When I first saw Athena Calderone's design project / home in this month’s Elle Decor, I caught my breath, because it was daring, unique and so incredibly comfortable. It had just that perfect mix that I so appreciate in an interior space.
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I just love it when a project portrays a keen sense of unique style and personality, yet also manages to maintain a strong relation to its surrounding environment, and Athena's home does just that. There's absolutely nothing cookie cutter about this property, as it's equally as unique as its owners.
It's so wonderfully spare
Back in the day, when I first stepped foot into my design career, I was surrounded by a bunch of male architects, so I can truly relate to, and appreciate, the spareness and architectural masculinity I think this home exudes.
Today's stunning example of great design that I'm going to Analyze & Admire satisfies my visual hunger for the types of projects I was so frequently exposed to during the early part of my career. Not only am I attracted to it for the architectural treatment the house received, but also for the mature and purposeful edit of all superfluous furnishings by the designer and homeowner: Athena Calderone. This is one where I wanted to see more.
Analyzed & Admired: The Design of Athena Calderone
After visiting Athena's
website and blog, I saw that this talented designer had a strong sense of style, a confident hand, and a thoughtful, artistic eye. There’s so much to appreciate here.
With its mid-century modern bones, this beach house in The Hamptons provides a clean, uncluttered backdrop for the unique finds and rustic pieces Athena has collected.
(Above) The view through the back windows beckons you outdoors, because nothing inside visually holds you back. The seamless indoor/outdoor experience is what is so captivating here, and everything inside seems to support that vision.
The architect, Paul Masi, of Bates Masi Architecture, designed the unique ceiling treatment of ropes, strung by Amagansett fishermen. It adds such a rich texture to the room and serves to soften the hard rectangular shapes found throughout the rest of the house. More importantly, though, it links the structure to its locale, subtly, thoughtfully, unobtrusively. You just KNOW that the type of ropes used by fishermen were chosen because the ocean is just a few steps away.
I love that the fireplace remained intact in the renovation. Although the plan was to clad it with stone, Athena ultimately decided to have it finished with a tar-like stain, later washed over with dark cement.
Not only does the fireplace pay homage to the home’s era, but it doesn’t become a visual stopping point for your eye. It’s the perfect treatment to help capture that seamless transition to the outdoors.
The furnishings are few in this house. it’s not filled to the brim with seating, tables, and art all over the walls. Although there’s plenty of space for more.
Instead, this is a conscious, purposeful, edited composition of pieces that have meaning. It serves to build the effortless, comfortable vibe this home reflects.
A mid-century modern chair or two, the rustic stack of logs, a comfy sofa, an interesting antique piece, a coffee table you’re not afraid to put your feet up on...
They all collectively speak one language: “Sit back, enjoy yourself, relax.”
The Dining Room
The image to the right is the one I fell in love with when I first saw this project.
Low-backed, simple wood chairs placed around a gorgeous, chunky wood table that reflects the shape of the pool. Athena designed this table from reclaimed wood beams.
...This is so hard to do. Resist the urge to add more, to add color, to add pattern, to add things.
The reason this space is so successful is because it has less.
With lavastone counters and reclaimed pine on the island, this rustic, spare, yet modern style translates very well in the kitchen.
There’s no worrying about damaging surfaces around here. Just relax and enjoy yourself...
The Master Bedroom
The master bedroom has a unique mix. I love the simple wall-to-wall drapery panels, as they look like an extension of the walls, but softer.
Everything here is a backdrop for Athena’s unique finds. Nothing looks “decorated.” It's all personal, meaningful pieces.
The Master Bath
The master bath provides just enough feminine, curvy luxury:
That gorgeous, sculptural tub.
It’s the perfect complement to all the rustic, rectangular, simplicity.
The line between interior and exterior has been expertly blurred here, making for a comfortable, easy-to-live-in, personal home, respectful of its environment. And who wouldn’t want that at the beach?
Blurring the lines
Join me back here tomorrow for some Q and A with Athena Calderone about this project and her unique style.