For the Man­hat­tan na­tives

that re­side in this 2,000-square-foot flower box of a home,

Cottages & Bungalows - - Cottage -

a Long Is­land cot­tage was just what they needed to get away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the Big Ap­ple. The fixer-up­per cot­tage was built in the early 1900s and was once an add-on to a larger prop­erty in the Lo­cust Val­ley area of New York. The house un­der­went some ma­jor ren­o­va­tions and an in­te­rior makeover to bring it to the invit­ing North Shore cot­tage it is to­day.


The neigh­bor­hood seems straight out of an F. Scott Fitzger­ald novel. The home is sur­rounded by a lot of larger houses and their ad­join­ing cot­tages. The home­own­ers and Dean DeTura of Bud­get Con­trac­tors, tried to keep as many orig­i­nal el­e­ments as pos­si­ble when they set out to re­vive the run­down prop­erty. Amal Kapen, the in­te­rior de­signer, says, “They tried to keep the orig­i­nal wide-plank floors where pos­si­ble, and the out­side was re­fur­bished to its former charm­ing fa­cade.”


With any small home, there will be some de­sign chal­lenges. In this cot­tage, a main pri­or­ity was dis­guis­ing the mul­ti­tude of eaves in the home. Amal says, “A busy, nondi­rec­tional pat­tern can help in blur­ring the many lines cre­ated by the eaves.” Pay­ing at­ten­tion to sym­me­try and bal­ance is key, but that be­comes dif­fi­cult in a home where the win­dows and doors are not cen­tered.

By us­ing the furnishings and ac­ces­sories as the fo­cal points of the room, Amal was able to cre­ate bal­ance where pre­vi­ously there wasn’t any. “When you are deal­ing with a cot­tage, your fur­ni­ture must be in the right pro­por­tions so as not to over­whelm the space or make it look too crowded,” she says. With the abun­dance of prints, col­ors and fur­ni­ture, bal­ance is es­sen­tial. Amal took spe­cial care to make sure that each room had just enough color and pat­tern to com­ple­ment each other.


“This cot­tage was made for this youth­ful, preppy look and re­flects the fun and cheer­ful per­son­al­ity of the home­own­ers,” Amal says. Her first ques­tion? What do they want to feel when they walk through the doors? “The sec­ond thing is to find in­spi­ra­tion for the project’s di­rec­tion—some­times it’s a fab­ric or art, and some­times it stems from a col­lec­tion or love of the client,” Amal says. When start­ing with a clean slate and an empty house, it can be a sim­ple item that sparks the dé­cor for an en­tire home. In­spi­ra­tion for a style can come from any­where—a sen­ti­men­tal item you can’t do with­out, a vin­tage col­lec­tion you for­got you had or re­ally any­thing. In this case, it was a vin­tage set of prints that in­spired the red, white and blue color pal­ette.

“Through­out the house I have re­peated a thread of blue, in dif­fer­ent hues, but they all re­late to each other and give the home a co­he­sive flow,” Amal says. From the small blue ac­cents of vases and bed­room dé­cor to large fur­ni­ture, the color flows seam­lessly in each room. The shades of blue as well as the mono­grammed pil­lows add a preppy feel. Amal also in­cor­po­rated red lamps, pil­lows and trim, to mix clas­sic coun­try with a hint of Amer­i­cana. Amal says, “The sim­ple white-and-blue bed­ding pro­vides a re­lief from the chintz walls and makes the room more rest­ful.” For this cot­tage, choos­ing whim­si­cal col­ors in the rooms made the home hap­pier. The col­ors cre­ate a vin­tage look with­out tak­ing away from the fresh de­tails in the home.


In the com­mon rooms, Amal played with prints through the furnishings and wall art, while the bed­rooms em­body prints in the wallpaper pat­terns. “Wallpaper is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing of a revival … com­pared to fab­ric or fur­ni­ture, wallpaper is a re­ally cost-ef­fec­tive way to make a de­sign state­ment,” Amal says. Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with pat­terns is what gives this cot­tage its clas­sic look. Play­ful geo­met­rics and ro­man­tic flo­rals im­bue the rooms with a tra­di­tional coun­try style that makes them feel time­less.


