Left photos © Costas Picadas, Right photo © Tria Giovan
Q. How would you define the Hamptons aesthetic?
A. I think most people think of the shingle-style cottage on the beach with dormers, shutters and a clean white interior with lots of wood, soft colors with punctuations of blues and natural materials like glass and stone. There are also impressive estates – grand, expensive homes of 10,000 square feet or more. And the newest permutation is the return to the agrarian farmhouse. It's the guy who is retired at 40 with a beautiful wife and two children, he's into surfing, wants to build a cool farmhouse and have a winery.
Q. And how do you see it playing out internationally?
A. People from all over the world visit the Hamptons and want to bring that feeling back with them – of being in a resort town and living that lifestyle every day. And others who have homes here visit resorts in other parts of the world, like the Aman in Phuket, and they want that feeling for their pool house. So they build a pool house that looks like it belongs in Indonesia, but it's in the Hamptons.
On the other hand, I've been everywhere from Australia to Bali to St. Barths and in each place I have seen a Hamptons store. I have pictures of stores called "Le Hamptons," and they all have a whitewashed idea of elegance that is – I don't love this word but it applies – beachy. It resonates all over the world, even with people who have never been to the Hamptons.
Q. So how do those people figure out how to mimic the variations of the Hamptons aesthetic?
A. We're in an age of technology – information is shared in the blink of an eye. Even if someone lives in Idaho or Zimbabwe, they can be connected to information that tells them who ate at Nick and Toni's last night, or what outfit a celebrity wore to that fundraiser. And people want a piece of it. You can buy a pillow with a sailboat on it, or a big blue and white striped sofa from Ralph Lauren, that you put on a sea grass rug in your beach house in Michigan.
I recently read a story about an Australian man who retired to Bali and built a house that he specifically styled to look like the Hamptons. It was all white, and furnished in that elegant beach house way. I just kept wondering if he had ever been here.
|Hamptons-based Bjørnen Design balances timeless coastal elegance and modern flair, creating homes with equal measures of comfort and luxury.