Cap­tains Coura­geous

DE­SIGNER NICK OLSEN CHARTS A COURSE FOR BOLD COLOR AND PAT­TERN IN AN AD­VEN­TUR­OUS CLIENT’S HIS­TORIC SAG HAR­BOR HOME

Traditional Home - - Contents - WRIT­TEN BY SALLY FINDER WEEPIE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY JOHN BESSLER PRO­DUCED BY TORI MELLOTT

De­signer Nick Olsen charts a course for bold color and pat­tern in an ad­ven­tur­ous client’s Sag Har­bor, New York, home.

Great white whale? Hmm. Lapis blue might be more in­ter­est­ing. Be­cause while Michael Lor­ber was cap­ti­vated by an old sea cap­tain’s home in Sag Har­bor, New York, he wasn’t so smit­ten by its ubiq­ui­tous neu­trals. How­ever, he knew just the de­signer to weave com­pelling twists into the story line of his newly pur­chased abode: Nick Olsen, one-time Miles Redd pro­tégé, 2012 Tra­di­tional Home New Trad, pa­tron of color, and pro­po­nent of pat­tern.

“I wanted a lot of color, fun, and nau­ti­cal flair,” says Michael, a lux­ury real es­tate bro­ker. “I wanted a true cap­tain’s house.”

That he got. The house was built in 1810 by mas­ter crafts­man Ben­jamin Glover on Cap­tains’ Row in Sag Har­bor dur­ing the town’s whal­ing days. It was added to and com­bined with a neigh­bor­ing house in 1850, gain­ing beau­ti­ful Greek Re­vival-style col­umns, mold­ings, and newels. “The house has such strong his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture,” Olsen says. “I was ex­cited to work on it and to bring in Michael’s de­sign ethos. He doesn’t shy from color and pat­tern—we’re a great fit that way.”

Olsen’s in­fu­sion of color starts in the en­try hall, where a dec­o­ra­tive paint fin­ish by artist Chris Pear­son gives walls the look of sun­baked yel­low bricks. “I like that yel­low is a happy color but also a his­tor­i­cal color,” the de­signer says.

The thread of yel­low con­tin­ues on up­hol­stered arm­chairs in the liv­ing room, where it pairs with hints of green (a nod to

I WANTED A LOT OF COLOR, FUN, AND NAU­TI­CAL FLAIR. I WANTED A TRUE CAP­TAIN’S HOUSE.”

—home­owner Michael Lor­ber

En­try hall Paint­ing a pat­tern on the walls was a smart solution in Michael Lor­ber’s 200-year-old house—it has awk­ward cor­ners and not-quitesquare sur­faces. The Greek key pat­tern on the floor is also hand-painted. The ea­gle-form con­sole is from Sedg­wick & Brat­tle. Light­ing is an­tique. Ex­te­rior Col­umns speak to the home’s Greek Re­vival style. Michael added op­er­a­ble shut­ters in his fa­vorite color, Ben­jamin Moore’s “Hale Navy.” Sec­ond-floor land­ing Gilt me­tal ac­cents a Ge­orge IV rose­wood-and­fruit­wood cabi­net. Bar Hits of Amer­i­cana honor the home’s his­tory.

Michael’s affin­ity for let­tuce­ware) and an ex­plo­sion of blue on hand-painted walls.

“I love Bunny Mellon homes, and I was in­spired by the rich blue cross­hatch pat­tern in the din­ing room of her Manhattan home,” Olsen says. To suit the in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture of this his­toric home, how­ever, Olsen di­aled down the drama, by­pass­ing flouncy draperies in fa­vor of sim­ple white li­nen shades.

In the ad­ja­cent din­ing room, blue reigns once again—this time on a cus­tom­ized de Gour­nay wall­pa­per that cel­e­brates the his­tory of Sag Har­bor, in­clud­ing its sail­ing ships and its syn­a­gogue, the old­est on Long Is­land.

While the scene harks to the past, its hues speak to to­day. “We re­col­ored the whole de­sign from softer col­ors to give it high im­pact,” Olsen says. “It in­ten­si­fies a his­toric no­tion with­out be­ing over­whelm­ing.”

Navy-and-white-striped shades of­fer geo­met­ric con­trast to the or­ganic feel of the wall­pa­per and sub­tly re­in­force the nau­ti­cal vibe, which gets an­other nod in the kitchen cour­tesy of com­pass stars on the hand-painted blue-and-white floor.

A blue-and-white pin­stripe wall­pa­per serves as the back­drop for a tufted red leather head­board in Michael’s hand­some mas­ter suite. Blue li­nen cur­tains jux­ta­pose red doors and deep mas­cu­line dashes of red in a tapestry rug, one of nu­mer­ous pieces that Michael brought in from pre­vi­ous homes.

“Nick knows that I’m a sen­ti­men­tal per­son,” Michael says. “He in­cludes things that are im­por­tant to me and make me feel at home. It doesn’t feel like I just moved in here. It feels like I’ve been liv­ing in this house for 15 years.”

Bits of Michael—via his col­lected pieces—and blasts of color keep right on com­ing on the third floor, where each guest room has its own iden­tity. One room pairs emer­ald green lac­quered walls with a soar­ing flo­ral head­board. An­other teams whim­si­cal, red-and-black rope-mo­tif wall­pa­per with a geo­met­ric head­board and an ar­ray of new and pre­vi­ously owned fur­nish­ings. “It’s a hodge­podge lodge of pieces brought to­gether for the com­fort and de­light of Michael’s guests,” Olsen says.

Among the un­ex­pected sur­prises are Michael’s art pieces. “He col­lects all gen­res of art, from Licht­en­stein to nau­ti­cal pieces that he finds on eBay. He even has vin­tage needle­work that sailors used to do when they were bored at sea,” Olsen says. “He has a sense of hu­mor, per­son­al­ity.”

In fact, per­son­al­ity shines through­out the home. “There’s some­thing to look at in ev­ery room, but it’s not a cir­cus house—it feels invit­ing,” Olsen says. “I love the mix of col­ors and tex­tures, the study in con­trasts. In the end, I ap­pre­ci­ate his­tory, but I don’t want a home to read as a mu­seum. I want to bring it into to­day.” In­te­rior de­signer: Nick Olsen

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