Archive for September 2018

An Understated Beach House That Artfully Breaks Convention in the Hamptons

September 28th, 2018

“The challenge was to not make it look like we did too much—we wanted it to look like we didn’t do anything,” says designer and artist Jack Ceglic. He’s speaking of his recently completed two-year restoration of a 19th-century shingled house near the ocean in Sagaponack, New York, one of the quieter—albeit most sought-after—Hamptons hamlets. Though a gem of a project, Ceglic and his partner in life and in business, architect Manuel Fernandez-Casteleiro, carefully considered its scope before taking it on. And they were immediately struck by the property’s subtlety amidst its overblown-mansion neighbors. “That’s why we took the job, because there’s a certain simplicity and humility to the house,” comments Fernandez-Casteleiro, “and inside we made something extremely luxurious and beautiful.”

The home’s owner, composer and conductor Jonathan Sheffer, a friend of the couple who had secured Ceglic’s help on two prior projects—his East Hampton house, where he lived for two decades, and a townhouse on West 10th Street in Greenwich Village—knew they were the perfect match. Looking back, he says, “by respecting the house and its history and vintage, they really poured themselves into the style of the house as opposed to imposing any sort of rigor on it.” Indeed, a visitor to the home is, by design, not meant to perceive that an arduous “sculpting” process was involved in the renovation, which comprised removing a number of additions created in the 20th century so that all that remained was the 2,000-square-foot, original footprint (and one add-on built in the 1920s).

“The house had a very unusual appeal to me—I can’t really describe it, it just grabbed me,” says homeowner Jonathan Sheffer of his beach-adjacent Sagaponack, New York, home, originally constructed in the 1880s. “It still has tranquillity for a country road,” notes architect Manuel Fernandez-Casteleiro. The landscape designer, Edwina von Gal, had all of the plants removed and put back after the renovation. The lighting designer, Davis Mackiernan, installed very delicate downlights above the porch and in each of the dormer windows, “so the house glows in the evening,” says designer Jack Ceglic.

Sheffer had two initial requests of the design team, both of which had to be delicately turned down: Move the home back from the road, and paint it white. “We insisted that he keep it as a street house because it’s so unique in the Hamptons,” says Ceglic, a co-founder of high-end grocer Dean & Deluca, while sitting in a sunny parlor room at the apartment he shares with Fernandez-Casteleiro on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Sheffer, the father of twin toddler daughters, and whose credits include the score for 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, now calls his request to move the structure “crazy,” thanks in large part to the “Japanese-screen purview of people jogging, walking dogs, bicycling, just in front.” When it came to the home’s palette, “Jonathan wanted to paint the wainscoting, and we said absolutely not—it was the only house in the Hamptons we’d ever seen that hadn’t been painted,” adds Ceglic. The fir panels lining the interior walls, with their nautical aura and slightly green cast, were meticulously removed and numbered during the renovation, so they could be reinstalled in place after the core was totally rebuilt. Soundproofing, central air, and delicate lighting, courtesy of designer Davis Mackiernan, were among the “invisible” additions.

Fernandez-Casteleiro poetically likens the way the home now opens up to a sea shell—a conversation between spaces that begins in the mud room and seamlessly expands, through the first floor, where original dividing walls were removed to create long 60-foot views, and out into the various outdoor spaces. “When you leave the house, there’s a big vista of the pool, then a big vista of the vegetable garden, then a big vista back to the house,” he says, “It’s like a DNA helix, or a nautilus, expanding with each new space.” The 1.2-acre property, which feels much larger thanks in part to neighboring protected fields, includes a toolshed turned studio, a pool house, a gym, and a barn-cum-guest house. A dramatic cement wall was poured, after much hemming and hawing on the part of all involved parties, to create a tucked-away secret garden protected from bracing ocean breezes, allowing otherwise delicate local flora to flourish within. The lush grounds throughout were conceived by famed landscape designer Edwina von Gal in concert with Ceglic and Fernandez-Casteleiro. Strictly averse to the use of chemicals, Von Gal brought in chickens and even a pair of goats, the latter of which ultimately had to be dispatched after becoming “too festive,” recounts Fernandez-Casteleiro with a laugh.

In the end, Ceglic is emphatic about the fact that, for this project and any other he works on, the focus is solely on the inhabitants and realizing for them what they perhaps couldn’t communicate for themselves. “It’s not a decorating story,” he says, smiling. “It’s a lifestyle story—about this man and his home.

