Tour Kitty McCoy's Southampton Home



Kitty McCoy's Southampton Home

In 2006, after a devastating fire destroyed Kathrine “Kitty” McCoy’s beloved Bridgehampton cape-style house—one the architect had designed herself and moved into ten years earlier—she didn’t just move on. She rebuilt. The ruinous blaze only motivated McCoy, a native East Ender whose relatives settled in Bridgehampton in 1928, to expand. Once again, McCoy assumed the unusual role of architect-as-client. “The project was tough at first because I was really concerned with making an architectural statement,” says McCoy, who launched her eponymous firm in 1991. “But once I focused on what my family loves, and how we live, the design and layout came easily.”

A talented architect best known for her quintessentially Hamptons structures, particularly seaside cottages and shingled colonials, McCoy delights in the left-brain/right-brain demands of her job. “I love combining mechanical, precise components with the creative,” she says. Her knack for logistics aside, McCoy thought her previous 2,200-square-foot home never quite measured up; a concentration of many smaller rooms—typical of cape layouts—didn’t allow her to use space efficiently.

Her new, 3,400-square-foot house, which she shares with her daughter, Catherine, and partner Walter Sternlieb, sits on the same flag-shaped lot, a short distance to town and McCoy’s office. Though its shingled exterior is an age-old Hamptons convention, the updated colonial’s open-flow interiors and contemporary flair are decidedly fresh. “I designed an open first-floor plan to coax guests through the space,” says McCoy.   “I didn’t want people walking through the living room right when they entered the house.”

Rather, guests enter an open hallway linked to a stunning barrel-vaulted gallery that adjoins both the living and dining areas. Her inspiration? “I just love shaped spaces,” she says. “It’s far more interesting than a square hallway.” McCoy’s friend Greg McKenzie, an interior designer who had worked on her previous home, chose Benjamin Moore’s Smokestack Gray paint in high gloss for the trim and ceiling and switched to matte for the walls, further highlighting McCoy’s clever architectural conceit. “Kitty and I trust each other’s taste,” says McKenzie, “and we work so well together that we almost speak in shorthand. We co-designed her interiors over lunch at Bobby Van’s!”

One can’t help but gaze upward in the living and dining areas, where shallow yet substantial coffers form dramatic, centralized circles—also glistening with a high-gloss sheen. “Paneling and beadboard would have been too traditional, and hefty molding would have truncated the room’s height,” McCoy notes. A mirrored wall in the dining area reflects light into the north-facing room; one sliding section of the wall reveals a pocket-door conduit to the kitchen, which features a custom-designed reclaimed oak island topped with two-inch-thick honed Carrara marble (“I wanted it to look aged,” says McCoy). On the south side of the kitchen, she carved out an adjoining sitting area, from which “it’s impossible to get guests to vacate when I’m entertaining.” The enclosed back porch, which flanks the kitchen, dining, and living rooms, has exponentially increased her year-round livable space. “I can seat 18 without moving anything,” adds McCoy, who enjoys views of the family pond from both the porch and every rear window on the second floor.

As if the back porch weren’t substantial enough, both the master and guest bedrooms feature French doors that open onto an ample outdoor deck. “I wanted the whole home to be a sanctuary—a place that was comfortable and peaceful,” says McCoy. A true nature lover, she constantly scans for new activity on the ever-changing pond, watching the turtles float around and, at night, “listening to the sounds, especially the frogs. They’re the best!”

A version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Kitty's Corner.

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Designer Spotlight

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Domus Constructors: Malachowski Project
It was impossible for our clients to resist purchasing the property on this private road in Darien. The exterior facade had not been updated since it was built in 1941 and while some interior updates were relatively recent, the quality and styling did not meet their standards. The project included an addition and complete renovation of the kitchen, and much of the first floor. Upgrading HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems were also completed.


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Designer Spotlight

Roughan Interiors
Christina S. Roughan of Roughan Interiors is an award-winning designer who believes her clients’ home should reflect their personal style. Roughan is known for her curated approach to modern/traditional design that creates the ultimate livable interior. Her 20 years of experience allows her to offer a luxurious and refined product that translates from apartments, vacation homes, condominiums and primary residences around the world. Roughan is a full-service design firm with locations in Connecticut and New York City.

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