Designer Meg Braff Energizes a Classic Southampton Getaway
Orange, most people would agree, is a very bold hue—some color theorists even describe it as the color of rebellion. But for art collector clients of decorator Meg Braff, orange is anything but confrontational. Rather, it goes a long way to enhance and uplift their otherwise quiet, sun-drenched weekend home in Southampton. “They wanted summery colors, but nothing too beachy,” Braff says. “So we aimed for a nice, in-between place that’s sophisticated and elegant, with character and personality.”
The house, a spartan new build, needed a double dose of all that, and more. Braff started by bringing in an eclectic mix of rugs and furnishings that “feels unpretentious and relaxed,” grounding a space that was awkward, shiny, and brand-spanking-new. “Whenever I do a house like this one, I always try to add layers to it so that it doesn’t feel cold,” she says. “Even if it has just been built, a home still needs to be welcoming and warm.” Indeed, the dining room’s bright, ochre-colored China Seas for Quadrille wallpaper and coral-hued Indochine dining chairs, further amplified by a set of dazzling blue porcelain, immediately grab the eye, although Braff keeps things in check with a jute rug, used here and elsewhere in the house, which she favors for its durability and natural look. In a high-traffic summer house, she says, “jute works so well, and it’s so easy to replace.”
Jute plays an equally important role in the circular breakfast room, where a floral green wallpaper spans the length of the wall, accentuating the natural greenery outdoors, visible from ample windows. In the library, more jute and materials such as brass, steel, and stone add sparkle and warmth, alongside a pair of vintage rosewood chairs with cushy goat-hair upholstery and a Harrison–Van Horn cocktail table.
While still maintaining her vibrant color scheme, Braff dialed it back a bit in the private quarters, where she installed mint-green headboards in a guest room and a Tiffany blue paint from Benjamin Moore and a blue-and-cream linen from Lisa Fine Textiles in the master bedroom. The bedrooms are undeniably restful retreats, but more often than not, Braff’s clients and their guests find themselves congregating in the family room off the kitchen, which features a cheery mix of raffia on the walls, linen Lee Jofa curtains, and Christopher Spitzmiller lamps. “Daylight flows through this room nicely, making it a relaxing space to hang out in if you want to,” says the decorator. “But that’s what’s so great about the house. Everyone has his or her own corner, which makes it a place everyone wants to be in!”
A version of this article appeared in the June 2017 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Radical Trad.