Designer Gary Paul is known for his attention to detail and creative solutions to the most testing of design problems. The work of his firm, GP Incorporated Design Consulting, can be seen in high-end homes throughout the eastern U.S. and even into the Caribbean and Ireland. Read on as Paul describes his work on one couple’s dream weekend home in the Hamptons.
All Photos by David Matthew Walters
On Windmill Lane, just steps from the ocean in East Hampton, Nora Ann Wallace and Jack Nusbaum commissioned the construction of their dream weekend home. While the basic layout was pre-designed by a local builder, my commission was to review and refit the plans, add the warmth of details, design the interiors, select the finishes and furnishings, site the pool and pool house and design the adjoining gardens.
I met Jack and Nora Ann when they were among the first guests at the Poor Cottage Bed & Breakfast in East Hampton, which I had also designed. They specifically enjoyed the ambiance of the Poor Cottage which was designed in the style of a Cotswold Manse, circa 1905: thick walls, rich finishes including paneled walls, deep moldings, William Morris wallpapers, inglenooks with decorated fireplaces, and rooms that bespoke history.
Several years after first meeting, the process was underway. The home they would build was to have eight bedrooms, a full basement with exercise and TV/entertainment rooms, upstairs family room, a screened dining porch, living room, dining room, library and kitchen.
What made this project so interesting to me was their expressed desire to have the house feel warm and established like the Poor Cottage (which has in its shell, a 1640s original East Hampton saltbox turned late 19th century Cotswold cottage). We decided on the English Arts & Crafts as a point of departure, and I set out to design a house that was casual and comfortable while also rich and interesting.
I looked at the residential designs of Voysey and Baillie Scott, the great country house architects of the late 19th century. Their use of pattern and their modern versions of traditional detailing informed the Wallace-Nusbaum Interiors. The designs of the English Arts & Crafts period weave modernist sensibility into traditional forms, embracing highly structured floral patterns and the inherent richness of materials (copper, brass and turquoise). A few commissioned pieces, such as a Lutyen’s table reproduction designed for the Viceroy’s palace in New Delhi and three of Lutyen’s light fixtures designed for the palace nursery add interest and whimsy to the design of the kitchen and rear stair hall.
Room by room, stories emerge of a three-continent hunt for distinctive furnishings. In the end, the overlay of color, pattern, pedigree and material all play together to create these visually special interiors.