august | september | 2017
by the sea
WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT BENSON AND MICHAEL STARIDIS
The owners of this stately seaside retreat didn’t have to look far for inspiration. To begin, their interior designer, Eileen Marcuvitz of Plum Interiors with locations in Newport, Rhode Island and Naples, Florida, tries to translate her clients’ thoughts into a design that embodies the feeling and flow they desire. In this case, she says, “They wanted the living room to reflect back the colors they see out their window of the sky and blue green of the ocean.”
Another goal for the more formal space in the 8,500-square-foot residence was for it to feel elegant, serene, and comfortable, says the designer who describes the interiors as refined yet comfortable, elegant yet functional, and clean yet richly detailed. “Featuring a serene palette and sculptural shapes, it’s classic with a modern sensibility,” explains Marcuvitz.
Trusses add warmth and detail to the twenty-four-foot ceiling in the living room where the designer relied on her ethereal go-to paint palette consisting of creams and pale blues and greens. “We all lead such busy lives,” she says. “I often strive to create a serene flow of colors in all the projects I work on.” The tranquil space, adjacent to the dining room, features a custom limestone, wood-burning fireplace flanked by cabinets lined in creamy shagreen.
Texture plays a major role in the living room and beyond. “I like to combine high gloss on some moldings and the wool and silk carpet has a shimmer to it,” says Marcuvitz. “There’s a little bit of leather, soft linen, chenille, and velvet for a combination of textures. Even though the palette is serene, the texture really adds visual interest. It’s truly beautiful.”
Entertaining is a given for the homeowners who often host extended family for weeks at a time in their peaceful retreat. “Everyone feels better there,” says Marcuvitz. “Of course being on the ocean helps!” Though the living room is reserved for more formal gatherings, the wife spends a lot of time there, too. “It’s an escape room for her,” she adds. “It isn’t used as much as the other rooms, so she’ll think nothing of going in there and building a fire.”
In contrast, the family room, which opens to the kitchen, offers a more casual spot for watching television and entertaining. “I often will use outdoor fabric on some of the pieces that we know will be used a lot, such as the family room sofas,” says the designer. “Treated leather is another useful material because it’s washable, stain resistant, and does not scratch.”
The Living Room Trend
Designer Eileen Marcuvitz shares her thoughts on why living rooms and grown-ups make the perfect match.
Marcuvitz sees a resurgence in living rooms being more formal and less like family rooms. “Other parts of the home tend to need to be more practical and kid friendly,” says Marcuvitz. “[Living rooms] are getting smaller and they tend to be considered almost sitting rooms.” Yet, she believes the concept that people want luxury and elegance still exists. “The living room is the place to do that because it’s kind of reserved for the adults and intimate entertaining,” she says. This space can provide a peaceful place for a homeowner to escape because it typically doesn’t see as much activity as other areas of the home. You can give your living room a distinct identity like Marcuvitz did with this featured design. While the family room features mostly blues, the living room blends blues and greens.
Most of the furnishings in the two rooms that face the ocean are custom pieces. For the family room, the designer chose practical, durable materials, while the living room is more elegant with variations in texture and shine.
In the family room, another custom wood-burning fireplace features a collection of vintage pottery that lines the mantel for a lovely display. For casual gatherings, a walnut wood coffee table with a glass top sets the stage for an array of wine and cheese and other goodies. “She loves to create a real homey kind of feeling,” says Marcuvitz.
The designer, who has already teamed up with her clients on another residence in Boston, Massachusetts, says working on this project was such a joy. “They really complemented each other as a couple and they were a pleasure to work with. They gave me direction and then the freedom to make the best use of my design and resources.”
Perhaps what makes these rooms so livable is the fact that Marcuvitz has found many homeowners are now embracing the less-is-more approach. “I encourage clients to have a minimal look and they seem to gravitate toward it to minimize the clutter,” she says. “It makes everyone feel more comfortable. When we go out into the world, we have such busy, crazy lives. People want to come home and live in a really serene environment; they can achieve it and they strive for it.”
Where Dreams Come Home
As featured in Home By Design® Magazine
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All measurements are approximate. ©2017 By Design Publishing. All rights reserved.