Through­out time, mono­grams have been a sym­bol of sta­tus, so a mono­grammed piece can in­stantly el­e­vate the elegance of a room. Amal’s goal with mono­grams was to give the home a preppy, chic look while com­ple­ment­ing the wallpaper in a sub­tle way. Mono­grams can also per­son­al­ize the space for home­own­ers. For this fam­ily, the cot­tage is not their full-time liv­ing space, so the feel­ing of “home” some­times gets lost. Mono­grammed dé­cor can in­crease the fam­ily’s sense of own­er­ship and com­fort when they are re­lax­ing on the is­land.


“I think wallpaper, cheer­ful col­ors and bam­boo all work well in a cot­tage and lend a ca­sual, easy-to-live-in air that I love about cot­tage style,” Amal says. The cheery, sum­mery feel comes from the blue and red ac­cents, while the bam­boo pro­vides a unique twist on the dé­cor. Amal says, “Bam­boo, both new and vin­tage, is a great way to give warmth to a room and pre­vent it from be­com­ing too stuffy and for­mal.” Its vin­tage look comes from the 18th-cen­tury Chip­pen­dale pat­tern of the chairs. Also bam­boo furnishings were all the rage in the 1940s, and this era is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a revival in styles all across the board. Com­bined with the wall art and brass fix­tures, many of the rooms are rem­i­nis­cent of trop­i­cal Bri­tish colo­nial style.


A ma­jor as­pect of this dé­cor is the abun­dance of green­ery. Plants can make any space, whether tra­di­tional or fresh and mod­ern, feel invit­ing. There are plants for ev­ery style, and they trans­form the space from sim­ple to thought­ful. “Here we in­cor­po­rated sev­eral easy-care plants that even the most black-thumbed per­son among us can keep alive,” Amal says. In this cot­tage specif­i­cally, the green­ery re­ally plays off the other el­e­ments of the home. The plants com­ple­ment the bam­boo furnishings, mak­ing the home feel al­most trop­i­cal, while planters and vases flow through the wallpaper pat­terns and color pal­ette.


This home bal­ances vin­tage pieces with a clas­sic look and the home’s mod­ern fea­tures. “I love to mix vin­tage, mod­ern and an­tique pieces to­gether to cre­ate a time­less, youth­ful feel­ing,” Amal says. While the kitchen in­cludes new ap­pli­ances, the all-white ma­te­ri­als di­rect your eye to­ward the vin­tage furnishings, which bal­ances the space. “Among the most im­por­tant things to con­sider when mix­ing old and new pieces is how shapes, scale and ma­te­ri­als work to­gether and are re­peated,” Amal says. The kitchen ta­ble is the per­fect ex­am­ple of how re­peat­ing pat­terns can help two dif­fer­ent styles mix. Adorn­ing the mod­ern tulip ta­ble with bam­boo pat­terns and tex­tures brings those two con­trast­ing styles to­gether through a sim­i­lar color pal­ette and the rep­e­ti­tion of cir­cu­lar shapes. If you’re in love with two dif­fer­ent styles, you don’t al­ways have to choose be­tween the two. Mix mod­ern with vin­tage by pick­ing pieces with sim­i­lar shapes and col­ors.

“I think the most im­por­tant as­pect of de­sign is com­fort. While things can al­ways be made to look pretty, they also need to work and be a boon to your day-to-day liv­ing,” Amal says. After all, this cot­tage is all about re­lax­ation and es­cap­ing the fast-paced liv­ing of the city.

The cot­tage is full of eaves and small nooks that give it a lot of charm, but these fea­tures can also make a home dif­fi­cult to de­sign. Amal chose a nondi­rec­tional wallpaper to dis­guise the eaves, and used dark wood and bam­boo to con­trast with the...

This vi­gnette shows how im­por­tant all the pat­terns and col­ors are in cre­at­ing the look. Amal chose the blue furnishings to match the clients’ col­lec­tion of vin­tage prints.

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