EyeSwoon

It is my eyes and all that I absorb that feed my creativity. At times I feel a bit schizophrenic because one day I can be swooning over dark, lush, and layered, and then I step inside a dreamy home that is clean, bright, and minimal, and suddenly I am 100% convinced that THIS is my new direction; I want to sell all of my velvet furnishings, get rid of rich wood elements, and start anew. This ping pong of design focus can happen on a daily basis — it is exhausting and motivating at once. I am a chameleon of sorts. I change in accordance to what is in front of me, not so dissimilar to how my cooking shifts seasonally based on whatever I find at the market. I suppose this is how design evolves for many of us. We all borrow from one another, right? We take bits and bobs of other people’s genius and filter it through our own microscope.

This is the way my wheels began turning when I laid my eyes upon the dreamy treehouse abode of Heather Cox of healthy recipe site Eat Real Food. We had gotten together to create a meal (and you can read all about it — and about Heather, here), but before diving in, I was so struck with serene beauty that I had a hard time focusing on the stunning food Heather had set out. Instead I was asking, “Where’d you get this?” and squealing, “Ooooohhhh, I just love that.”

“Who shot that photograph and tell me again where that wall hanging was from? Oh wait, how did you get the floors that color, and what was the wood again?” Seriously, I was like a little kid. I needed to know it all! I was devouring every detail. There was the controlled palette of white and black, with pops of color. Pale wood with marble. Creative storage. Sheepskin and other cozy touches. The overall feeling of the home is one of tranquility — and this was all achieved through thoughtful planning. The house was dark when Heather purchased it, but thanks to her own Australian design sensibility and that of her Australian architect Amee Allsop, plus a mix of other zen influences, it is now a true escape.

And when I walked in, oh, how I wished I would have gotten a glimpse of the home prior to her gorgeous transformation! The truth, which simply killed me, is that I did have the opportunity to do so. An acquaintance used to own Heather’s very house, and before she placed it on the market, knowing I loved design and real estate, this prior owner urged me to come see it as a design project. I never did, sadly. Ooooooohhhhhhhh the regret I had, after seeing this incredible home that is so very special, nestled up in the trees with light streaming in from every which way. Yes, I longed for a mental picture of the before and after, but besides that yearning, I also had some serious envy thinking that the home could have, just maybe, been mine.

Of course, envy, with all its warts, and even the schizophrenic feeling of wanting to change design course based on what’s in front of us, can both be facets of a far more beautiful feeling — utter inspiration. Mixed bag of (rather indulgent) emotion and all, this is the sense we hunger for and what pushes us to create. This is what I experienced when I saw Heather’s home and learned about the ins and out of her design process, from her vision to palette to material choices. So without further ado, press on and swoon it all for yourself.

Heather Cox

  • Q&A

    • How would you describe your home to someone who has never seen it?

      I like to think of it more of a feeling than anything. It’s a space that the minute you walk in, you are hit with a sense of peace and zen. Think Scandinavian meets Japanese meets Aussie design. Oh, and think white!

      Can you share a bit about your design process and how you approached the transformation?

      I knew the property was the one the minute we drove up the driveway and I also knew I couldn’t create the space without the help of Amee Allsop, an Australian architect living in Brooklyn that just happens to have the same aesthetic as me. We have worked on 3 projects together now and have disagreed maybe all of 2 times. Finding the right person to work and collaborate with is key. It makes the process so much easier.

      What was your vision for the space?

      See answer no.1! The house was really dark when we first bought it. It’s not a big house so without adding any extra square footage, I wanted to create a sense of expansion and openness through using a light palette, adding windows and knocking down walls. The house is set amongst the trees so we made sure you are able to see them though as many windows as possible, giving you that indoor-outdoor feel that us Aussies love. I wanted this house to reflect my way of living and who I am. Open, light and bright!

      I love the serenity of your home, the crisp white walls and the pale floors.  Tell me about those floors… #swoon

      I was in London at the Saatchi Gallery a few years back and I fell in love with their floors. So I took a million pictures, found out who made them, and then instead of shipping them in from Europe, we decided to replicate the look using a local wood.

      Can you talk a bit about the minimalism and controlled black and white color scheme? How did you retain such a cozy warmth to the space?

      The black fixtures were actually Amee’s idea and i’m so glad she suggested them as they add such a great dimension to the space. The white is something we both live and breathe. The warmth comes from adding things like fluffy rugs, art, woven baskets, etc. It’s always so nice to start with a clean slate and add things in.

      How have your Australian roots influenced your design sense?

      The indoor-outdoor thing is really important to me, which means lots and lots of windows! Our house in Australia was designed by the Australian architect Ian Moore, who was a key influencer in my love of minimalism and all white interiors.

      You are a beach gal through and through and live here for 5 months of the year. How would you describe this swoony area in Amagansett?

      I love Amagansett for its low-key, creative vibe. There are some really cool people in this town and it’s so different from anywhere else in the Hamptons. Coming out here isn’t about being flashy to me. It’s about connecting with the ocean, land and community, which Amma does so well.

      And the feeling living here evokes for you in 3 words?

      Happy. Calm. Inspired.

      The artist studio is a brilliant addition to the property, as are the plunge pool and fire pit. There are so many magical moments that you have cultivated in your home – it truly feels like a retreat. Was this your goal?

      Sadly I can’t take credit for the studio or the fire pit, as they were already existing when we bought the house. The plunge pool we did add, albeit kind of reluctantly, as I’m not really a pool person. I much prefer jumping in the ocean! Someone commented that the house was like “a playground for adults”, which I thought was kinda fun. And yes, I wanted the house to feel like a retreat. The city (and the Hamptons in the summer!) are so insane and it’s so nice to have a place where you can disconnect from it all.

      The kitchen is stunning and so well laid out – did you always cook a lot or did this home and the local farms inspire you to cook more?

      Thank you. A lot of thought went into the kitchen design as it is not a huge space, so everything had to work and flow well. Having a beautiful kitchen and being so close to the local farms is definitely inspiring, but so is feeling good. Which to me means cooking at home as much as possible.

      You have many great décor moments that offer a pop of color sprinkled throughout the home. Can you describe the process of creating these?

      It’s always so frustrating when you move into a new space, as you want the finished product straight away, but I’ve learnt it’s best not to rush these things. I think it took me about a year to collect everything and feel like the space was where I wanted it to be. I’m constantly collecting things like books or beautiful bowls, etc., though. It’s never-ending!

      Favorite places in the Hamptons to shop for home décor? And in NYC? 

      I actually posted my favorite Hamptons spots on my blog recently, and in NYC my go-to’s are ABC Home, DWR and Clic.

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