At one end of the banquette, an intimate dining nook, next to the kitchen, was installed. Here, one truly gets a sense of the original wood paneling’s green patina. The space features Andries and Hiroko van Onck’s Lem 1985 height-adjustable table by Magis, Berber carpeting, a Lily Chair by Arne Jacobson, a brass stool by Harvey Probber, and a French bistro chair. The paintings, from top, are by Adriana Farmiga and David Storey.
The design duo had to convince Sheffer of a galley layout for the 42-foot-long kitchen, which Ceglic says is by far the most efficient plan. “Somehow, we have noticed that everyone wants to congregate in the center of the house—away from the [wall of] windows,” notes Fernandez-Casteleiro. “We don’t know exactly why, but it’s a beautiful thing—it’s become a new heart of the house.” Sheffer uses the granite sink, at left, to wash homegrown eggs and vegetables, as well as to arrange flowers brought in from the garden.
In a corner of the dining and living area is one of the home’s few noticeable updates, a suspended fireplace from Sag Harbor Fireplace. “There is a place to take naps, there is a place to read, there is a place to swim, exercise,” comments Fernandez-Casteleiro while looking at the room. “It’s a very friendly house.” The area also features Piero Lissoni’s Extra Wall Ottoman by Living Divani and Clarence House fabrics.
The entire house was soundproofed during the renovation. “You could have a party upstairs and not hear anything,” says Fernandez-Casteleiro with a laugh, pointing to the master bedroom, pictured here. The warren of upstairs rooms was cleared to make way for one central landing room, which, protected and cozy, is now the preferred playroom of Sheffer’s daughters. The bed is custom, the armchair is Gio Ponti’s Dezza, and the painting is Rob by Jack Pierson.
Installing Calacutta slab marble in the master bathroom’s shower, with its concealed drain, was one of the project’s more intricate challenges. Double doors that lead into the space can be entirely hidden. In the corner is an Ordinairy Furniture Beer Bench by Inekehans.
“It’s as if the house has all of these little annexes,” comments Sheffer. “One of them is the pool, one of them is the garden, one of them is the guest house—and one is really the lawn, which is a foyer in a sense.” The 45-foot-long pool is bordered by a plunge spa, whose depth was custom devised to fit Sheffer, so when he’s standing in it, the waterline hits his chest just-so. The deck tiles are custom. Beyond is a gym and steam room.
A view of the expanded guest house and, behind the newly poured concrete wall, the cutting and vegetable garden, with its award-winning chicken coop, whose architect Sheffer discovered while helping with a renovation of his synagogue. The guest house boasts a Steinway piano.
The guest-house bedroom includes another Legnoletto bed, covered in a Hudson’s Bay blanket (Ceglic was drawn to their “ease”), as well as Alvar Aalto stools by Artek, Ingo Maurer’s Lampampe table lamp, a vintage map, and a Dina White drawing. “My typical day has changed quite a lot by the way since I had children—that’s stating the obvious,” says Sheffer. “I have fewer guests than I used to.”
This story was originally published in Architectural Digest on August 22, 2018.

Supermodel Erin Wasson’s California Home Is Giving Us Very Real Décor Envy

September 26th, 2018

For years, I’ve admired supermodel Erin Wasson’s unique tattoos from afar, allowing them to serve as inspiration for pieces of my own. Now, after seeing her latest feature in Architectural Digest, it’s safe to say I’ll be doing the same with her Malibu, California, home. A distinctly pared-down version of her eclectic New York City apartment and former L.A. home, both of which resembled art galleries, Wasson’s midcentury home is as minimal as possible. “Well, for Erin it’s minimal because she’s been such a collector and maximalist over all these years,” laughed interior designer Josh Evan, who has been collaborating with Wasson as a friend and business partner since they were teenagers living in Dallas.

Wasson stumbled upon the home during a spontaneous day trip and was immediately drawn to the one-level Regency beachside-style home, she told the magazine, referencing the British design period from 1795 to 1837. “I contacted the woman who owned it and the rest is history.” Fortunately, the home needed virtually no renovations; both Evan and Wasson loved the original details from the ’50s, like the metallic red wallpaper in the powder room and the white brick and white marble wall in the living room. “It’s so groovy, I’d never seen anything like this before,” she said, admiring the wall. “I looked at it and I said, ‘Well, I don’t have to do anything there.'”

Original details aside, Wasson’s impressive art collection is what truly makes the house a home. A ’70s Raphael Raffel for Maison Honore anchors the living room, while a sleek deSede Terrazza by Ubald Klug waterfall couch punctuates her sitting room. “This house is a huge storyteller of my life,” she says. “I’m lucky enough to have everything in my home be other people’s stories of which I get to be a part.” Step inside Erin Wasson’s latest interior design project below, and head over to Architectural Digest for the full feature.

The house, whose back side is entirely made up of sliding glass doors that open up to postcard-perfect views of the ocean, necessitated a very different design than Wasson’s previous properties, as the vista served as decor in and of itself. Wasson, who married her longtime boyfriend Barth Tassy in Austin just last month, also does entertain close friends.

“It’s like HGTV of the ocean,” says Wasson of the sliding glass doors that lead out onto the patio. Along with a number of Texan artists, Wasson selected a Liz Craft sculpture for the master bedroom along with a longseat by deSede DS 125 by Gerd Lange.

Although Wasson’s Malibu space is, in fact, filled with art, Evan says it’s nothing compared to her previous home in Venice. “Oh my God, it was like every nook and cranny,” Evan says. This space, he explains, is just the essentials. “It was like I was handed a job as a curator in a new museum,” Wasson says. “Before, I put a lot of things on the wall, perhaps as armor. In this place, I took a much more intellectualized approach to the whole thing.”

