Hamptons Seaside Zen Project by Brad Krefman

The Hamptons have long been the summer destination of choice for many affluent residents of New York and beyond. Best known as a seaside retreat with rural historic charm, the Hamptons boast a plethora of beautiful homes and sprawling estates. We’ve all come to recognize the classic Hamptons interior as a nod towards traditional coastal themes with painted paneling, wainscoting and trim. However, for our Hamptons Seaside Zen project, we decidedly broke with that tradition.

 Our Clients, a growing family with five children, wanted a casual and relaxed retreat to offer respite from their busy life in New York City. They enlisted A-list architects, Backen Gilliam Architects, to design the beach front home whose work is best known for blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. This can be seen in the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors utilized in the homes Great Room. This amplified fenestration ushers the outdoors inside creating an immediate connection with the surrounding landscape. We took cues from the natural beachfront setting as we set to design the home’s interior.

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One distinctive characteristic of the interior design is the prolific use of reclaimed wood. Rather than treating the walls and ceiling with painted sheetrock we opted to clad all surfaces in reclaimed barn wood siding. The wood, reminiscent of driftwood found along the beach, exudes a warm tone and texture to help balance the expansiveness of the Great Room and provide a perfect background for our client’s furniture, art and artifacts.

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The Great Room furnishings were carefully selected to reflect a casual and elegant beach house vibe. Additionally, they were considered in conjunction with our client’s vast collection of Asian art and antiques. The goal was to create a tranquil setting that worked as well for lounging daytime or evening . We paired slip-covered upholstery with sculptural coffee tables that subtlety evoke the curves and shapes of surfboards. The decorative lighting adds bohemian flair and we gave centuries old Chinese textiles new life in the decorative pillows throughout the room.

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In the kitchen we continued the use of reclaimed wood on the walls, ceiling and even to conceal the range hood. We are often fans of open shelving in our interiors which we incorporated over the sink to display a collection of carefully selected crocks and cookware. The planked doors and drawer fronts were painted a soft blue-gray in keeping with the overall seaside style. We had fun incorporating two layers of decorative lighting - a pair of bigger bolder pendants to anchor the island and a series of smaller more delicate pendants to light the kitchen’s perimeter.

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The dining room design started with our clients existing Tansu storage chest and impressively large sumi-e ink painting. To compliment these impressive pieces, we added a stunning live-edge acacia wood dining table, and teak and rope chairs. The table, large enough for up to 14 guests, is perfect for hosting casual lunches and more formal dinners. We custom designed the copper filament pendants to emit a beautiful ambient glow during long summer nights.

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For the kid’s bedroom walls we opted to paint the reclaimed paneling white. The built-in beds draw inspiration from the classic ‘captains’ bed. Fabricated from distressed oak these beds are equipped with trundles for the ultimate slumber party. The graphic rug, cozy pillows, and sumptuous bedding ensure good summers night sleep. We were careful to keep the bedroom style neutral and therefore easily adaptable to the changing tastes of growing children. Like in kitchen, we had fun within the decorative lighting that adds whimsy and accentuates the unusual angles in the architecture.

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The pool house and porch both are both contain unique architectural features.

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Here we installed a series of bi-fold doors over an extending counter to echo the sense of a beachfront lemonade stand that’s only open during the season.

At the porch we suspended a queen-size daybed - the perfect place for a nap, a book or just a quiet moment to soak up the summer sun. We may be heading into Fall but relish in the long days and cool nights of Summer.


Chicago Lux by Brad Krefman

Spring is in full force, and what better way to melt the winter away than with a space filled with warm woods, rich fabrics, and golden detail? When a Chicago pair decided to update their historic condo, they dreamed of a dwelling that felt classic, yet modern; warm, yet clean. We curated a space derived from detail with an elevated sophistication that speaks to their love of both modern and classic styles.


The Kitchen: BEFORE

The original kitchen’s outdated and yellowing color pallet - as well as the millwork and finishes vocabulary - were reminiscent of a classic suburban Tuscan-style kitchen. While the space should have felt expansive based on its square footage, the dust-collecting cabinet trim and bulky pendant light created a complicated and cluttered feeling. There were no visual queues that referenced the condo’s historic Art Deco heritage.


