The Insider: Fresh Color Leads in a ‘Sensible Renovation’ of Dated Hamptons Home


    Summer doesn’t end with the equinox on Long Island’s South Fork. The year-round population is growing, with an increasing number of homes being kitted out for full-time family living.

    But still, it’s the Hamptons. The approach to decor tends to be “more relaxed and playful, less serious than in the city, with colors that are bright and fresh,” said Manhattan-based designer Tamara Eaton, who renovated and decorated a tired 1970s four-bedroom, three-bath house for a family of four.

    “We did a budget-friendly renovation to an existing structure,” Eaton said. “It was an older house with low ceilings and not-huge rooms, just old and icky, with gross wall-to-wall carpets.” Fortunately, the Sheetrock walls were in good condition, as were the hardwood floors.

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    The baths and kitchen had to go, however, and their revamping was a major effort. All fixtures and materials are brand new, but Eaton saved on costs by retaining existing layouts and not moving any plumbing lines.

    She stretched the furniture budget, too, recycling pieces from her clients’ city apartment and finding most of the rest on Craigslist and eBay. “They even had a friend who was moving, and we adopted her extra furniture,” Eaton said.

    As Hamptons houses go, said the designer, “It’s a modest house, not mega mega. You can do a sensible renovation without going overboard.”


    Floors refinished with a medium-dark stain, new baseboard and crown molding, and new hardware throughout elevate the formerly ho-hum home.

    The upholstered bench, found on eBay and recovered in bright yellow, sets a welcoming tone in the foyer.


    The dining room was painted a classic pale blue and stands out for the exuberant original artwork, done by a friend who took color inspiration from the wing chairs covered in a Schumacher floral fabric.

    The dining table came from Desiron, the chairs from BDDW, the chandelier from Ochre.


    The all-new kitchen cabinetry is custom, with a white glazed brick backsplash and marble countertops.

    Pendant fixtures were sourced from Barn Light Electric.


    In lieu of a mudroom, Eaton placed a rustic bench in a corner of the kitchen, near the house’s much-used side entrance. “This is where the kids drop their backpacks,” she said.


    Standout fish wallpaper from Cole & Sons and the skeleton of a vintage kayak distinguish the family room. Eaton expanded the natural stone fireplace wall and added a niche to give it a larger presence in the room.

    A sofa and chairs found on eBay are accompanied by purchased pieces, including a Crate & Barrel credenza and an ottoman covered in a Kelly Wearstler fabric from Lee Jofa.

    A blue and gray herringbone rug from Stark underlies it all.


    Penny tile from Waterworks in a multi-gray adds liveliness to a downstairs powder room.


    “It was a bit of a struggle to find things that made sense in this massive room,” Eaton said of the master bedroom. She did it by creating a separate sitting area with a vintage Lucite table, purple settee from Mr. Brown and chair from CB2.


    The young daughter’s room is all set for sleepovers with twin beds from the Land of Nod and boldly striped bedspreads.


    Two pieces of red artwork are “a little pop” that brightens the master bath, Eaton said. She painted the base of the new clawfoot tub to work with the deep gray walls and gray-veined marble tile floor.

    The vanity is custom, with Lucite hardware. Roman drapes made with a large-scale floral pattern by Schumacher and a crystal chandelier make the room glamorous.

    [Photos by Francis Dzikowski]

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    Got a project to propose for The InsiderEmail caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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