Martha's East Hampton, New York, home on Lily Pond Lane used to be a study in white and white. This made the view through each window look like a painting framed by a wide mat. Against the warm, lush tones of the trees and gardens outside, the white seemed to create a jarring contrast. Martha decided to update the house, giving it a new look but keeping the same basic fixtures and furnishings. There were many little details that needed attention -- upholstery to repair, overgrown collections to edit -- so she began to think of it as the "re-"project.
Nature (including her collection of stuffed tarpon fish) strongly influenced the creation of Martha's Lily Pond Lane color palette.
Butter-hued walls and woodwork give the space a richer, warmer glow. The ceiling is painted in a complementary shade of deep beige. In the dining room, a shapely marble-top wood table, in old paint that echoes the wall color, replaces the gray sideboard. Dark-wood side chairs, moved in from the library, fill in for the old upholstered dining chairs, and a tarpon framed in a shadow box takes the place of the mirror on the wall.
The results were dramatic. Martha had some new metal cabinetwork built to make the most of the available space. The soft brown of the walls and lighter, more golden color of the ceiling unified the whole room. New wall shelves hold her teal McCoy pottery and brighten an expanse of wall, and a sixteen-drawer metal buffet provides plenty of room for flatware, napkins, and serving pieces, which makes entertaining so much easier.
Because Martha's collections -- of dishware, cake plates and domes, pottery, and so on -- have grown over the years, she needed to create more room for them, so she's utilized the vertical space in the pantry. The old shelves, which are now painted the same color as the kitchen walls, keep everything organized and accessible. The counter is covered in zinc-coated tin.
A new Venetian-glass chandelier complements the painted ceiling. Hints of teal, in the window frames and French doors, provide bright spots of color. While Martha kept many of the same furnishings, not everything remained in its original location. For the library, she reinvented a white Jacobean-style table that had been used as a desk upstairs. Painted black, it makes an elegant, functional library table.
For the updated design of Martha's bedroom, she painted the walls and ceiling in beigy-pink tones and pushed the multipaned wardrobe against the wall where the bed used to be. The former library table sits in front of the windows, and a large, pinkish mercury-glass ball catches the light.
Rather than painting the wooden bed to suit the new color scheme, Martha chose to cover it in fabric for a softer look. The frame is encased in thick bump padding, then in fine-linen slipcovers that are stitched together into a simple dressmaker shape that gracefully envelops the frame of the bed. Pink linens accentuate the pink in the wall color.
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