A Modern Escape in Bridgehampton
A 7,000-square-foot new construction home brims with contemporary flair.
When a pair of longtime summer renters on the East End finally decided to build their own place in the Hamptons in 2020, they turned for design help to decorator Michelle Gerson. The couple had admired Gerson’s work for friends and “were drawn to her aesthetic,” the wife recounts. “Plus, she doesn’t work in only one style.”
When Gerson came to the project, the house consisted of just a vacant lot in Bridgehampton and a set of architect’s plans. “From the start, my clients were very involved, and I worked on the house with them from soup to nuts,” says Gerson, adding that they had asked for “a clean aesthetic, something comfortable for easy living with friends and family.” (The couple entertain often and also have two college-aged kids.) Eventually, the vacant lot evolved into a relaxed 7,000-square-foot modern getaway with seven bedrooms for lots of overnight guests.
“Our goal was to create something streamlined and modern, but with personality,” Gerson says of the design process, “and also incorporate a lot of color, which was exciting.” It didn’t hurt that the husband owns a contracting company specializing in interior corporate construction. “He appreciates good design, and it was so nice not to have to explain everything, like the beauty of a finish or a certain material.”
As a couple, the designer says, her clients are “in sync in their taste,” but each had specific demands. The husband loved the wire-brushed European white oak flooring that Gerson proposed, but he didn’t want to see any knots in the wood. “We went through every single board, one by one, to avoid knots,” she reports. And the wife wanted an all-white kitchen, which posed a bit of a challenge to Gerson. (“I’m not the biggest fan of all-white kitchens because I’ve seen so many of them.”) To twirl up the standard-issue sea of white, she used Calacatta gold marble for the countertops and backsplashes and applied shiplap vertically to the custom cabinetry’s doors and drawers.
“Ground-up builds are hard,” Gerson reflects. “You don’t get to pick out furniture or any of the fun stuff until you’ve spec’d the windows, chosen the plumbing fixtures, and ordered your tiles and appliances. We spent a lot of time with the builder selecting everything that goes into making a home.”
The house’s first “wow” moment is the main staircase, a sculptural assemblage of white oak and glass. Because Gerson likes to avoid large expanses of drywall, she applied custom paneling made of large wooden squares separated by minimal reveals. “It turned into a very big math equation,” the designer recalls, “because the walls on both sides of the stairs are not even, and there are openings, so not all the squares are the same size.” Also statement-making, the formal dining room is as much an art installation as a gathering place. Gerson commissioned decorative finisher Heather Jozak to paint the matte stucco walls a blue ombre. And seeming to glow from behind the hulking custom dining table, a glass-walled wine cellar mimics the look of a control room—albeit one for oenophiles.
For the serene, neutral primary bedroom, Gerson designed a “big fat bubble” of a bed and went for subtle materials and “a lot of texture, which gives a quiet palette a certain richness.” The home’s biggest jaw-dropper is arguably the adjacent primary bath, also serene but entirely clad in 22 book-matched slabs of breathtaking lilac marble. “It wasn’t easy to install,” Gerson recounts, “but it was so worth it!”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Modern Majesty.