Gotham - - Contents -

Dig­i­tal dis­trac­tions are in­evitable nowa­days, so how can you de­sign a space that in­spires you to un­wind and un­plug?

In an age when peo­ple are plugged into their de­vices 24/7, it’s all the more im­por­tant to have lit­tle cor­ners of your life where you can let go. Depend­ing on the de­sign, in­te­rior spa­ces have the po­ten­tial to in­still a sense of seren­ity. With so much clut­ter pil­ing up in the mind from Twit­ter feeds and to-do lists, phys­i­cally clear­ing away the clut­ter in your life can be trans­for­ma­tive.

De­bra Gilder­sleeve, an in­te­rior de­signer and the owner of Re­nee’s Mat­ti­tuck (10095 Main Road, Mat­ti­tuck, 631-2984223; re­neesmat­ti­, sug­gests us­ing pieces that dou­ble as stor­age, like ot­tomans and mir­rored chests in the liv­ing room. “This is one of the sim­plest yet most ef­fec­tive ways to cre­ate a calm and peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment,” she says, be­cause it keeps un­nec­es­sary items out of sight and there­fore out of mind un­til they’re needed. “De­sign should be beau­ti­ful and func­tional, not dis­tract­ing,” she adds. “By elim­i­nat­ing tele­vi­sions and other entertainment sys­tems in cer­tain rooms, you can cre­ate an oa­sis to un­plug and re­lax.”

Southamp­ton-based in­te­rior de­signer Elsa So­yars (300 N. Sea Me­cox Road, Southamp­ton, 631-8751694; el­saso­ agrees that de­clut­ter­ing is es­sen­tial. She also be­lieves there’s a sci­ence to pro­duc­ing this kind of tran­quil en­vi­ron­ment. “One has to un­der­stand the el­e­ments that cre­ate har­mony,” she says. “Color, tex­ture, shape, pro­por­tion, com­fort, and life­style are es­sen­tials that I in­stinc­tively live by.”

For Austin Han­dler of Mab­ley Han­dler De­signs (34 Head of Pond Road, Wa­ter Mill,

631-726-7300; mab­ley han­, it starts with the color on the walls. “It may seem ob­vi­ous,” says Han­dler, “but the first thing you can do to cre­ate a calm, tran­quil en­vi­ron­ment is to choose a soft, sooth­ing paint color. Then bal­ance that with fab­rics in com­ple­men­tary tones and art­work that’s in­ter­est­ing.” By work­ing with a calm­ing base color, home­own­ers can choose bold de­signs or eye-catch­ing fab­rics.

Light­ing is also an el­e­ment cru­cial to de­sign, and Han­dler be­lieves every fix­ture de­serves a dim­mer. “You have to be able to bal­ance the light and cre­ate well-lit en­vi­ron­ments,” he says. “In­stalling shades and cur­tains on mo­tor­ized mech­a­nisms can help cre­ate a feel­ing of seren­ity as well. With the touch of a but­ton, shades or sheers can close to quickly block out light or dis­trac­tions.”

A well-con­ceived kitchen, the heart of the home, is also ex­tremely ef­fec­tive in chang­ing the house’s whole feel. “The kitchen can be a ve­hi­cle for prim­i­tive dis­trac­tions that help you stay away from vir­tual ones,” says West Chin, prin­ci­pal of West Chin Ar­chi­tects, De­sign­ers & Dec­o­ra­tors (25B New­town Lane, East Hamp­ton, 631-267-3066; wcar­chi­ in East Hamp­ton and New York City. “A kitchen lay­out that is both func­tional and com­mu­nal is an in­te­gral part of the syn­ergy of the home­owner and the home.”— e.j.w.

“This room was a more luxe ver­sion of an all-year sun­room,” says its de­signer, Elsa So­yars. “[It was] in­spired by na­ture el­e­ments, rep­re­sented here in the wood slab, the white tex­tu­ral stone in the fire­place. Col­ors were kept very light— a very...

This airy, open beach house, de­signed by West Chin Ar­chi­tects, fea­tures a great room with a 26-foot- wide glass door, al­low­ing in­doors and out­doors to flow to­gether undis­rupted.

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