How a Designer Rescued This Home From Bad 1980s Design

Hadley Keller
·3-min read
Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

When a young, creative family tapped Revamp Interior Design founder Danielle
Fennoy to update their new weekend home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, there was a catch: “The before pictures were whoa,” laughs Fennoy. “Red walls, heavy paneling, thick drapes.” The 1980s contemporary build featured a double-height living room and huge windows, but its decor, left over from the previous owners, didn’t reflect the architecture—or the cheerful attitude of its new inhabitants. Plus, the homeowners had made some big-ticket purchases, like a modular sofa, before bringing Fennoy into the picture. “The question became, ‘How do we pull this all together?’ ” the designer recalls.

First, by subtraction. Fennoy began by peeling back the heavy layers to reveal the home’s clean lines. “You’ll notice all the walls are white,” she says. “That way, we could really go more crazy with the art and the patterns and colors of the furniture.” The clients had told Fennoy from the start that they loved color: “They were like, ‘Pink is a neutral!’ ” So she wove the color through the home’s continuous open floor plan as a warm undertone rather than a splashy pop: in blush tile on the backsplash, in rugs and upholstery, and even in the art (the owners already had a delightfully playful collection that Fennoy just rehung).

The neutral backdrop also enabled the leafy window views to take center stage: “We asked the clients from the get-go, ‘Do you want curtains?’ And they agreed they really wanted to let the outside in,” Fennoy says. “In that way, the green of the trees outside becomes another neutral.” The living room, flooded with natural light and funky artwork, is now an apt location for that modular sofa, which the clients reassemble based on their lounging needs and number of guests.

The view outside is always changing with the seasons—but that aligns just fine with Fennoy’s vision for the home. “I think the beauty of playing with color and pattern is that striving for perfection is not the way to go,” she muses. “Try to allow for the little miracles.”

Dining Room

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

Leather seats on the Moroso Mathilda chairs unify the varied back colors. Table: Wüd Furniture. Chandelier: Rich Brilliant Willing.

Kitchen

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

An abstract pattern (which Fennoy custom designed) brightens the backsplash. Tile: Nemo Tile + Stone. Countertop: Caesarstone. Pendants: Bestlite. Stove: Thermador. Stools: clients’ own.

Living Room

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

“We didn’t want to detract too much from the girl,” says designer Danielle Fennoy of her decision to keep the airy main room in this contemporary home minimal so the extra-large Yael Shachar photograph would shine. Rug: Eskayel. Modular sofa: Piero Lissoni. Swivel chair: Ligne Roset. Photo (right): Dina Goldstein. Record table: clients’ own. Chandelier: RH.

Guest Room

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

“They were really open to fun, wacky, not-too-serious design,” says Fennoy, as exemplified by what she calls the “Muppet” rug here, a vintage find from ABC Carpet & Home. Chair: Moroso. Nightstand: Kartell. Lamp: Pottery Barn. Headboard: ABC CArpet & Home. Bedding: Brooklinen.

Backyard

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

Fennoy worked with Morell Landscape Associates to devise a simple, modern pool area that complements the house’s contemporary silhouette. Chairs: Dedon. Table: Kettal.

Cocktail Bar

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

This once “awkward corner” provided the perfect space for the home’s sole use of wallpaper, Felidae in Flint by Eskayel, which lends a painterly backdrop to a built-in bar. The slash of lime green on the countertop subtly reflects the greenery outside. Chair: Ligne Roset. Rug and cabinetry: custom. Art: Lorraine Pritchard.

Breakfast Nook

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

“This space just takes my breath away,” says Fennoy of the light-filled eating area, where she added sculptural yet comfortable furniture. Table: Moooi. Chairs: Ligne Roset. Rug: Pure Rugs. Windows: Andersen.

Entry

Photo credit: David A. Land
Photo credit: David A. Land

A work from Suzy Kellems Dominik’s “Bear Attack” series suggests a hint of surrealism above the playful Confetti credenza by Moving Mountains. Vases: Consort.

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