Perusing the papers on the weekend, I came across this advertorial for a building company, claiming to build in the ‘Hamptons Style’.
Hamptons, Brisbane style!?
The advertorial states that the interior design of the house (pictured above) has been ‘fashioned on New York’s famous Hamptons style’ and that ‘owners can take ‘Revenge’ on their neighbours with the new home design now on display’.
It lists design elements such as white walls, accent colours of beige and ink blue, butler’s pantries and inclusions of white timber furniture, diamond-buttoned bedheads, french-style armchairs and white plantation shutters.
The adjective ‘Hamptons’ seems to be bandied around these days to describe almost anything … even what I consider to be contemporary house and land packages! Why is this so? Why is there such a love affair with the word ‘Hamptons’? Why do people want to emulate the ‘Hamptons Style’ in their home design and decor? What is ‘Hamptons Style’?
What began as a group of unpretentious little fishing and farming villages along the south shore of Long Island, The Hamptons have now become synonymous with style, class, elegance … conjuring up impressions of leisure, affluence and grandeur.
Small scale architecture, originally built with utility in mind (and the harsh weather conditions and availability of materials), slowly evolved over time (depending on birthplace of those who commissioned the redevelopments!) ….
…. bringing a blend of American Colonial, Georgian, English Manor/Tudor and Mediterranean architectural elements to the table.
Further metamorphosis ensued as future generation’s needs, tastes and pretensions changed!
Servants quarters required here!
Wrt elevations, I personally consider ‘Hamptons style’ to encompass some of the early architectural elements of the founding dwellings … rustic shingles originally used to protect from the harsh coastal winds, salt and moisture, high pitched roofs to combat the winds … and then the English manor elements, shingled/thatched roofs and half timbering, that were embraced as the wealthy moved in and built their summer homes.
Elements of these early buildings later evolved into the unique architectural qualities that are so adored.
To me, a timeless style … that stops my heart.
When you think of ‘Hamptons Style’, what comes to mind?
I think of elements of traditional American design mixed in with rustic hints of early settler utilitarian elements … shingles, pitched roofs. I think of simple lines, gables, symmetry, rich textures, a mix of stone and timber. I see windows like above, that unify the design, that are well positioned and spaced, and hint at the hierarchy of rooms. You can read the floor plan by looking at the front elevation. The windows and doors on the lower level hint at the importance of the rooms … grand dining room to the right, formal living to the left, bedrooms of increasing importance with increasingly sized balconies upstairs.
I think of window reveals that add depth and texture to an elevation, that create light and shade ….
… and elevations that nestle into the landscape, that are in proportion in relation to neighbouring buildings, that are interesting but have relatively simple roof lines, well positioned windows, and eave returns … and that pay attention to detail in all the elevations and not just the front!
Hamptons Style inside? I think of light, lots of light, through French doors and transoms and windows with glazing bars. I think of wainscoting and coffered ceilings, thick skirtings and substantial cornices. I think of wooden and stone floors that hint at early settler days. I think of texture and natural fibres, linen and sheers, rattan and wicker and shells and driftwood! I think of white and neutral tones, light coloured furniture and soft furnishings with pops of soft colours… duck egg blue and soft greens … and even not so soft navy and charcoal.
I like how our Aussie ‘Hamptons Style’ is continually evolving. I can see it moving away from so many of the French accents we have embraced over the last few years to more of an emphasis of Chinoiserie and British Colonial/ East India design elements, introducing darker floors, darker pieces, more intricate wicker, more woven elements, rugs and baskets, indoor plants – palms and ferns, belljar lights and finer accessories of silver and pretty blue and white china.
It was interesting to note that, at the breakfast table discussion I participated in here in Southampton, the locals and even the visiting not so local Americans at my table, considered ‘Hamptons style’ to be completely different to how we see it here in Australia! They were quite bemused at my interpretation and description.
Hamptons style to them is this: Calvin Klein’s modern creation on the Southampton coastline! He tore down a $30 million ‘Hamptons Style’ (according to us Aussies) mansion to build this.
So perhaps it all depends on what your country of origin is, when it comes to describing what ‘Hamptons Style’ is?
What do you think?
To me, when I daydream of The Hamptons? …. I dream of the generic elements I ‘inhaled’ as I passed through the pretty towns … small cottages, large estates, village greens, ponds, windmills, flowers, fragrant coastal breezes … and shingles, gables, pitched roofs, crisscrossed windows and lots of flagpoles proudly waving the American flag!
Images are mine. I climbed through hedges and dodged guard dogs and security guards to get them.