New York City designer, Jennifer Duneier, has created a beautiful and relaxing second home in Watermill, NY, for a family with two small children. Read on, as Jennifer gives us a tour of the home and explains how she overcame the many obstacles the house presented.
This project in Watermill, NY, was an 8000+ square foot new construction home. I was involved from the very beginning, viewing several homes with the client while they decided to purchase a second home.
This particular home was not my first choice for them, as there were several odd angles, curves, strange color choices and a lack of symmetry to the house. When they told me that this was the house they had selected, I knew that my work was cut out for me.
The client wanted me to create a warm, elegant, relaxed, entertaining-friendly retreat where they could raise their two children and enjoy their summers. All of the fabrics needed to be able to withstand high traffic, strong sunlight from the many windows and the playfulness of young children; yet still be beautiful and inviting.
The first task was the kitchen. When the client purchased the home, there was a white subway tile backsplash and brown marble countertops, which vibrated against the mustard yellow cabinets and made them appear stronger than they actually were. The client was ready to rip them out and start over, but I suggested changing all the tile work instead. I replaced the backsplash with a tumbled Jerusalem cream limestone complete with custom mosaics above the range, and a honed limestone countertop. We repainted the walls a soft cream to pick up on the limestone. This immediately made the cabinets read a soft yellow color instead of the strong mustard, saving the client tens of thousands of dollars.
The kitchen opens up to the den, which was the one room the clients wanted more club-like, so I chose a plaid Ralph Lauren fabric to put on the Zoffany custom sofas. The cocktail table was custom made, so the center trays could be used for entertaining and the bolstered sides could withstand the wear of someone putting their feet up and relaxing.
The den fireplace was off center, so I decided to put desks in front of the windows for the children to do their homework. This distracts from the fact that nothing was lining up. We cut the carpet on an angle to accommodate the corner entry to the room.
This room needed to accommodate a family of five plus guests, so I designed a round 7’ table with leaves that make it 9’ for larger parties. We painted it a soft peach color, which glows under the candlelight during dinner. The fabrics are from Beacon Hill.
This room was the most grand with 22 ft ceilings and 3 French doors that lead out to the back yard. We chose a palate of blues, soft greens, grays and whites to reflect the color of the sky and sea. The custom upholstery is from Wesley Allen, and the table lamps are filled with sand and seashells the children collected from the beach down the road.
This was probably the most challenging room because the client wanted a TV, but didn’t want it in the bookshelves or over the mantle. There are so many angles, making it tough to select a wall to place the bed on. In the end, we opted for a sitting area to watch TV from, and placed the bed on a wall that gave the client a view of the back yard and the fireplace. Again, we pulled from nature with the colors and textures but also added a shot of chocolate brown to streamline it.
We chose to use the tumbled limestone in the master bath to continue the nature/spa-like feel of the master suite.
This is perhaps my favorite room in the house. The curved wall of windows created a perfect place for a settee in lime linen with lavender trim. The plaid roman shades in white, lavender and lime green combined with the lavender crystal trim and polka dot sheer panels make it a true princess room. Even the American Girl doll’s bed had custom bedding to coordinate with the draperies! We painted the walls a soft lavender to coordinate with the lavender wool/sisal area rug. A chandelier with delicate flowers tops it all off.
At the time we designed this space, the clients’ son was three and we wanted to create a fun nautical room for him. We selected the speedboat bed from Pottery Barn. In order to make the room special, I custom designed a headboard using Lee Jofa fabrics that coordinate with the window treatments. Once he outgrows the bed, a queen size mattress can be attached to the headboard, saving the client the cost of redecorating a novelty room.
This room was so much fun to work in because we were able to really get bold with the color and pattern choices. There are several “zones” within the 1,200 sq ft space, allowing for more than one activity at a time. The clients’ children were so thrilled when they saw the room. I knew I had succeeded in giving them a space to really let loose and be kids. The beanbags ended up being the adults’ favorite seats in the room. The fabric on the sofas is a jungle print, and the cover on the day bed is made from Sunbrella material so it is incredibly durable.
This guest room is a sanctuary. The cerulean blue linen roman shade with sea glass trim, and the linen patterned fabric on the settee set the tone for relaxation away from the hectic city. The coral in the fabric is picked up in the hand-painted lamps from Italy.
The poolside seating is a combination of Kingsley Bate teak chaises covered in a seafoam green Sunbrella material, and a teak double-lounge bed from Saccaro. The lounges are adjustable, so you can face the other person or both lie in the same direction. The wind- and sun-screen is adjustable, as well. As the sun moves across the sky, you can create the desired amount of shade.