Kick off your shoes and lie back – the easy­go­ing ethos of The Hamp­tons is in sea­son

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents -

Neale Whi­taker ex­plains the “Hamp­tons” look.

From the homes mag­a­zines that we read and the reno shows we watch, you could be for­given for think­ing we’re a na­tion of Scan­diphiles. That’s ac­tu­ally a word for some­one who loves all things Scan­di­na­vian. But “Hamp­tons” is an­other look we Aus­tralians em­brace, in­spired by the ver­nac­u­lar of the New York State re­sort com­mu­ni­ties on Amer­ica’s east­ern se­aboard, and not to be con­fused – al­though it fre­quently is – with “English Coun­try” (more dec­o­ra­tive) or “French Pro­vin­cial” (more rus­tic).

Per­son­ally, I put the Hamp­tons thing down to Some­thing’s Gotta Give, that wildly suc­cess­ful Diane KeatonJack Ni­chol­son movie from 2003. While the movie’s in­te­ri­ors were ac­tu­ally cre­ated in a Hol­ly­wood stu­dio (the ex­te­rior was a gen­uine house in The Hamp­tons), they ticked the style boxes as­so­ci­ated with the look: heav­ily laden book­shelves, pol­ished floor­boards, rugs, deep slouchy so­fas and arm­chairs, Shaker-style pan­elling, ex­posed ceil­ing tim­bers, fresh-cut flow­ers, lamps, lamps, lamps… and a tight-knit pal­ette of blue, white and nat­u­ral.

Defin­ing the essence of Hamp­tons style can be tricky. I re­cently stayed at an Aus­tralian coastal re­sort where the in­te­rior de­sign was un­apolo­get­i­cally Hamp­tons. But to be very hon­est, it felt a teeny bit soul­less, with too much em­pha­sis on as­sem­bling the right com­po­nents just so, and not enough on the big pic­ture, the mood.

So, to set things straight, I went to the horse’s mouth, metaphor­i­cally speak­ing. Jef­frey Alan Marks (jam-de­ is an Amer­i­can in­te­rior de­signer whose work I’ve al­ways ad­mired. Marks is based in Cal­i­for­nia, but works ex­ten­sively on the US east coast. “Hamp­tons style is the east-coast ver­sion of laid-back Cal­i­for­nian at­ti­tude,” he ex­plains. “With­out strict for­mal­ity, it’s clean, bright and breezy with a seam­less in­door-out­door flow, ocean-in­spired colours, nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and lots of nat­u­ral light.” Marks also adds that a Hamp­tons-style home should be “cosy, invit­ing and re­laxed”.

Closer to home, Jus­tine Hugh-jones (justine­ is a Syd­ney­based de­signer adept at adapt­ing el­e­ments of the Hamp­tons look for an Aus­tralian life­style. “These in­te­ri­ors should call out to you to throw off your shoes,” she says. Hugh-jones con­sid­ers “high ceil­ings, open-plan liv­ing spa­ces and deep ve­ran­dahs” to be es­sen­tial com­po­nents but prefers to re­sist the clichés, opt­ing for a “calm, neu­tral pal­ette of whites, greys and blacks and lay­ers of soft tex­tures”. Per­haps it’s time to claim a new ad­jec­tive to de­scribe our Aussie take on this dis­tinc­tive look. I’ll throw three names into the ring. “Penin­sula”, “Bay­side” or “North­ern Beaches”. Any oth­ers? Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-at-large of Vogue Liv­ing.

“Hamp­tons style is bright and breezy with a seam­less in­door-out­door flow”

EAST SIDE STORY (clock­wise and a blue-and-white pal­ette are key “Hamp­tons” el­e­ments; in­te­rior de­signer Jus­tine HughJones avoids clichés by opt­ing for black, white and neu­tral tones; she favours...

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