Color Fills This Imaginative Sagaponack Home

At this Hamptons residence, kids and community trump fussy and formal all year long.

Adjacent to the kids’ rooms is a combined playroom and guest room that includes a wall of double berths trimmed in Benjamin Moore’s Buckland Blue. Each of the cubicles is self-contained with its own lighting and electronics ports. The throws are from Anthropologie and the scattered ceiling lights are from RBW. Photography by Chris Coe

When Susana Simonpietri first saw the traditional Sagaponack house featured here, she decided it would be “an easy one to fix”—although easy, of course, is a relative term. Located on a 1.6-acre lot about a two-minute stroll from the Atlantic, the 7,000-square-foot six-bedroom home, built in 2003, “lacked imagination,” with a layout that was strictly by the age-old numbers. Simonpietri, principal of the Brooklyn-based design firm Chango & Co., decreed that the fussiness of the house had to go, and although it was a decent place for entertaining, it also needed to function for her clients, a young family with three kids. Because Simonpietri has two small children of her own, she knew exactly what to do.


Built in 2003, the house got a new roof and fresh cedar shakes during the renovation. The poolside lounges and umbrellas are from Design Within Reach. Photography by Chris Coe

A native of Puerto Rico, Simonpietri was born to an art history professor mother and lawyer father. As a young woman, she studied literature and languages before switching gears and earning a master’s degree in interior design from the Pratt Institute. Her first job out of college was working for fellow Puerto Rican decorator Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, an adventurous creator who sits at the top of his profession.


A pair of whimsical tennis-court prints by Theresa Losa punctuate the otherwise neutral pool house. The sectional is from RH, the coffee table from West Elm, and the jute rug from Wayfair. Photography by Chris Coe

Simonpietri’s earliest commission was a restaurant in Greenwich Village, but she followed her instinct and chose to focus on residential design instead. Since going out on her own and launching her business in 2009, she has completed dozens of private homes around the U.S. in a variety of styles and now has a staff of 25. She can easily walk to work from her family home in Brooklyn, which she acknowledges is a white-on-white refuge, but she is emphatically not allergic to color, especially in kids’ rooms. And with this project, she adds, “I’ve never met anyone who is as family oriented as my clients are.”

It took a year and a half to execute what evolved into a total renovation, indoors and out. “The configuration of the upstairs rooms stayed pretty much intact,” the designer recounts, “but downstairs we stripped out everything, enlarged the kitchen, redid the windows, gutted bathrooms, and added a theater and playroom. We even replaced the roof and all the exterior shingles.” Her clients, she emphasizes, “are not people who have big dinner parties, so we turned the existing dining room into a guest suite. Then we tore a bedroom off the kitchen to make the kitchen into a bigger family gathering space.” In an area of the country where houses never seem to have too many bedrooms, she comments, “It’s almost an act of rebellion to insist that your home conform to your lifestyle instead of an old set of expectations.”

Girls Bedroom

In the younger daughter’s room, a canopy bed from Room & Board can be enclosed with sheer draperies found on Etsy. The dreamy wallpaper is by Bradley and the tufted rug is by Pampa. Photography by Chris Coe

Simonpietri took design cues for the kids’ rooms from the kids themselves. The older daughter wanted a pink room and bunkbeds. The younger daughter fancied a canopy bed and draperies, along with wallpaper that would be appropriate for as long as she loved it. The little boy, only two years old, had to accept the room he was given, so blue it is.

Homework Room

In the children’s crafts and homework room, a work by Hayley Sheldon hangs above a fireplace lined in handmade Moroccan tiles from Clé. Matching chairs from Blu Dot sit at custom oak desks. Photography by Chris Coe

A former playroom above the garage now serves as a combined playroom and guest room that features a wall of bunks which easily accommodate multiple visitors, adults or children, and also provide a lot of options for a youngster in search of a place to nap or read a book. Nearby, an odd “leftover room with a fireplace” was transformed into a crafts and homework room for the siblings, with desks flanking a simplified fireplace and a cheerful new surround lined with deep blue Moroccan tile.


The son’s room includes a graphic wallpaper by Rebecca Atwood and a bed and bench from West Elm. Photography by Chris Coe

“I still learn a lot from every project I do,” Simonpietri says, “and on this one I learned that family can be so important that it’s worth it to rework an entire house and dedicate it to enjoying your children as much as you possibly can while they’re young. I have a lot of respect for that idea.”

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Family Affair.