Traditional shingle-style estates are a hallmark of the East End landscape. There is a timeless elegance to the architecture—but this is not to say the design couldn’t be improved upon. To champion the task, interior designer Ghislaine Viñas teamed up with architectural design firm Arcologica to create a new classic home with a decidedly modern edge.
The renovation of this 7,500-square-foot Montauk beach home was a familiar project for Viñas. She has worked with homeowner Paige West, a friend and nationally recognized art collector, on 11 design projects including the initial design of this home a decade ago. When West first purchased the property, the décor concept was simple: get the space in tip-top shape prior to the summer season. The entire design process took five months to complete, but when water damage threatened the basement years later, West knew it was time for a complete overhaul. This iteration would take more than two years to perfect. And no detail would be spared this time around.
“Paige loves that house, she calls it her ‘happy place,’ she wanted to do it right this time,” said Viñas, whose eponymously named design firm is based in Manhattan. “The starting point of the project was very much about an approach to the house. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of smiles when we were creating it.” The project was dubbed “Floritauk” for its stylistic marriage of quintessential 1960s Florida (stemming from the client’s deep family ties to the region) and laidback Montauk beach house character. “We pushed the idea of 1960s Florida with tongue-in-cheek wallpaper that matched the throws and curtains. It’s over-the-top with a lot of trim and wicker mixed in with a beach vibe.”
In the world of interior design, Viñas’ projects are synonymous with eye-popping color. But the Netherlands-born designer is quick to point out that white, minimalist framing sets the stage for her sophisticated uses of vibrant hues. “I love color and I love using color in my designs. But I have always needed a clean, stark white canvas. Beautiful white walls and clean architecture are always my go-to. We relied on Arcologica to give it that classic look, but pushed them to go bolder and less fussy.”
The look of the classic Hamptons exterior was continued inside, but with a more modern flare that West desired. “Instead of doing a five-inch baseboard we went up to six-and-a-half inches. We enlarged the paneling on the interior stairwell to make everything clean and simple.”
Each room of the home has a distinct attitude and inspiration—all topped with Viñas’ signature bold graphics and colors balanced with minimal yet traditional architectural detailing and clean lines. The kitchen and living areas on the top floor flow together with an oceanic blue and turquoise scheme that ties in playful décor and prints.
The kitchen is a swath of white with a sweep of color in the banquette that was coved in a GV Designs custom-made vinyl-laminated lobster print—an ode to the homeowner’s favorite Hamptons dish. “I didn’t want a classic island, I wanted your eye to go in one direction in the kitchen, and I put all the color in one spot,” Viñas explained. “I love taking all your energy and all your color and putting it in a small, specific area in the room. If that kitchen were to be fully white we’d have to do a lot with texture to keep it interesting. This creates a push and pull to where the eye goes and how it sees the next room.” The blue hues are continued in the predominately white dining room with touches of turquoise in the rug. And the all-white buffet has a surprise of blue when the drawers open. The scheme is picked up in the living room, which is treated in darker navy and indigo blues with pops of turquoise complementing the water views.
There is a color story throughout the entire house. The lower floor’s citrus theme is based on a photo West provided of lemons, limes and oranges in a basket. “I think of these different rooms as chapters in a book. It’s one big story. It’s an involved process of creating these experiences from room to room. You can walk through these rooms and see that thought was put into the design, but we also wanted to create a fun atmosphere. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. It’s meant to delight.”
The trick is knowing when to stop. The pineapple wallpaper in one of the guest bedrooms could have become too cutesy if not for linear details. The broad, striped headboard countered the playful wallpaper with a simple graphic pattern. The bedding was purposefully kept white and a bright green egg chair rounded out the space with another pop of color.
Because of a revolving door of guests, the 11-bedroom home sometimes feels more like a boutique hotel—a concept not lost on the homeowner. For fun, West employed Viñas’ graphic designer husband, Jaime Viñas, to do a playful branding of the entire Floritauk house. The endeavor began with a logo on towels and now includes souvenir baseball caps, tumblers and custom designed minibar coolers in each room, giving guests the complete effect of a beach resort stay.