Watermill, NY

Hamptons Waterfront Home

We began designing this waterfront weekend house in Water Mill, Long Island, overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and Mecox Bay, over twenty years ago – and we venture to say it has stood the test of time. In fact, like any good house, the design we forged in the early 1990s has demanded change and evolution; but there is a certain consistency of style and predilection–both the client’s and ours–for art, furniture and artifacts, European and American, of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For a Shingle Style house on a grand scale–9000 square feet–our penchant for spareness was challenged by the obvious need for a sense of fullness in the rooms.

East Hampton architect Francis Fleetwood, who built the house for Hirsch, had endowed it with aspects derived from late-19th century sources: porches, facades, fireplaces, shingles and wood paneling. Yet finally the house evinces a late twentieth century simplicity, a subtle drive towards modernity. In furnishing the house, we endeavored to strike a balance between old-fashioned comfort and warmth and modern legibility.

Fleetwood’s design is notable for its many windows–and window seats–giving the house an extraordinary lightness. Therefore we were able to place rather deeply colored, rich furniture in it–Shaker and Mission pieces; Arts and Crafts era antiques; fin de siecle Austrian elements. The result is a house that is welcoming to its many summer guests, yet cozily suited to romantic winter weekends a deux.

A long carved-wood trestle bench beckons to guests in this tableaux replete with Chinese Chippendale tables.

A towering double-height entry, paneled in white painted mortice-and-tenon squares, echoes the great houses of Lutyens, with an elegant sweeping staircase.

"I first worked with Glenn Gissler over 25 years ago when I was building a new oceanfront home in Watermill, New York that I still enjoy today. We recently did some refreshing of the main floor, but the countless decisions we made decades ago stood the test of time."

– Client

Stunning Arts & Crafts chairs from Newel Art Galleries with splats formed like arrows and spades, a mysterious, moody seascape painting and abundant low lighting–designed by us–create an atmosphere in this dining room that seems of another time and place.

A glimpse of the dining room from the living room reveals an Arts and Crafts-style chandelier of five shaded lamps. The tall velvet sofa, with deep fringe at the bottom, is accompanied by an early 20th century table and lamp.

The capacious and embracing English-style sofa is covered in wool from Coraggio; the tapestried Louis XIII chair is from Reymer-Jourdan. The low table is Dutch Colonial, from Rene Antiques. A richly figured indigo and orange carpet from Safavieh enhances the complexity and color of the room.

An electrified oil lamp hangs over a rugged trestle table surrounded by English chairs from Newel Art Galleries.

A delightful corner of the library evokes the cafes of Vienna and Berlin. Dutch Colonial Indonesian chairs, 1920s, in a late Arts and Crafts style, accompany an Austrian walnut table of 1910. French iron wall sconces are from Reymer-Jourdan Antiques.

The porch, its floor faced in pale grey stone which echoes the blue-greys of the ocean in the distance, is a space for the pleasures both of entertainment and solitude.