July 5, 2016

Jack Pearson's Charm-Filled Carriage House in Long Island's East End

A new carriage house and an English country garden add old-world charm to a Hamptons cottage.

by Jill Sieracki interior designer Bjørnen Design photographer Costas Picadas architecture James M. McChesney


"I was always enamored by the movie Howards End, so I was thinking that I should have a 1920s cottage with a rambling garden," says Jack Pearson, a former fashion industry exec who found a second career in real estate when he moved to Long Island's East End.

Jack Pearson in the carriage house

When Pearson acquired the property the rooms were small and the gardens were overrun. But over time he transformed the landscape into an exquisite English garden, added several outbuildings, and expanded the tiny kitchen into the original attached garage. His plan was to create an antique-looking two-car garage with real carriage doors, "but at the same time I didn't really need a garage," he says, "so I thought I would make it a living space as well."

Pearson recruited Southampton-based architect James M. McChesney and friend/interior designer John Bjørnen to build a new garage/indoor-outdoor entertaining space. Bluestone flooring with radiant heat makes the carriage house usable year round. Furniture in Pearson's favorite shades of navy and gray give the room sophistication, but whimsical artwork and punches of red add levity. Says Bjørnen, "The perfect blue-and-white Hamptons cottage would have been very chic, but the idea was to feel like a departure. It says come in, grab a glass of rosé, put your feet up."

Traditional carriage doors give the structure old-world charm, and an upstairs area became a guest suite. An avid bridge player, Pearson often entertains in the space, even hosting an Easter party for 40. Pearson insisted the space also include a bar. "I love spatial challenges," says Bjørnen, "We squeezed a bar into a space [like a shoebox]. It proves that small spaces can have more impact than bigger ones."

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