Though it’s a new construction, this Watermill, NY home looks like it’s always been there. Located on the grounds of a former Olympic equestrian center, it boasts a classic shingle-style exterior. Interior designer Anelle Gandelman of A-List Interiors was hired to help her clients—two attorneys with teenage children—go beyond the typical “summer house.” The goal? A comfortable, year-round retreat that didn’t feel overly coastal, yet would be right at home on the beach. Anelle tells us more. 

First things first, what was your scope of work?
A-List Interiors was brought in at the start of construction and was tasked with designing all aspects of the home, from custom cabinetry and millwork, tile, plumbing, flooring, lighting, and furnishings down to the very last details including the flatware and glassware. As a second home for a very busy couple the home needed to be turnkey.

In general, the house doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the reclaimed limestone in the mudroom to the playful custom designed bunk room, this house was designed to be loved and used.

Style-wise, what was your goal?
The goal was to design a home that didn’t feel overly coastal but still felt like it belonged at the beach. Provincial French elements, such as the Lacanche range, are layered with more contemporary furniture pieces and various interpretations of the classic blue and white color palette throughout the house. The furniture is more tailored than you would expect from a typical Hampton’s home, but the interiors still feel fresh and inviting. The home feels “happy,” especially the lower level.

Did this project have any challenges? 
The clients wanted a home that was fresh and bright…i.e. lots of light colored fabrics. But they also have a large black dog that likes to lounge all over the furniture. We specified performance fabrics throughout, and we also tested each fabric to make sure the dark dog hair could easily be vacuumed up. We avoided high pile and overly knubby fabrics where the dog hairs would get caught.

As a Covid project, it was also subject to multiple delays and shortages. We had to come up with many temporary solutions to get the house ready for the summer as promised, from a temporary range to temporary bed frames. We even rented dining chairs and some outdoor furniture so that the clients would have a functional home.

Start to finish, how long did the project take, and what did the client say when they saw the finished space?
The home took 18 months to build and furnish. We ordered the furniture as soon as framing began but we still had some pieces delayed for longer than it took to build the house itself. We were supposed to do a big reveal but as Murphy’s Law would have it, the clients came down with Covid a few days before. We ended up doing a virtual reveal. The clients were blown away (despite some of the temporary furniture) and sent several texts during their first weekend complimenting us on the home. They obviously saw and approved all the fixtures, finishes and furniture but I don’t think they were able to picture how everything would come together.