Sculptor Elena Colombo used her ingenuity to create a lively getaway in a turn-of-the-century Long Island beach cottage, packed full of found objects, eye-popping colors, and occasional sparks of pure genius.
Colombo sensed there was a very special communal atmosphere in her neighborhood of Breezy Shores, a 31-cottage beach community in Greenport, New York.
Elena brings nature's elements indoors and turns them into pure decorating gold: The stools, for instance, are tree stumps from a nearby field that she coated with a latex primer and five layers of fire-engine-red porch-enamel paint. The Manila clamshell light, red coral pillow, and bamboo-inspired glass-topped table are all outdoorsy touches.
A pair of clamshell pendants (above and previous slide) started out as table lamps Elena had no table for, so she snaked their wires through the bases and hung them upside down. She even customized the paint on her living-room walls, adding a water-based polyurethane top coat to get a mirrorlike finish that reflects the ocean. Greenport's mayor designed and built Elena's stylishly staggered corner bookshelf.
Elena bought this pair of faux-bamboo armchairs because they made her laugh. The chain above the windows is another collecting score: It's actually a piece of folk art made of thousands of bottle caps sandwiched together. Objects like these do the decorating work for you, so Elena left her windows uncovered, giving her a clear view of Shelter Island, across the bay, and the unruly tufts of seagrass just outside.
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