When handed a contract to design a waterfront, ground-up home in Water Mill, Paris Forino immediately spotted an unusual hitch that would challenge her aesthetic approach. Two words: window treatments. “We love doing drapes and sheers, but often, the views from this home were so spectacular that we pulled away and did nothing,” explains the designer, who considers function, context and harmony as the touchstones of her blossoming practice. “That was hard!”
But as most other designers would agree, working with an expansive, waterfront canvas, the focus must underscore the connection to the outside without any obstruction. “You want the interior to feel like a gorgeous beach lodge in which you can relax right after a swim,” the Australian-born, Scandinavian-design-loving Forino says. The final product is very much that. The traditional Hamptons-style, shingle-style home with the classic yet relaxed interiors emphasizes natural fibers, jutes, linen, cotton and a light color palette with accents of indigo, where contemporary pieces mingle with vintage acquisitions to create a balance of warmth and sophistication.
Traditional, shingle-style architecture
To make the scheme pop, Forino persuaded the owners to be bold with one unique feature. “To contrast with the relaxed beachy vibe, we lacquered the floor to a high-gloss black,” she says. “It’s a very interesting juxtaposition and sets off the rest of the palette beautifully. The original art choices are contemporary and refined, adding another layer of visual complexity to interiors.”
Pushing the client to test their style boundaries comes with the job description and, in many ways, it’s an added value when working with a team like Forino’s. “Our experience, specialized knowledge and relationships with suppliers in the design industry allow us to expose our clients to design solutions that they might not otherwise have thought of,” she explains. This evolutionary relationship is a reflection of Forino’s own growing experience as an interior designer. “I’ve come a long way! But no matter your experience, there’s always so much to learn in this field... technical skills, developing your style and point of view, and honing your people skills and business acumen. All are critical to a successful interior design business.” If the client’s satisfaction is a large measure of that success, then the Water Mill project is a winner. “The clients were committed to the vision throughout,” Forino adds proudly. As for the windows that so irked her in the beginning, those too went through a metamorphosis. A gentle-handed trim left the window quandary well resolved without compromising the view that defines the property.
Photography by: Josh Goetz Photography