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Dowager Inn

East Hampton, New York

THIS EAST HAMPTON HOME expresses the personality and dreams of our client, an interior designer with a hospitality background. He had an appealing story to tell, one informed by a penchant for the clubby dining rooms and lounges found in chic London hotels.

International inspiration notwithstanding, a connection to local history was essential. Long Island’s South Shore provided the framework to credibly anchor our client’s playful backstory. The building, he imagined, began its life as a Colonial farmhouse. In the late 1800s, its owner, an eccentric dowager, converted it into a village inn. In the 1920s, our heroine remodeled to incorporate the Vienna Secessionist and English Arts and Crafts flourishes she discovered overseas. This fiction wasn’t a stretch: the Hamptons offers many examples of homes that have been transformed into inns. Armed with this timeline and tale, we had program and precedent from which to create.

A diversity of inspirations and references, both actual and fictional, helped us achieve a sense of authenticity, one that reminds both residents and guests to relax, stay awhile, and not take matters too seriously—emotions essential to the spirit of a house that is a gift to one’s friends.

~ Stanford White Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art ~
Interior Design: Bryan Graybill ~ Landscape Architecture: Hooten Land Design ~ Builder: Timeless Homes LTD ~ Photography: Eric Piasecki

THE ENTRY opens into a richly detailed vestibule that is a stylistic take on an inglenook, designed for welcomes and adieus.

THE GRAND SALON’S MULTIPLE SEATING AREAS enable the spacious room to be comfortably enjoyed by gatherings both large and intimate.

PROCLAIMING THE STRUCTURE’S DUAL IDENTITY as home and hostelry, the grand salon’s large banquette and freestanding mahogany bar offer the assurance of a good time.


THE PARLOR serves as a private sitting room leading to the owner’s flat but can also comfortably extend the party from the adjacent grand salon.

IN THE PARLOR, a screen wall allows light to be shared between the office and the sitting room, creating two zones in one room.


REEDED GLASS in the bathroom provides a measure of privacy while maximizing natural light.

IN THE KITCHEN, pots, utensils, and dishes are intentionally displayed to make it a very intuitive room for guests.
Supporting the kitchen is the larder, a true “workhorse” room serving as a pantry, catering kitchen, coffee bar, and informal entry.

THE ORANGERIE is a casual dining space with a greenhouse-like character.

IMPACTFUL GESTURES characteristic of a thoughtful host are seen in precincts dedicated to guests, like this upper-floor landing with a skylighted library and a reading bench.

WORKING FROM A COHESIVE PALETTE, each guest suite retains its own charm and character through a variety of distinct architectural elements.

A sense of hospitality extends outdoors.

THE SEEMINGLY RESERVED OUTBUILDING is anything but, housing a well-equipped bar for poolside entertaining.
The inspiration for this structure comes from the original East Hampton School House.

THE REAR COVERED PORCH offers a fireplace for the shoulder seasons and sometimes cool summer evenings.