March 8, 2015

Sherrill Canet and Architect Brian Shore Build and Outfit a House

For a Hong Kong-based family's home away from home on Long Island's Gold Coast, interior designer Sherrill Canet creates a loft-like, art-filled sanctuary

by Nicole Haddad interior designer Sherrill Canet Interiors photographer Mentis Studio architecture Brian Shore Architect


When a young family with a primary residence in Hong Kong decided to apply its global aesthetic to a second home on Long Island's North Shore, all it took was a phone call. On the other end? Sherrill Canet-an interior designer known for elegant yet fresh twists on traditional style. The directive? Build and outfit a house that fit in with the more traditional, early 20th-century architecture of Old Brookville-part of the estate-dotted area known as The Gold Coast and immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, and, more recently, in Baz Luhrmann's film-while retaining a contemporary edge.

Canet's first point of business was to bring architect Brian Shore into the equation. "We approached the exterior as a modern cottage," says Shore. "If you drive by, it would read as a traditional home. But it is very warm-sort of a hybrid." The 6,000-square-foot interior is more open and flowing, reflecting an almost purist sensibility and ensuring that the clients' extensive collection of artwork takes front and center stage.

At one-and-a-half stories high, the entrance foyer is serenely beautiful. It spans the width of the structure from south to north and houses a Zen-like marble sculpture leading out to the tree-filled back end of the property. At the foyer's midpoint, a six-foot-wide hallway intersects the space. The hallway runs the length of the house right through its middle, allowing for an open floor plan that situates all the bedrooms to the right of the foyer and all the living spaces to the left. "The house has a spacious, very free feeling," says Canet. "It makes you want to do cartwheels down the hallway."

To accommodate the clients' desire to be able to congregate with friends and entertain conveniently, the kitchen opens into the living and dining rooms, where cathedral ceilings enhance the airy vibe. Right across the hall sits the library, a space Canet paneled in limed oak and filled with textures and soft fabrics. Her objective here? To create a feeling of intimacy on par with the warm glow emanating from the cleverly placed lights sitting atop the collar beams.

"If you look at all the furnishings, everything has the same vocabulary, quite paired down and interesting," says Canet. "Any color you see is really random. It is there to add definition and dimension without overtaking the artwork or the architecture."

North Shore or not, this is one case where less really is more. The question is: would Gatsby agree? With an interior this superbly luxe, how could he not?