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Before & After: Hamptons Home

I'm baaaack. After a much needed week off from blogging, I'm back and feeling much more inspired -- and much more rested. Many thanks for all your sweet comments and e-mails. I can assure you that I'm doing well and there's absolutely nothing to worry about. The past month or so has just been incredibly busy at work and that busyness translated into far less time (and inclination) for blogging.

But let's get down to business, shall we? I thought I'd kick off the week with some great before and after shots of a remodeled Hamptons vacation home that featured in this month's Traditional Home. During the month of August, a privileged few New Yorkers get the luxury of spending weekends vacationing at the Hamptons...and I'll admit that despite having never been to the Hamptons, I can't help but be a little jealous. Not only would I love to be able to escape the (very hot) concrete jungle that is Houston in August generally, but the Hamptons specifically seems like an ideal place to escape to. In my mind at least, the Hamptons seems to capture the best of the northeast with its quaint shingled cottages and villages and its more subtle, more sophisticated (and yet still beachy) sensibility.

And I think that sensibility is beautifully captured in this recent remodel, which was done by Connecticut-based architect Stuart Disston of Austin Patterson Disston Architects and NY-based designer Ken Gemes. I think in many ways the greatest improvements were done to the exterior of the home, where its rather dark and dated 1980s exterior was updated to a brighter, more timeless cottage aesthetic.

The dark, lodge-like mood of the original house extended to the interior, with its floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and dark beams. The removal of these heavy elements lends an airiness to the space that enhances the room's height. Crisp white paneling adds a touch of sophistication and formality that the original space lacked.

Another view of the living room. I love a simple sisal rug for more casual spaces. The choice of warm yellows and tans is less expected than blue and white and lends a warmth to the room that cooler tones would not provide.

I think the before & after for the foyer is perhaps the most striking of any of the renovations inside the house. The addition of a round table not only highlights the newly expanded size, but also adds a graciousness that the original foyer simply lacked. Note too how much of an impact the flaring of the stairs at the base brings to the room; that one simple change upgrades them from private to public status. The addition of more crisp white paneling adds interest without bringing in additional color.

Of course the kitchen underwent a major overhaul as well. The addition of a boxed beamed ceiling adds additional architectural interest and the awkward dead space between the cabinetry and the ceiling has been eliminated. The green backsplash and orange Roman shade add soft splashes of color in the otherwise neutral space.

The den (formerly the garage) is perhaps my favorite room, with its more relaxed, slightly more contemporary vibe. I love the fabric Gemes selected for the drapery, the grasscloth wallpaper, and the soft, inviting upholstery. That sofa is exactly where I'd be curled up reading when the weather wasn't cooperating and I couldn't be outside.

I think that the dining room is most evocative of the British colonial vibe that the homeowner was striving for with its dark wood, caned-back chairs, sisal rug and tropical-themed art.

Of course I'm charmed by the soft, watery palette of the guest bedroom. The dreaminess is further enhanced with a lovely window seat (which should be a "must" in any vacation home's bedroom). Sure, the colors and prints might be overtly theme-y, but I think you can get away with that in a guest room -- particularly one in a vacation home. After all, when you get to wake up in the Hamptons, don't you want to be reminded of where you are?

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