Wednesday 1 December 2010

Seaside Cottage in New York

An early 1880s seaside cottage in New York whose former owner was Gloria Vanderbilt was renovated by interior designer Robin Bell. In her words: "It's sort of Swedish-meets-Bloomsbury style, which is English, but in a bohemian Arts & Crafts way. I downplayed the grandness of the house by decorating in a cottagey way. Everything is asymmetrical and deeply comfortable. I didn't want the furniture to look too fussy, so nothing matches except a pair of chairs."

A poolside arbor hung with wisteria makes an outdoor dining room. The table's marble top was a marble yard castoff, and Bell designed its iron base. Bell designed the iron chandelier and hanging lanterns; both are inspired by streetlights she saw in Harbour Island, Bahamas.

The pool house's ceiling and border were inspired by a Moroccan tile mosaic. Artisans painted it on beadboard for a tentlike effect.

A sunburst mirror frame in the pool house has "a funny tentacled look that's almost aquatic," says Bell, who adapted the simulated bone and ivory mirror from one she spied in a shop.

Voluptuous 50-year-old wisteria vines drape a Victorian wire gazebo under which stand Victorian wire peacock chairs and a wire table.

The dining table was copied from an American antique at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was faux-grained by artist Lindsey Tipler.

All the upholstered furniture in the living room was designed by Bell and arranged in one large but intimate seating group.

Artist Lindsey Tipler also painted the faux-mahogany finish on the clients' wheelback chairs and the table in the foyer between the dining room and study.

In the living room, Bell used a mix of antiques and modern furniture, curvy and tailored shapes. She created a fire surround mosaic of seashells. On the blue table from John Rosselli, lamps and black candle holders are from Robin Bell Design.

Bell created a plush reading nook with a Moroccan flair on a window seat under the stairs.

An 18th-century American harvest table with original paint and 19th-century American shawl-back chairs in the classic white kitchen. Above the island is a wrought-iron pot rack designed by Bell, hung with the clients' pot collection bought on trips to France and Italy.

A second-floor landing has classic striped rag runners by Woodard Weave. Family photos are divided into two wall groupings: black and white on one wall, color on another.

When the clients returned from Paris with an album of Honoré Daumier prints depicting the stages of a marriage, Bell took it apart and covered a wall of a guest bedroom with the framed prints.

The sofa, armchair, and ottoman in the study are covered in antique toile.

In the wife's art studio, Bell added paneling consistent with late-19th-century Shingle Style architecture.

An amber hurricane from William Yeoward and seashell bowls from Robin Bell.

A covered porch has a mix of antique wicker; fabric is "lemonade- and sangria-proof," says Bell.

Bell moved the master bathroom's original cast-iron tub to the window for unobstructed sky and ocean views.

In the master bedroom, a sandalwood four-poster bed from Sri Lanka is topped with a lattice cutwork tester cover, Monique VV in cream by Old World Weaver.

All images and information from House Beautiful.

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  1. I could definitely live there. The arbor and the reading nook are my favorite parts of the house.

  2. Gorgeous!
    As usual, I love the inspired picture hanging... a very beautiful home.

  3. Interesting, kiddo, and my favorite is the stairwell area with all of the photos!! SO COOOOOL.

  4. Love the bath tub with a view and the pots and pans collection is amazing!


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