August 2, 2015

Joe D'Urso Helps Artist Judith Hudson Reimagine her Beachfront Home

When multi-talented artist Judith Hudson coaxed Joe D'Urso into working with her to create a beachfront place, with Form Architecture + Interiors, they let nature take center stage.

by Judith Nasatir interior designer Joe D'Urso photographer Costas Picadas architecture Form Architecture + Interiors


For artists perhaps more than others, landscape speaks. Certainly, that's true for Judith Hudson, whose work in diverse media is celebrated for its witty humanism. Hudson purchased this three-acre, Hamptons beachfront property because it reminded her of the Cape Cod landscape of her childhood. "My response to it was very primal. I had to have a house here," she recalls. Long an admirer of minimalist master Joe D'Urso and his ability to "make a contemporary house look alive," she decided to give him a call. Though D'Urso considered her a wonderful artist and a friend, he initially said no to the two-year commitment that the creation of a house generally requires. She persisted. When he later agreed, he also suggested that she bring in Brent Leonard and Sean Webb of Form Architecture + Interiors as architectural collaborators.

D'Urso described the project as a team effort, with his role as the aesthetic arbiter or leader. "We were all very closely involved with Judy," he added, to make the house do as she wished—that is, "take a back seat to nature." It does, in spectacular fashion, thanks to Form's architecture of restraint and sensitivity. In an upside down orientation, four bedrooms occupy the ground level. The rather sparely furnished living, dining, kitchen and den areas flow together in a glassed-in upper level, filigreed by a wraparound balcony, that appears to float into the water beyond.

"Judy had come from a large house in East Hampton that was the complete opposite to this—very bohemian, full of things and textiles," D'Urso explains. "She had most of the furniture already, so we knew how her pieces would lay out in the space as we designed it. She wanted the house to be spare, almost puritanical in a way—just the bare essentials, because it is all about the light and the views."

As simple as the environment is, the furnishings are characterful—and artful, too. Hudson had the living room sofa made for the space. The Arne Jacobsen pieces, wicker Jean Royère chair, and the Wolfgang Hoffman chairs surrounding the Noguchi table she got at auction. In the den, a coffee table by Hudson's daughter, Genevieve Hudson-Price, takes pride of place. A Gaetano Pesce console adds art and eccentricity to the dining area, where chairs by Philippe Starck pull up to a table with Ingo Maurer's Campari fixtures overhead.

When the gaze turns away from nature, it meets art everywhere, from a portfolio of Twomblys on the den walls to the dining room's gallery of works by Joyce Pensato, Julian Schnabel, Anish Kapoor, herself and her children. "I am pulled by the landscape," says Hudson, and "I like to live with art." Here, both call.