Plan Your Next Weekend Getaway Here

September 24th, 2018

Ojai Vista Farm is a working organic farm that doubles as a luxury lodging destination. Surrounded by avocado groves, animals and vineyards, the farm is both rustic retreat and amenity-filled escape. With backgrounds in real estate and design, respectively, the mother-daughter team of Cassandra Card and Susan Moll and have created a perfectly harmonious experience. Read on for more about the farm’s origins and start planning your next vacation.

Rip & Tan: Tell us a bit about the farm’s origins—how long has this been in the family, and how has it changed since?

Cassandra & Susan: We purchased in 2016 and it’s been a labor of love for our family each day since.  Before we bought the farm, it was a bit neglected.  We’ve done a lot of research on the history of the property and surrounding areas and before the 1950s there was a beautiful natural reservoir located next to the property and with it an incredible harmony between the land and nature.  We are located just outside the boundary line of the Los Padres National Forest and so we have the utmost respect for Mother Nature.  Our goal is to humbly try to restore that harmony as much as we can and leave this land better than when we received it.

Rip & Tan: How would you describe Ojai to someone who has never been?

Cassandra & Susan: Ojai has an incredible energy and light that is really unlike anywhere else, it’s truly a spiritual place.  The town is a charming artist community with Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture surrounded by large, beautiful farms with a rich history of agriculture.  We love being a part of that story and know how important it is to protect that for future generations.

Rip & Tan: Can you explain what makes a vineyard biodynamic?

Cassandra & Susan: Biodynamic grapes are farmed without synthetically produced fertilizers or herbicides but instead with natural compost for nutrients and considers lunar cycles. We take a commonsense approach like we would raising a child: being patient, learning what plants thrive in shade vs. sun and trying to grow native as much as possible. Part of the property has a large west facing slope that was peppered with avocado trees that were struggling to grow.  Instead of trying to force something that wasn’t happy to be there we thought about the microclimate of Ojai being like that in Northern Italy where Barbera grapes authenticate from and we planted the vineyard there.  The crop is thriving!

Rip & Tan: Many of your guests take a retreat to your property because of its idyllic landscape and charm, but some might not know how much work goes into maintaining it all. From the vegetation to the animals and the main house, what does a typical day of upkeep look like?

Cassandra & Susan: Ha!  Yes, there is constant upkeep.  We have two hens and hope to introduce a rooster soon so that we can start collecting fresh eggs each morning, our beloved goat Fable (who is very feisty and entering her pre-teen years) and our mother and daughter Calico barn cats, Majestic and Fiona.  Thankfully we have an amazing, hardworking staff that helps us with maintaining the interiors but with a farm of almost 11 acres there is always something to be done and no one day is ever like the other.

Rip & Tan: You’ve built an impressive water conservation system throughout the property—how does greywater recycling work? Could anyone could implement this system in their homes, or is there a simpler way for the average homeowner to be more ecologically conscious?  

Cassandra & Susan: Running this farm has been an eye opening experience when it comes to learning about the importance of water conversation.  Greywater recycling in its simplest form is taking the of waste water from showers, sinks, dishwashers or baths to reuse for non-potable water uses such as irrigation or flushing toilets.  According to a report from the UN 2.7 billion people will face water shortage problems by 2025, which is not very long off.  Sustainable living in a small way is not as scary as some might think and is so wonderful that people are starting to normalize the conversation.  Baby steps like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth makes a big difference, also learning about where your water comes from on a local level and how it gets to you is so important.  Knowledge is power!

Rip & Tan: How did you approach the decor? What energy or mood does it communicate to your guests?

Cassandra & Susan: The décor is eclectic, meant for people to feel instantly at home but also a little inspired. We restored the original home and outbuildings with mix of Spanish and Mexican antiques, mostly found while travelling and at auctions and we like to have an Asian piece in each room.  In the 1800s ships would come from Asian into California’s harbors with trunks of beautiful Chinese porcelains, extravagant silk and colorful shawls, you can find a lot of those pieces in California missions; it’s incredible to imagine a missionary travelling with them on horseback!  In essence we want to create a true California feel.

Rip & Tan: Aside from lodging, can you describe the various add-on services offered?

Cassandra & Susan: Our goal is to tailor each experience to our guests needs.  We can offer complete peace and serenity to be alone with your thoughts and nature or elevate the experience by bringing in a private chef, organizing private yoga sessions, body work or massage.  We are lucky to work with many vendors local to the Ojai community that are experts in their craft and we’ve learned so much from them.  For us it’s important to have sustainability live hand in hand with a luxurious experience.  We only carry non-toxic laundry detergent, bath products from True Botanicals, shampoos and conditioners from Bogue Milk Soaps and all our beds are outfitted with crazy soft, eco-friendly bedding from Parachute Home.  We’re planning to segue into more events, workshops and retreats so that more people can experience the farm to learn more about sustainable farming and living practices.