Shelter Island, New York
2,400 sq. ft.
Years lived in:
Andrew's Shelter Island home has just weathered two storms - first, Hurricane Irene, and second, the constant motion of three children under the age of four. Yet between the casually simple style and the sweeping water views, the home feels tranquil, "part beach shack, part Scandinavian cottage."
The space - with its deep slouchy couches and soft throws - is well-loved and lived in, uncluttered and unfussy. Inspired by the original 1970s pine walls, Andrew lightened the wood with a gentle grey wash kept the colors natural, with beachy blues and greens. The house is filled with the house with the signature woods, clean lines and subtle textures of his two home-furnishing lines, Canvas
The family spends most of their time on the porch around the rustic table, shaded by bamboo cut from a neighbour's yard. Waves and reeds stretch across the horizon without another house in sight. It's the perfect place to enjoy a late-summer lunch - crusty bread, sausage and figs - and watch boats weave among the islands in Peconic Bay.
My style is a moving feast and very much depends on the surroundings and what we use the space for. In this case we inherited a 70's bungalow ranch with a finished basement. We loved the simplicity and really decided to go with it.
When we moved in, it was full of bright red stains and lots of varnish - somewhere between a dated Swiss ski chalet and an old school boat. We lightened everything and now it's part beach shack, part Scandinavian cottage and we love to play up the language of the simple wood. Most of the building was made out of rough sawn US Northern Pine - which is a great wood and a had a lovely starting colour. We then gave a gentle grey wash. On the floors, we simply removed the varnish and left it unfinished. We would only do this at the beach but it allows the wood to gain a lovely patina in pretty short order.
The recurring themes in my style are keeping it simple - both in terms of our finishes and colours used (maybe could be accused of boring colour palette). We also try to keep it somewhat uncluttered (now we have three kids - easier said than done). I also suspect that doesn't come across in the photos as we'd been away until just before and we hadn't cleared up from the hurricane five days before!!
The view - we're incredibly lucky with our view. We look down Peconic Bay. You see three layers of islands and mini peninsulas as you look into the bay. They all appear in the distance with wide open water in the near ground. So you also get lots of boat traffic - which beats the tele any day! We're also lucky as once you're in the house you can't see another building or human being anywhere. For quite a populated part of the world, this is a real luxury.
Finding enough space to accommodate the kids and then any visitors. Since the kids came, we've really started to feel a little sardined in. It's fun and cozy but we hope to get round to adding on a little extension one of these days.
What Friends Say:
Everyone's always very nice about the house and we love entertaining. It's so much easier to get into cooking and more fun things when you're away from the city. Plus we have excellent clams at the end of the garden... And about the only thing I find time for these days is growing herbs, so I feel very proud when I'm cooking home harvested clams with homegrown herbs!
I made our downstairs bathroom our of concrete. Instead of having stone cut and buying sinks, I learned how to make forms and then mix and poor concrete from a friend. It took a few tries to get the colour right but it was a lot of fun.
On a simpler level, I made a structure out of bamboo on our deck to give shade over the dining table. It turns out a friend used to make bamboo huts in Indonesia and he gave me a lashing tutorial over the phone. Another friend had running bamboo taking over his property so I chopped some down and made our basic shade structure.
Over spend on your basics and then you can shop the less expensive resources for accents and more fun stuff. Make sure your house faces the right way. Light (and view if you can get one) are the most important things. Don't be afraid to try - if you think it looks good it probably does...
Biggest green element was not knocking down a 70's ranch and starting again! When we renovate we're planning solar power, maintain our solar positioning to minimize heat gain and loss and using all the amazing new products for insulation.
DIY and yard sales are great sources and also a great fun. Also I'm spoilt as part of my job is making wares for the home. Many of our pieces of furniture at Canvas have been made specifically for places in our house - for example we have a "Shelter Bench" and "Shelter Cubbies" on the Canvas line and you might guess where they were made for. Also, I believe in product testing pretty much everything we make - it's amazing how much you learn that way.
Other great resources that I love include: Ruby Beets
in Sag Harbor; H Groome
in Southampton; Jonathan Adler
; Erkika Tanov
for some really original accessories; the odd thing from Anthropology
; Beale & Bell in Greenport for vintage; then I often end up buying samples from friends/fellow makers at fairs.
Appliances: Fischer Paykel
fridge; Kenwood dishwasher; Bosch washing machine and dryer.
Mainly Canvas ceramics, glass, linens; some Daniel Smith
ceramics (one of the most skilled potters I know anywhere who works out of the east end of London - his pieces will be antiques in 100 years); Chrisiane Perochon
ceramics (amazing colourist); Barbara Eigen
ceramics (one of the US's best potters and a genius with glazes).
Mainly Ochre and Canvas; Nguchi shades and Indian silk globes in the kids rooms.
Rugs and Carpets:
Canvas that we sourced in Morocco.
Tiles and Stone:
DIY concrete, lime stone in the main bathroom.
Curtains and blinds made by a local maker Carolina using linen that Canvas has woven in Kerela India. Carolina lives in Southampton and is really good at what she does and is very reasonably priced.
De La Espada and Canvas.
Wide collection that we've both accumulated over the years. One person in particular who we love and have lots of is a friend called Leora Armstrong.
Paint: Farrow & Ball
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(Images: Liz Vidyarthi)