Summoned by her client to appraise a quintessentially prosaic 1950s saltbox in South Hampton – a domicile deemed barren by the prior designer who prescribed an appendage to instill vitality – Ms. Cohen embarked on a diametrically divergent course. With a counterintuitive approach, she engaged in a renovation that eschewed expansion, instead employing exacting architectural gestures that orchestrated an ensemble of finely-tuned moments, thereby endowing the space with an aura of affability and refinement.
Architectonic maneuvers were audacious in conception yet exhibited restraint in execution – notably the commandeering of the garage, metamorphosing it into an ultramodern solarium-cum-den enriched by a powder room and a laundry enclave. Strategic manipulation of the roof on one side of the domicile reimagined the precincts into an exhilarating master suite, effectively rescuing the north-facing expanse from languishing as a redundant attic. This inner sanctum, where slumber converges with opulent bathing, mirrors the minimalist elegance of a Hamptons shoreline. A mere expansion of 4ft x4ft, adding 16 square feet at the entrance served as a vital space for a genuine vestibule. These refinements coalesce to engender an outcome that is both meticulously crafted and eloquently articulated, in stark contrast to the prevailing “bigger is better” ethos pervasive in the Hamptons.
The floor plan’s functionality and the concomitant finishes exude a palpable finesse. The Jack and Jill bathroom, a product of the American post-war housing surge, was outfitted with walnut Duravit vanities and neutral accents. In the primary bath, awash with sunlight due to its expansive skylight and clearstory windwos, one might be forgiven for mistaking it for a conceptual art installation, a consequence of its marble countertop resplendent in ethereal, striated hues.
To this, Ms. Cohen adorns the interiors with wallpapers akin to a museum curator selecting exhibits, most notably the iconic Knoll pattern that punctuates the dining/media space.
Throughout the dwelling, every chamber is meticulously sculpted, unified by a palette of aqueous blues in variegated saturations. Handpicked fabrics culled from the annals of modernist textiles abound – Maharam’s Quatrefoil pattern in varying shades of blue and the perennial Knoll classic Sway pattern in tranquil sea hues. If there is a “beach” motif in the house, it is found in a symphony of blues against a white canvas, transitions from a wispy cotton candy sky in the girl’s chamber to an immersive David Sutherland Park Bark wallpaper in the powder room. This intellectual exploration into the authentic hues of the seaside subverts the hackneyed nautical trope that often envelops coastal dwellings. Artfully placed throughout the dwelling, bursts of chromatic exuberance arrest one’s peripheral gaze, a painterly bestowment upon the client.
Cohen’s design skills bloom in the choreography of seating enclaves – intimate arenas that beckon discourse. Each conversation curated, every tête-à-tête ensconced in plush rugs and elegant side tables. Inhabitants of Ms. Cohen’s realm are immersed in profound conversations, for hers is a universe that thrives on intellectual engagement.