Designer Bella Zakarian Mancini Balances Sophistication and Whimsy in This Family-Friendly Getaway



The living room features a display cabinet and garden stools from Jayson Home, a marble cocktail table from Global Views, and botanical-themed decoupage plates from John Derian.Interior designers find their clients from practically anywhere: professional referrals, friends of friends, or even just across the hall from where they live. Such was the case with New York–based decorator Bella Zakarian Mancini, of Bella Mancini Design, and her clients Gemma Postlethwaite and Oisin Richardson. “We were neighbors for about six years, and our families became good friends,” Mancini recalls. “We remained close even after we all moved out of the building.” In 2015, when Postlethwaite and Richardson purchased a newly built cedar-shingled home in Springs, Mancini was the first person they called.

Mancini’s clients, both of whom are British and relocated to the States in 2001 for Postlethwaite’s job, envisioned the 4,000-square-foot home as more than just a summer retreat for them and their eight-year-old twin daughters, Cate and Ellie. They wanted it to serve as a year-round second residence, in which their family could celebrate holidays and host relatives from abroad. “I didn’t want a beach house that you felt inclined to close up in the winter and not spend time in during the off season,” says Postlethwaite. With that mandate in mind, Mancini decided to create bold, lively interiors that would satisfy Postlethwaite’s affinity for color and keep their appeal at any time of the year.

At their year-round weekend home in Springs, Gemma Postlethwaite and Oisin Richardson celebrate the good life with their twin daughters, Cate and Ellie.The decorator took some cues from the interiors at East Hampton’s c/o The Maidstone hotel, where she often stays when she’s working on the East End. The establishment, she says, has “the right balance of whimsical and sophisticated, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.” Accordingly, for her clients’ home, Mancini installed wall coverings that range from a vibrant Mediterranean blue in the master bedroom to a print of circular Indian-inspired medallions in a guest room to a bold pomegranate motif in Postlethwaite’s office. Just as eye-catching are the interior doors and trim, largely painted in exuberant hues like turquoise and mint green. “It was an exciting departure from staying on the safe side,” Mancini says, “and a dream to be able to have so much fun.”

But the colorful palette isn’t limited just to wall coverings and paint. In the living room, for instance, a bright blue sideboard and dark turquoise stools commingle with a multicolor abstract artwork by Madeline Denaro. In a corner of the room, botanical-themed decoupage plates from John Derian hang above a large L-shaped banquette, which serves as a favorite gathering spot for the family. “The first time we looked around the house, I said to Bella, ‘There has to be some type of seating there,’” recalls Postlethwaite. “‘The light is so perfect, and that’s where I want to sit with my morning coffee.’” But virtually every corner of the home, she adds, is filled with a deeply satisfying cheer. “I can walk in the front door on a Friday night, after a long drive with two tired and grouchy kids, and there’s still nothing that can take the smile off my face.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 2017 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Family Affair.

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Property of Note Listing

15 Kings Dock Road, Garrison, NY
Enjoy the best that the Hudson Valley has to offer at this 9-acre estate offering awe-inspiring vistas, stunning passive architecture and a unique private deep-water dock on the Hudson River. Sited to take full advantage of the amazing scenery, the three-bedroom residence is a triumph of modernist design featuring airy open-plan living spaces and vast window walls that dramatically frame the blissful water and mountain views. The setting, boasting ¼ mile of frontage along the river, also hosts a two-bedroom guest house, a striking Greek temple/playhouse overlooking the river and a detached garage.



View more details about 15 Kings Dock Road
Nautilus Architects
Christopher Arelt’s practice, Nautilus Architects, involves collaboration and interpretation, with each design evolving in its own way in response to the site, context and client. Chris’ work is seen as a continuation of but also a response to Modernism; or, more specifically, a return to regionalism and artistry, where clients’ projects are developed with the “head, hearts and hands” of all those involved. All of our buildings explore the use of natural light, reveal the inherent beauty of the materials being used, and bring the outdoors in.


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Laura Kaehler Architects
Laura Kaehler Architects is an Award Winning Architectural Firm. Along with Laura Kaehler, AIA, we have a talented staff of 5 architects and designers who create new homes, renovations and additions and apartment renovations. Designing a smaller footprint while obtaining a "big look" with an open floor plan design, better craftsmanship and detailing and richer materials is what we call "Responsible Luxury" and is a key element of our design philosophy.

Laura Kaehler

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Fiona Leonard Interiors
Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC is a full service design firm that specializes in making a client’s home unique and custom tailored to the owners taste and lifestyle. Projects are personally supervised from initial consultation to installation. Strong relationships with carefully selected creative artisans, highly skilled craftsmen and subcontractors ensures that your project will be in good hands. With over 20 years experience working alongside well established design professionals in Connecticut and Manhattan, Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC was established.Fiona designs interiors with a casual elegance and timeless approach. Inherent in all her work is Fiona’s passion to combine clean lines and an artistic use of color that is comfortable for the client and reflects their personal lifestyle.

Fiona Leonard Interiors

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Daniel Conlon Architects
Wind and weather, the ebb and flow of the tide, changing color and light define the rhythm of coastal living. This recent home embraces the idea with light-filled spaces , expansive views , cozy niches, and outdoor living environments. Landscape terraces and stonework ground the building to the site, while respecting all current building codes. Daniel Conlon Architects, based in Wilton CT, has designed numerous waterfront homes throughout the Northeast.

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