Author: Photographs by Rick Lew

To keep things simple , the designer settled on a Scandinavian-style palette of beige, white, and gray.

On the 50th floor of One57, decorator Jennifer Post lets her minimalist spirit soar.

Tucked into the dunes in Water Mill, a no-frills cottage gets a stylish, sensitive update.

“The objective was to open up everything that faces the park—I wanted to make it very pure, with bursts of color,” says Post.

Morning runs have a way of clearing the head and exposing people to new possibilities, which is precisely what happened when Luke Babcock took off on an early a.m. jog one day in 2010. The couple—she an interior designer, he a finance professional—had moved to the Hamptons from New York City in 2003 and had been living in a traditional house nearby. But they were eager to find a more expansive home for themselves and their daughters. They also wanted to create a home they could really call their own—built from the ground up.

Morning runs have a way of clearing the head and exposing people to new possibilities, which is precisely what happened when Luke Babcock took off on an early a.m. jog one day in 2010. The couple—she an interior designer, he a finance professional—had moved to the Hamptons from New York City in 2003 and had been living in a traditional house nearby. But they were eager to find a more expansive home for themselves and their daughters. They also wanted to create a home they could really call their own—built from the ground up.

The frenzied pace of development in New York City’s hottest borough has made untouched Brooklyn brownstones scarce. An up-and-coming decorator and her adventurous clients rev up a late-19th-century Brooklyn brownstone. In 2010, Benjamin and Jennifer Whitfield, émigrés from Manhattan, found just such a house in Carroll Gardens.

The frenzied pace of development in New York City’s hottest borough has made untouched Brooklyn brownstones scarce. An up-and-coming decorator and her adventurous clients rev up a late-19th-century Brooklyn brownstone. In 2010, Benjamin and Jennifer Whitfield, émigrés from Manhattan, found just such a house in Carroll Gardens.

Go with your gut: It’s an instinct that’s been said to lead to the right decision, and in the right direction, more often than not. When Amy and Mitchell Kaneff found themselves in need of a designer for their Park Avenue apartment, they did just that: Mitchell had met Tori Golub through mutual friends and thought of her immediately. The designer’s sensibility, not to mention demeanor, struck him as one that would fall in sync with theirs.

In the late 1980s, when Cheim & Read gallery co-founder John Cheim bought his Amagansett retreat, it was a diminutive barn-red 1960 kit house on a half-acre lot, dominated by a prodigious weeping willow. He did away with the driveway (“I didn’t want to see cars in my yard,” he says), enclosed the property with plantings for privacy, painted the house white, and then hid the structure in a lovely tangle of wisteria and trumpet vines.

Bucks calls it a “spiffing-up,” rather than a renovation. “We didn’t move a single wall,” she says, nor did they need to raise the peaked ceilings in the combined entryway/living room or the two en suite bedrooms. As many families do, the Buckses spend most of their time in the large kitchen/dining area and the inviting brick patio and swimming pool just outside, both of which were in place when they bought the house.

David Howell had been living in a Union Square loft with his wife, interior designer Steffani Aarons, and their twin daughters and wanted to overcome the somewhat ironic limitations of so much vast, open space. So what’s an architect to do? Find the perfect location, then build a condo to suit his needs.

True to her modern Mexican sensibility, Larah Moravek’s client wanted her home to be casual and chic, not too uptight or tailored. And she loves blue. “We began with a broader color palette,” says the designer, “but in the process of refining the furniture arrangements, we began to narrow it down to a range of blues and neutrals.” Although the living and dining rooms both have off-white walls, the fabrics occupy a narrow, cool band of the spectrum; the foyer, the library, and the master bedroom are all different shades of blue, which finds its way into the boy’s room as well.

Decorator Larah Moravek comes up with the perfect palette for the Sherry-Netherland pied-á-terre of her Mexican art collector client.

Inspired by woods, water, and nature’s little creatures, designer Pol Theis builds a dream house in Sag Harbor.

Elegantly simple yet sophisticated, a Noyack Bay compound by architect Roget Ferris is built for 21st-centuary living.

An early Richard Meier design gets two tasteful expansions from Stamberg Aferiat + Associates.