Home Tour: A Southampton Retreat

A classically styled Southampton retreat is outfitted in a blend of postmodern glam, ultracontemporary nowness, and a bit of timeless razzle-dazzle. At this entertaining haven, there’s always room for many, many more.

Annie Schlecter
OF 8

From the outside, the Southampton retreat of Whitney Casey and Nav Sooch fits in perfectly with the local vernacular of traditional shingle-clad farmhouses. But a closer look hints at the surprises inside. The mailbox, for one, has a discreet sign announcing “no vacancy” right where a homeowner’s last name would typically be. And then there’s the front door, painted a lipstick-y peachy mauve that’s rather out of character for this part of town. Step indoors and any suspicions are confirmed: This is not the classic Hamptons manse. The aesthetic could more accurately be described as a subtle riff on 1970s swank, from the nuanced, pastel-tinged palette to the abundance of soft, sexy curves. “We wanted to deflate the seriousness of the Hamptons, to do something that was cool and edgy but not at all intimidating—and with a bit of humor,” Casey says. “There are a lot of inside jokes in the design.”

he design reflects the owners’ aesthetic sensibility as well as their lifestyle. The couple—he’s a tech entrepreneur and cofounder of semiconductor-company Silicon Laboratories; she’s a web-video producer and Emmy-winning TV journalist—typically heads east with a veritable entourage in tow: Groups of 18 are not unheard of. “We jokingly refer to them as the Sooch mooches,” Casey says with a laugh. In fact, the guest experience served as the primary inspiration for the interiors, explains Los Angeles designer Jessica Ayromloo, who collaborated on the couple’s Austin and New York residences while working for Kelly Wearstler, a patron saint of retro indulgence; Ayromloo has since opened her own studio. “We desired a space for entertaining but one that also gave visitors a sense of privacy and tranquility,” Casey says. Thus, living areas have a lounge-like vibe and guest quarters (there are seven) are tricked out with mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and embroidered robes that houseguests happily sport to breakfast. Even the home’s location was chosen with the comfort and convenience of friends and family in mind. The distance is “walkable to both the village and the beach so you never feel stranded,” Casey says.

Although newly constructed, the classically styled farmhouse appears to be centuries old. Ayromloo’s main challenge was to remain faithful to the home’s traditional bones while layering on the quirky, urbane glamour her clients favor. “We had a good relationship with the builder,” the designer says of Louis Follo. “We wanted him to love [the house], too,” the designer says. “But to put our own stamp on it and not have it feel out of place.” So she kept to a minimum the architectural modifications. She did, however, streamline the family-room fireplace surround and add a sleek stainless-steel backsplash in the kitchen.

The biggest alteration was reconfiguring the opening wall between the library vestibule and the family room, where a newly added doorway allows for unobstructed views of the space from both ends of the home. Built-in bookshelves were replaced with free-floating walnut units, artfully styled with books and sculptural objects. The library vestibule sets the slightly winking tone: A tiered glass chandelier reminiscent of a sea creature spotlights a cracked-Lucite pedestal table, while a long-haired cowhide rug invites sandy feet. One can’t help but smile at the side chairs with humorously high backs.

The finishes feel appropriate but never clichéd; there’s no nautical navy and white here. “The talk of palette really started with the front door, which in turn inspired the soft, fleshy colors that thread throughout,” Ayromloo says. “We wanted it to feel organic and coastal.” Sandy driftwood tones are complemented by a sublime silvery hue. “Gray is so hard to get right,” Casey says. Ayromloo picked an airy shade of paint for various rooms that is not too blue or too green. “Everyone who walks in wants that color.”

Furnishings were selected with that same seaside luxe sensibility. Roughly half of the pieces are custom creations crafted by a short list of artist-makers with whom Ayromloo frequently collaborates. And some were the spoils of an intense buying trip to Miami. “The city is a great place to shop for vintage pieces that are coastal yet cool and a bit weird,” the designer explains. She and Casey spent three days scouring West Palm Beach and North Miami in search of statement pieces to anchor each room. Among the highlights are the seating in the formal living room, where Harvey Probber swivel chairs face off against indulgent early-’80s lounges with a half-moon profile. “We mostly chose low-slung pieces with smaller proportions and interesting, sexy shapes that are still comfortable and casual,” Ayromloo says.

All-white trim and bare floors softened with animalhide rugs form a restrained foil for more exuberant touches  like wallpapered ceilings, as well as decorative painting that adorns seemingly every surface, especially in the bedrooms. The hotel-worthy suites range from a denim-inspired retreat to an attic-level aerie cheekily dubbed the penthouse, and each has its own personality. “We wanted the bedrooms to stand on their own while still relating to the rest of the house,” Ayromloo says. The decor of Cyrano (so named for de Bergerac) was inspired by the artwork hanging above an unusual cane canopy bed, its antique bearing leavened by the portrait of a man with a very large nose. Ayromloo painted the master bedroom’s fashion-forward white-on-gray brushstrokes, taking her cue from Céline’s 2014 fall collection. "It was a last-minute addition after Jessica executed something similar on the walls of our basement game room," Casey says. And the designer didn't shy from spontaneous finessing to get things just right. When the denim room's window treatments were deemed too indigo, Ayromloo lightened them via a vigorous sandpapering, then painted them with a sea-grass brush.

For all the bespoke touches, some of the most special for the homeowners are custom elements designed to highlight Sooch’s latest invention: LEDs with true color rendering that can be dimmed to a faint glow and shift subtly in accordance with circadian rhythms. “My only request was for a fixture that would let me show off the bulbs when friends dropped by,” Sooch says. To suspend the system, called Ketra, in the kitchen, Ayromloo created a cast-bronze armature— in the shape of her arm.

The backyard, with its rectilinear lap pool and ample expanse of lawn, carries fewer high-tech details. “We talked about commissioning an outdoor sculpture, but they wanted to keep grass clear for croquet and games—so we kept it more sparse,” Ayromloo says. The primary accents are Alexander Wang pool toys (all black, of course) and clean-lined lounges accessorized with towels embroidered with #nofilter. It’s not the typical Hamptons house, indeed. 

Interiors by Jessica Ayromloo, 4326 Campbell Dr. Los Angeles, 323-937-0357, ja-id.com.