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Windows on the Sound

Safavieh designers bring a visual drama to a Gatsby- era showhouse on Long Island's North Shore.

Sand's Point, N.Y., was F. Scott Fitzgerald's inspiration for the fictional village of Easter Egg, and Hempstead House, a crenellated castle that towers over Long Island Sound, could well be the home of Jay Gatsby (although Gatsby lived in less posh West Egg, modeled on the nearby village of King's Point). In fact, Hempstead House was built by the son of a real- life magnate named Jay- the famous Jay Gould- and later home to Daniel and Florence Guggenheim.


Because a wall of windows provided great views of the gardens and trees, the designers tied the interior to the world beyond by incorporating the colors of nature, along with orchids and other live plants. A Venetian glass chandelier and glass-top table mark the center point of the spacious room, which seems to revolve around the axis.

When the Friends of the Sand's Point Preserve invited Safavieh to redo the historic billiard room for the "Titans of Business and the Best of Design Showcase," designers Karin Krinsky and brothers Joe and Keith Murphy were presented with an updated, fictional back story. "The client we were assigned was a successful business woman who moved here from the city.," explains Keith Murphy. "We wanted to transform the billiard room into an elegant, up-to-date salon for entertaining- a room thats's stylish without being over-the-top."


Sofas by Baker form a conversation group around the massive Jacobean fireplace, which the designers lightened with a large, abstract canvas. Overlapping carpets in complementary colors help tie together the different parts of the room, and form a diamond pattern that cleverly echoes the diamond-paned windows.

Krinsky describes how she and the Murphys created the showhouse room in layers:"To offset the dark oak paneling, we decided to add bold color, beginning with the striped wallpaper. Celadon ties the interior to the trees and gardens outside of the windows, and gold and silver tones add glamour. Next we added over-dyed rugs in celadon and purple. Then came the soft furnishings- curtains, pillows, the window seat and upholstered furniture- in the more jewel tones and creamy neutrals."

The entrance façade of Hempstead House hints at its enormous size.

The non-upholstered furnishings were fashioned in luxurious, modern materials- metals, acrylics, and glass, mirrored surfaces, lacquered wood. Finally, abstracts art, accessories and fresh orchids - a favorite of Gould a century ago- were added to complete the setting.

A major mirror makes full use of the room height; it’s angled to reflect the coffered ceiling.

"We used a lot of contemporary pieces to enliven the traditional architecture," notes Krinsky. "The overall effect is one of both comfort and visual drama- perfect not just for a titan of business, but for anyone who appreciates gracious surroundings."

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