow for privacy and a continuous flow of natural light. Pendant lights: vintage Vilhelm Lauritzen for Louis Poulsen. Counter stools: Thomas Hayes Studio.
A generously sized table comfortably seats eight—but its freijo wood frame is light enough to be moved to the deck. Table: Lia Siqueira by ETEL. Pendant lights: Pinch, The Future Perfect. Curtains: Angel Threads, in Coraggio fabric. Chairs: Thomas Hayes Studio, in Castel fabric. Candleholders: Homenature.
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