Hamptons Cottages & Gardens "Meet the Designer" Aug 15, ’05
page 128 by Orli Ben-Dor
What do you love about the Hamptons?
After coming here for 15 years, I love how relatively easy it is here compared to New York City, where I was born and raised. Everything seems a little simpler, and people have a little more trust in each other.
Do you have a favorite place or source of information here?
The beach and the dunes in all seasons. Watching and listening to the beautiful birds.
Where did you study and how long have you been in practice?
Parsons School of Design in New York City and in Paris. I've been practicing for over 20 years.
Describe your Hamptons home:
An updated, simple beach house designed by me and my best friend, architect Steve Chrowstowski, using modern and traditional materials. It has a thick, hand-split shingle roof, mahogany windows, antique stone and wood floors, and doors made from reclaimed wood siding. Most of the walls are covered in various kinds of tongue-and-groove boarding. The kitchen island has a huge free-form, walnut Nakashima top.
What's your favorite element of a project?
Definitely installations. Our firm does total installations. The clients are asked to leave for a day or two and the look on their faces when they come in after waiting months in anticipation-and sometimes apprehension-is priceless and so rewarding.
Describe your clients.
Most are repeat customers, which makes the process smoother.
What's your design philosophy?
Not to philosophize and never say "never".
Who has had a profound impact on your work?
My late partner Tom Fox. He not only had a profound impact on my-our-work, but on almost every aspect of my life. He was an American treasure.
Which item of furniture in your house would you never sell?
I am not attached to anything, but I would never sell anything given to me by my spouse, Jeff Fields.
What's your greatest extravagance?
A fancy, unaffordable car.
Being lucky and daring enough to buy beachfront property in East Hampton 9 years ago. Thank the real estate gods.
Have you designed any products?
I have designed many upholstered pieces for my clients as well as tables and cabinets. I would love to design more.
What would you do if you weren't a designer?
I'd work on wall street.