Tour an Airy Hillsborough Home



Interior designer Heather Hilliard gave an active family's Hillsborough home a relaxed, airy feel.The desire for streamlined, lighthearted living drew an active, outdoorsy family with three teenagers to this home in leafy Hillsborough, says interior designer Heather Hilliard. Built in the ’90s in a postmodernist style, the 7,800-square-foot house was transformed by Hilliard and architect Stephen Sutro from a warren of small, underutilized rooms into an elegant, light-filled space.

After taking the structure down to the studs, Sutro and colleague Brooks McDonald devised a new layout to maximize flow around a central axis, and the outdoors were drawn in via the addition of walls of glass doors to the family room, living room and kitchen. Modern stepped crown molding, millwork and new oak flooring were also added to create a “rich, layered look,” explains Sutro. Outside, the original yellow stucco was replaced by a warm gray hue “to make the corners crisp,” Sutro notes, a new metal roof was added, and landscaping updates included refreshes to the pool and tennis court.

Perhaps the most significant stroke is the new foyer, where a sweeping, circular staircase connects the first and second floors, creating a dramatic entrance. Hilliard hung sculptural, overscaled Tom Dixon Mirror Ball pendants in the 24-foot-high space. “The pendants connect the spaces, and their scale is unexpected,” says Hilliard. “It’s a rhythm we used throughout—beautiful pieces interspersed with ample negative space.” An oversized pivot door designed by Sutro also “creates a welcoming sense of arrival,” she adds.

Extending from the entry is a hall painted in Farrow & Ball’s crisp Wimborne White, a hue chosen to “create a gallery-like setting that offsets the couple’s art collection,” says Hilliard. The focal point of the space is Katy Stone’s Constellation—a wall-mounted work in metal that casts changing shadows throughout the day.

To accommodate the family’s preference for low-key entertaining, Hilliard and her associate Phebe Apgar Williams created two separate arrangements in the living room. One is a seating area anchored by a sofa in a textural bouclé weave from Zinc Textile that they paired with white Mongolian chairs and custom ottomans. The designers also showcased large-scale works by female artists including Cynthia Ona Innis, Amy Kaufman and Suzanne Caporael. The opposite end of the room features a gaming area centered on a custom billiard table and a custom leather cabinet for cue storage. Bold blue drapery panels in a Jim Thompson silk add a luxurious yet thoroughly modern feel to both spaces.  

Just off the living room, the office is connected to bustling family activity, but glass pocket doors also afford it privacy. The cozy, clubby space has built-in cases lacquered in deep blue, and the walls are clad in blue tone-on-tone Phillip Jeffries grasscloth. Hilliard also designed a custom desk in varying shades of indigo. The blue story continues in the ever-so-slightly formal dining room, where C&C Milano linen sheers glow indigo when backlit, and a cloud-like Ted Abramczyk fixture seems to hover above an Antoine Proulx dining table.

One of the most dramatically altered spaces is the combined family room and kitchen, which now has 10-foot ceilings that maximize views of the terraces and plantings beyond. Many meals are enjoyed at an island topped with a Golden Laza slab. “This stone looks like a watercolor, with warm touches that are subtle and diffuse,” says Hilliard.

Upstairs, the relaxed sensibility continues. Giant Sea Urchin pendants from Coup D’Etat illuminate the playroom, where large swivel chairs, a homework table and a massive screen accommodate both studying and family movie night. Just down the hall are the children’s rooms and the master suite, a study in serene grays and blues.

“There is a lot of joy with this family,” says Hilliard. “I think this home reflects that spirit.” Adds Sutro: “The house is a balance of contemporary quality with friendly, modern elements. Above all, it isn’t too precious.”

A version of this article appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Breathing Room.

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Designer Spotlight

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Karen Wells Design
Karen Wells Design creates professionally finished, uniquely beautiful interiors. Interior design, furniture design, interior architecture, project management, space planning, and curating collections are our specialty. Each project brings a fresh aesthetic based on the clients tastes, idiosyncrasies, and how they want to live. Interpreting each space for its functionality, refining it through the use of color, texture ,light, art, and furniture proportions allows KWD to create environments called home.

Karen Wells Design

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Builder Spotlight

M&M Custom Homes
M&M Custom Homes is recognized as one of the premier home builders in the Hamptons and throughout Nassau County. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, we provide a superior client experience—creating exceptional value with state-of-the-art construction and unsurpassed design.


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Garden Spotlight

Gardeneering
For thirty three years, every design we create stems from our holistic approach to landscape gardening. Beginning with developing the best possible soil, our attention branches out to address all facets of a project with similar focus. Whether it's hardscape or quality of plant material, the installations are of the highest order -- as is the quality of our estate maintenance services. Every effort is made to blend the client's vision with the aesthetic aspects of the house and property -- ultimately, to create an organic realization.


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Kathryn’s Flower Gardens
Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is committed to providing exquisite cutting gardens, container plantings and unique and heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, all grown right outside your door. Inspired by the agricultural heritage of the east end, Kathryn’s was created as a sentimental tribute to the owner’s young daughter. Led by a team of experienced horticulturalists, the firm’s sole focus is on providing boutique and personalized containers, flower and vegetable gardens. Located in Sag Harbor, Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is a subsidiary of Summerhill Landscapes.


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Garden Spotlight

HARMONIA INC Creative Landscapes and Fine Stonework
HARMONIA INC was founded out of a profound passion for creating complete landscapes and gardens that co-exist in harmony, with the natural settings that grace each property. Harmonia will design and install a customized landscape complimentary to your visual desires, and your personal lifestyle. “ Our work is a reflection of how you will want to enjoy your property for years to come.” Harmonia Inc is a full service design, installation and maintenance company, beautifying the Hamptons every day. 631-537-9672

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