Each year, we look forward to sponsoring the Traditional Home Hampton Designer Showhouse. It’s the closest we Atlantans get to experiencing the ultimate summer in such an iconic coastal locale. This year’s team of renowned designers created the quintessential beach house, complete with seaside style and an invitingly serene vibe. Designer Kate Singer decorated the great room using Ballard Designs product, and we’re thrilled to share it with you. We got a chance to chat with Kate, who gave us a few insider tips.
Ballard Designs: First, tell us about the overall themes throughout the home.
Kate Singer: There is such wonderful flow in this house, from the entry foyer into the great room and through to the backyard patio and pool area. There’s a really harmonious array of blues that greets you as you step through the front door that carries through to the backyard. It’s so beautiful and seems as though it was planned by the designers, even though it was serendipitous. There’s also a lot of natural tones and textures in each space, on the main floor and upstairs, which I love.
BD: You designed the great room. How would you describe this space?
KS: Inviting, serene, cozy and comfortable. It’s perfectly suited for the relaxed and easy lifestyle the Hamptons is known for.
BD: How did the size of the room drive the layout and design?
KS: When tackling a large room like this, it’s always best to break it down into separate yet connected living spaces, so I divided it into three distinct areas. The central space is a cozy seating area centered around the fireplace and anchored by Ballard’s classic wing chairs. In the corner with a beautiful view of the backyard, we tucked in that great pedestal dining table and banquette bench. It’s the perfect spot for checking emails, doing homework, playing games or even eating a light meal. In another corner I placed this eye-catching Swedish settee from the 1800s to create a quiet spot for a bit of solitude.
KS: How did Ballard fit into your vision for the space?
KS: Perfectly! All these beautiful and practical pieces are ideal for creating a family room to be lived in and loved by everyone. I love the rich tone and beautiful base of the Cora Pedestal Table combined with the Campbell Settee and Louis Chairs. The Tate Sofa has these wonderful high arms and comfortable cushions that make you want to curl up in front of a summer evening fire. I added the Thurston Wing Chairs, because they’re so stately and a bit dramatic, yet so comfortable. The bench is another great spot for warming up by the fire, and I love the added detail of the barley twist legs. The Bornova Side Table is a wonderful versatile piece to put next to or in-between chairs. And the armless Louis Chair is classic, comfortable and easy to move around the room to a perfect spot.
BD: A large part of that cozy vibe you mentioned is due to the color palette. You’ve got this serene mix of neutrals, soft blues and greens and cool metals, which is your signature look.
KS: I’m always inspired by the awesome beauty that exists in the Hamptons landscape. The tones and textures of the sea, the sand and the sky are all found in the fabrics and furniture in the room.
BD: There is a lot of rich texture in the room. Do you have more freedom to go heavy on the visual and textural detail when you’ve got a more quiet palette?
KS: Definitely. If you look closely — at the intaglio art over the table, the carved wood candlesticks, the stone trough filled with succulents and beautiful French Bisque Lamp Slips that are mixed in with bound leather books and several antique marble and alabaster pieces — you’ll see a lot of details and finishing touches. But by keeping these pieces soft and monochromatic in neutral tones of cream and white, everything seems to blend softly together. I love when everything blends together harmoniously with just a bright note here and there, such as the purple hydrangeas and the beautiful French blue screens over the fireplace.
BD: Tell us about those artful screens over the fireplace. It’s definitely the focal point of the room.
KS: It’s a handpainted mural that was done exclusively for this room by de Gournay. It’s is such an exquisite work of art that I think sets an understatedly elegant tone to the entire room.
BD: There’s a lot of vintage-inspired decor and furnishings in the room, yet the space feels very fresh and modern. Why is that and what is your advice for creating that balance?
KS: I always like rooms and homes to feel evolved and collected. They should reflect our personalities and lifestyles. By blending in some antiques with the wonderful new Ballard pieces, I was able to achieve a more layered look and this more organic, evolved feel to the room. For example, the classic lines of the Louis Side Chairs around the game table help connect the past and the antique pieces to the newer pieces in the room.
BD: Was there a particular Ballard item that surprised you in some way or that you fell in love with?
KS: I love the updated and slightly dramatic look of the classic wing in the Thurston Chairs. The great lines and details — silver nailheads and a great blue linen fabric — give this classic wing chair a whole look and feel that is so “au courant.” I have to say, I turn to the classic Louis XVI dining chairs again and again. They’re just so pretty and comfortable! Here, I added a bit of French blue paint to the wood frame and upholstered them in Austell Oatmeal, one of my favorite Ballard fabrics.
BD: Lastly, what are the hallmarks of every summer home?
KS: Inviting, comfortable furniture in organic textures and tones and always forgiving fabrics. Summer is meant to be enjoyed carefree — so should the rooms we live in.
Thank you for the tour, Kate!
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