Tour a Glamorous Water Mill Getaway Decorated by Gregory Shano
Every new homeowner dreams of starting fresh—something Megan LaMothe fully intended to do when she and her fiancé purchased a 9,000-square-foot cedar-shingled house in Water Mill. With eight bedrooms, double-height ceilings, and an acre of land, the possibilities seemed endless. But the plot thickened once LaMothe and her now-husband decided to host dozens of guests at their Hamptons retreat following their wedding at the Bridge golf club.
Pressed for time, the couple rushed to RH in East Hampton. “We furnished the entire house in six hours,” recalls LaMothe, founder and CEO of the women’s athletic apparel company Foray Golf. “It was a very slapdash job.” And when their guests left, suddenly “it felt very utilitarian, and not like a home.”
Enter interior designer Gregory Shano, whose partner, Michael Giannelli, once worked with LaMothe. “We needed Greg to clean up our mess!” enthuses LaMothe, who enlisted Shano to add warmth and character—without ditching the newly acquired furniture. “My job is to assess what I have to work with and ask myself, How can I make this better?” says Shano, who cut his teeth working for designer Steven Gambrel before going out on his own in 2013. “The challenge is finding what I can add or tweak to make a space feel fresh and different.”
In some instances, that meant reupholstering subdued pieces in order to give them a bit more pizzazz. In the dining room, chairs are re-covered in a vibrant teal faux leather and a multicolored striped cotton, while in the library, a graphic, Missoni-esque blue and gray window treatment and a diamond- patterned area rug punch up a pair of navy blue tufted velvet RH sofas.
Ironically, the home’s generous size proved to be its biggest shortcoming. To instill a sense of intimacy, Shano installed grasscloth wall coverings that add “a coziness and movement that you can’t achieve with paint. They immediately draw the eye to texture, not how high the ceilings are or how expansive the rooms feel.” Fortunately for Shano, whose tailored approach to decor harks back to an earlier career in fashion, the home features ample paneled walls, chair rails, and coffered ceilings—all the better to play with. He customized the latter with lacquer, silver-leaf, and grasscloth, “showcasing what was there, as opposed to leaving it just plain white.”
Upstairs, Shano departed from the first floor’s predominantly blue color scheme and opted for a darker palette. In the master bedroom, varying shades of charcoal appear in everything from the walls and draperies to the bed frame and chandelier. “Since there is a lot of color downstairs and so much light comes through the large windows, Megan wanted the room to feel like a cocoon,” says Shano. “I’ve never had a client who requested a dark bedroom, and that was exciting for me. People usually want something light and serene.”
Throughout the home, Shano deftly walked the line between crafting an elegant and refined environment that’s still eminently livable. “There is a natural formality to this house, and I didn’t want to make it so casual that the decor fought with the architecture,” he says. “But it still needed to work with Megan’s lifestyle.” Accordingly, indoor/outdoor fabrics are amply employed in high-traffic spaces, handily accommodating frequent summer guests and LaMothe’s toddler daughter. “I’ve had multiple cups of coffee spilled on our living room sofa,” LaMothe says with a laugh. “People freak out, but I tell them not to worry. I want our house used. Going into this project, I don’t think I realized what a difference it would make to have our house truly feel like a home. It finally feels like us.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 2018 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Sleeping Beauty.