New York City is one of the best places in the world to call home (in our humble opinions), but it’s also undeniably cramped. On the streets, in restaurants, and in your apartment, fighting for even a sliver of personal space is the status quo. So if there was one thing that designer Jessica Kamel’s clients—a Manhattan family with four kids—wanted in their Hamptons getaway, it was breathing room. That didn’t mean breaking ground for a massive mansion, though. “The idea was to curate an environment that reflected a simpler life outside of New York City,” Kamel, founder of interior design firm Ronen Lev, explains. “Our clients wanted a house just large enough to accommodate their extended family and friends in a comfortable, cozy way.”
“Relaxed luxury” was the name of the design game. In the entryway, Kamel warmed up a no-fuss Fern bench with a fluffy throw in a matching inky black shade. “I believe the objects we live with influence our energy, shape our emotions, and affect our general well-being, so I’m always editing,” she says.
Glass windows stacked 20 feet high make up the home’s peaceful central atrium, unadorned except for a petite sitting area and a majestic open-tread, cedar-and-steel staircase, designed by the project’s architect, Steve Schroeder, and builder, Mark Cardone of Newmark Custom Homes. From there, the space splits into the home’s two main living zones. “It’s all quite versatile—there are lots of breakout spaces for groups of one to four people to sit and play board games, quietly get some work done, or enjoy a drink with friends,” says Kamel. That includes the second-story front sitting deck, mahogany rear deck, and bluestone-clad patio. Rather than bring the outdoors inside or vice versa—why choose between the two?—the designer tethered the two worlds to each other wherever she could.
“We wanted to create a sense of casual, sophisticated softness, while also speaking the local vernacular. This informed everything from the floor to the roof—literally,” Kamel says. Natural materials from the Hamptons abound, especially cedar—think cedar shingles, cedar plank floors, and cedar-lined ceilings. (There’s the aforementioned mahogany and bluestone, too.) “We also paid a lot of attention to open spaces and framed views, and were very specific about selected vantage points,” she explains. Step out of the master bedroom onto the terrace, for example, and you’re met with a sweeping, uninterrupted view of the coastal landscape. Yes, please.
Fittingly, the interiors are awash in neutral tones with the exception of one color: blue. The hue is a favorite of her clients, and, of course, happens to reflect the shades of the sky and ocean. “The natural colors throughout were chosen to highlight the lush greenery outside—the effect is a calming, intimate space with an effortlessly modern style,” Kamel notes. We’re not in New York City anymore.
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