March 6, 2015

Fawn Galli Designs an East End Farmhouse in the Hamptons

Fawn Galli, a New York-based interiors specialist, turns a classic East End farmhouse in the Hamptons into a playful, lighthearted home for a family to enjoy.

by Alexander Polabov interior designer Fawn Galli Interiors photographer Costas Picadas


Houses are like people: sometimes their exteriors reflect their interiors, and sometimes they don't. And when they don't, that's when things get interesting. Take, for example, this handsome farmhouse, somber and straight-laced on the outside, lighthearted, casual, and whimsical on the inside, for which the nod goes to Fawn Galli, New York-based interiors specialist.

The clients asked Galli, who had created the family's Manhattan home, to accompany them on their vacation home-hunting trek. "The Hamptons, for all its gilded gloss, can actually feel very suburban," says Galli, "So when we came upon this wreck of a farmhouse, which happened to border on acres of pasture land, the family jumped on it." That the neighboring property came with its own small herd of picture perfect (camera ready) horses was a no-expense bonus.

"I always look for surprises, twists on what's traditionally expected," chuckles Galli. With this objective in mind she had ready and active conspirators in the owners of the house. Parents with a blended family of children aged 2-19, their only submission to tradition was to the practicalities of comfort and childproofing. To accommodate both these goals the house is devoid of anything antique or precious. Fabrics are sturdy cottons and linens; the color palette of cool blues is light and playful; and the furniture leans towards the indestructible.

Indeed, a gigantic resin boulder anchors the twin living room sofas and the breakfast table has the classic Eero Saarinen steel base, which is resistant to any amount of toddler wear and tear. The table is circled not by the expected Saarinen-designed-to-match Tulip chairs, but by 1950s-ish wood flea market finds, painted the owners' favorite turquoise color, which look like they would be at home in a playroom. Saarinen might have raised an eyebrow at the juxtaposition, but then again, a noted humanist, he might have just smiled. In another bit of playfulness, the stair treads are covered in different pieces of salvaged Indian cotton carpeting.

Only in the serious, gloss purple dining room-designed, says Galli, to create a sense of "occasion"-does the house take a left turn from its overall lightness. But then the handcrafted, offbeat, brass-and-topaz chandelier brings it back home.

"I like things that don't go together, but work together" says Galli of this easygoing and sophisticated smorgasbord of a home and family.