Winter McDermott


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light of Long Island’s East End is the basic building block of this contemporary vacation home, whose vaulted rooms and abundant windows were falling far short of their potential before Sag Harbor-based Winter McDermott came to the rescue. “Hard to believe, but the house used to be dark, with very over-scaled furniture,” recalls Maureen Winter McDermott, the firm’s founder and principal designer, who undertook a partial renovation and all-new furnishings program for a young family in need of a respite from their hectic New York City lives. Now, the house, surrounded by native woodlands, exudes a serene radiance, thanks to the masterful manipulation of that light and a staunch commitment to an almost pure white palette. The first step was “getting things down to a blank slate,” as the designer puts it, which included refinishing the existing wood floors for a pale underlayment, replacing busy fireplace mantels with simple custom plaster ones, enlarging the primary bedroom and redoing two baths.




light fixtures and boldly shaped furnishings, many from Italy and Scandinavia, contribute to a look that is anything but cookie-cutter. Anchoring the living room’s mood of casual sophistication is a sensuous, 1970s Gianfranco Frattini Sessan sofa, a striking and singularly dark focal point in a surrounding sea of whites. Utrecht chairs from Cassina stand out for their uniquely angled armrests; the unusual carved ash coffee table is by the French-Brazilian designer Nikolai Lafuge.





room’s French doors, arched fanlight and high beamed ceiling simply invite the daylight in. A playful parasol-shaped pendant light dances over a custom table of whitewashed maple. Seating includes a Pierre Jeanneret piece and dining chairs with woven linen seats that echo the iconic form of Hans J. Wegner’s CH23 Dining Chair.





un-boring mix in a windowed corner includes an egg-shaped hanging wicker chair, a walnut and brass custom console table and a Brutus accent chair of concrete and fiber from Studio Nordhaven that is as much art as furniture.





McDermott removed walls to incorporate space from a little-used home office into the primary bedroom. The result: a commodious area for TV watching, kitted out with furnishings in pale neutrals and a natural jute rug that keep the look light.




woven wallcovering in the new primary bath is unexpectedly juxtaposed with the formality of a marble sink.




story continues in the bedrooms, with thickly tufted white wool rugs and a Bloomsbury daybed covered in a nubby bouclé.





skylight shower, shadows play upon the natural irregularities of white-painted brick. “We really wanted to create a feeling of serenity and calm,” the designer says. With the help of glorious daylight and the indispensable color white, they did just that.



Design: Winter McDermott

Photography: Glen Allsop



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