This designer’s Hamptons home was a complete labor of love
When interior designer Damon Liss set out to build his own Hamptons home from the ground up two years ago, the pressure was high. “It’s going to be scrutinized at a very intense level by our clients and friends, so I’m agonizing over everything,” he remembers thinking at the time. Although the endeavor was exhausting, it was also a labor of love that now holds some of his most prized possessions, the furniture pieces he and his wife have collected over the past two decades. This gave him the opportunity to work closely with valued friends and collaborators, such as lighting designer Lindsey Adelman and landscape architect Michael Derrig.
It all started when a property came up for sale near the comfortable home in East Hampton where he and his family had vacationed for many years. The lot was less than a quarter of an acre in size, and the existing structure had to be demolished, but the street lined with golden sycamores was hard to resist.
“We embarked on a journey to find the style of house we wanted, and decided on a cottage version,” says Les, who lives between an apartment in Manhattan, near his eponymous studio, and a new home in the Hamptons. “Although we don’t typically do external architecture, we have these capabilities and have drawn the plans in-house.” Les and his team envisioned a traditional coastal property with a pitched roof and timber siding, then updated it with clean right angles and an open layout on the ground floor. He added: “The street begged for this style, as there are many beautiful huts on it.”
The interiors of the 1,850-square-foot, four-bedroom residence have a cool, casual vibe that occasionally belies the meticulous attention to detail, seen in the hand-cut butterfly joints of the oak floors, and the finely hammered texture of the masonry. In bookshelves, or a custom wood and grass frame around a mirrored TV. With few exceptions, every piece of furniture is antique, rare and meaningful: in the main living area, there is a round coffee table of beechwood and brushed metal by Italian rationalist architect Ignazio Gardella from 1941; the famous K10-10 Paavo Tynell floor lamp, manufactured in Finland in the 1950s; and a low armchair by Paolo Bova, made in the 1940s and likely one-of-a-kind, with a rattan seat and a carved wooden back.
“We are active collectors,” Lees says. “All of these pieces are unique and from all over the world.” One of the couple’s favorite finds is the dining table, made in Brazil in the mid-1800s by Austrian designer Martin Eisler. With its sienna wood frame and glass top supported by linen cane, it is a truly statement piece. Although these pieces are diverse in source and material, they all coexist in perfect harmony within the space, thanks to Liss’s curatorial eye and the color palette of dusty pinks and muted purples, used in the fabrics and accents.
This calm and youthful color scheme extends to the covered terrace in the garden, where the couple and their two teenage daughters have al fresco meals almost year-round (there are fireplaces mounted in the ceiling). In the end, Les didn’t have to worry too much about the audit. “A lot of people have come up and thanked us for creating such a wonderful addition to the community,” he says. “We (designers) are our own harshest critics.”