The Kitchen: AFTER

The clients’ wanted a completely renovated kitchen that was illuminating, modern and functional; yet reflected the building’s Art Deco roots of the early 1920’s. We crafted our design around the clean white cabinets, refreshed ceiling, and brightly polished porcelain floors – all intended to maximize and reflect as much light as possible. The rich, black granite creates a dramatic contrast while the kinetic movement of its veins adds mesmerizing interest. We decided to add warmth to the already luminous space by incorporating walnut at the island and range wall. We further distinguished the island as a piece of furniture, detailing it with a beautiful tambour fascia, a reversed beveled edge at the counter top, and outfitting it with a functional and stylish brass foot rail. To balance the space, we introduced bold and geometric Bauhaus art pieces that reinforce the nod to old world glam.


The Living Room: BEFORE

Similar to the problems found in the kitchen, the clients’ existing living room furniture and finishes were a vestige of their former life in suburban Chicago. These fluffy, over-sized elements no longer fit their new lives as an urban, streamlined duo. Our goal was to elevate the sophistication of the space by introducing a variety of luxurious textiles and finishes while eliminating the extraneous elements that visually clouded the area.


The Living Room: AFTER

To reinforce the classic Art Deco spirit, we introduced an elegant fan motif in the area rug as well as slightly metallic, golden tonal textures in the upholstery. The layered grass cloth wall coverings add a richness to the room while the over-sized art adds a compelling contemporary twist. The clients’ wanted the area behind the sofa to act as a home office, so we introduced a sleek, sculptural lamp which reinforces the functionality of the desk space. The geometric facets of the black desk drawers evoke the graphic Bauhaus art used in the kitchen.


Mill Valley - Sunny Scandinavian by Brad Krefman

A well-traveled textile and jewelry designer approached us to help renovate her cherished home tucked away in the hills of Mill Valley, California. We designed a bright, functional, and open space with a focus on premium materials and subtle details to set the stage for her family’s worldly collection of pottery, textiles, and art.


The Kitchen: BEFORE

One thing not lacking in the original kitchen: cabinets. Lots of them. The cabinets created a heavy, cluttered, fortress feel in an otherwise substantially-sized kitchen. The floorplan was circuitous and far from the ‘open concept’ kitchen that the owner so desperately wanted. The space was very divided from the rest of the home, and the client wanted an area that would bring everyone together. However, there was one gem that couldn’t be overlooked, but rather enhanced… the skylight.


The Kitchen: AFTER

We fully remodeled the kitchen from the ground up, utilizing sleek, bright cabinetry and various wood tones to keep the space grounded and warm. We enlarged the existing skylight so that its proportions mirrored the size of the new island, and we added raw-edge rafters that speak to the reclaimed  flooring material. By installing a unique green quartzite counter and open-shelving back splash, we were able to reflect the coloring of the lush, green surroundings of Mill Valley while retaining a clean, simple aesthetic. We intentionally opted for recessed finger pulls instead of traditional hardware to keep the look modern without being too cold. To reinforce the handmade and craftsman feel that the client wanted to retain, we installed walnut tambour on the island and above the open-shelving. Danish furniture, Miele appliances and Scandinavian accessories elevate the sophisticated character of this kitchen.


The Master Bathroom: BEFORE

The master bathroom is located on the first floor of the home and access to natural light is unfortunately somewhat limited. Much like the challenges we faced in the kitchen, the master bathroom felt heavy, closed in, and very out of date. The color of the year may be “Living Coral,” however these soft pink tiles were literally lifeless.


The Master Bathroom: AFTER

Our goal was to visually open the space and create a tranquil getaway filled with light and thoughtful furnishings that reflect the homeowner’s passion for craft and detail. The soaking tub takes center stage which we paired with concrete counters at the vanities and textured tiles in the shower.  This exploration of materiality yields a bespoke and handmade aesthetic, much like the owner’s artistry.


The Updated Living Area

One of the best parts of collaborating with a fellow designer is that they usually already own some incredible pieces - like the chrome-based coffee table and the architectural lamp. We worked with her to source additional elements such as the chandelier, bookcase, rug, and other styling items to bring a clean and cohesive feel to her inspiring, eclectic vibe.