Anthony Baratta Aims For Happy Rooms

As the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, a waterfront property becomes the ideal place to enjoy the ensuing months. And though the spectacular outdoor environs are often the focus of most activities, the interiors that frame this stellar setting is where the homeowner’s personality can shine.

Celebrated interior designer Anthony Baratta, owner of the eponymous decorating shop in Westhampton Beach, is renowned for his work on coastal homes. He favors an all-American motif that he elevates to a different level, relying on an bold colors, patterns and textures, while incorporating the unexpected, be it a vintage road sign or a canoe hanging from the beams.

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What’s your connection with the nautical theme that runs through your design palette?
I always had an affinity for nautical. As a little kid, I remember seeing an anchor as a room accessory and saying, “that’s it.” Even my line of furnishings with Thomasville has a nod to modern nautical. It’s the perfect example of how to weave in touches without going over the top. It can be something as simple as adding a nautical compass to a tabletop, rope trim or black iron touches. I can take any room and find a place for an anchor detail, a ship’s wheel or a sailboat. I have never had a client turn one down yet.

How can folk art, quilts and needlepoint have a place in a high-design house?
In many of these homes there are massive wall spaces that are just crying out for decoration, art, embellishment. Using tapestry or quilts hung properly instantly lights up the space. They capture your eye like no flat two-dimensional piece of art ever could. You can’t help but think about the craftspeople who created these stunning masterpieces. And often these pieces are what I design an entire room around. We take our color cues from quilts all the time.

Happy Room

image: william waldron

What are ways you infuse a whimsical touch?
Sometimes I will pick a totally unexpected accessory for a room and place it just to see the client’s reaction. It has to make sense of course, but I see no reason not to hang a canoe from a ceiling. I also like to play with pattern on pattern. I’ve used several different plaids, checks and stripes with a standing stag wallpaper in a fabulous rustic lodge project.

Tell us about your love of braided rugs—how do they fit “modern” décor?
I think they are stylish, sophisticated and very chic when designed and used correctly. The color combinations and pattern possibilities are endless. I am thrilled to say I am launching a collection of Anthony Baratta rugs with the great all-American rug company Capel in the fall. We have updated the classic braid with patterns and color combinations that will blow away the rug industry. And I can guarantee that they are not stodgy.

You’re noted for designing “happy” rooms.  What does that mean?
A room that makes you smile when you enter it. I never went in for those guys who do gray, moody and serious. Who wants to live like that? I decorate for people who know how to enjoy life. Happy colors, either bright and electric or soft and soothing, set the tone. Ideally, there is saturated sunlight whenever possible, bright skies and bright light. Keep the ceilings high, the color fresh and lighting turned up and let’s have a party.