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You’ve Never Seen a ‘Beach House’ Like This

A Hamptons home with unexpected formal, English-inspired style

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Robert Brantley

    But the posh beach community’s unspoken dress code did not persuade New York City native Gloria Kirschner to forsake her own design aesthetic. When building her home 10 years ago, she chose an English Tudor style over the region’s conventional shake-shingle architecture. Inside, she opted for a more formal ambience than the usual Hamptons residence. Her home is tranquil, but the compelling palette might make visitors check a GPS to confirm they’re in the Hamptons, not a cottage in an English forest.

    “I had lived in a beach house before,” explains Gloria. “I wanted this house to reflect my own tastes and visually nod to all times of the year, not only summer. This house embraces four seasons.”

    To execute a plan that satisfied Gloria’s sophisticated and confident style—yet offered enough charm to serve as the setting for a laid-back weekend getaway—she hired Florida-based designer Jack Fhillips. His artistic vision, mixed with an ardent sense of -order, produced a home in updated traditional style that has its own personality yet blends well with the neighborhood. 

    Because the home is located just two blocks from the ocean, sand and sea would be the expected inspiration for its palette. Instead, Gloria and Fhillips took their color cues from her sylvan backyard, choosing a scheme that uses plenty of peaceful green.  

    “The house stands on its own architecturally and doesn’t fit into what’s expected in the Hamptons,” says the designer. “But it’s not as if we dismissed its surroundings. We just opened our eyes to the less predictable part of nature. Blue and white would have been a mistake here, since there is foliage everywhere around the house and it has so many windows.”

    The signature grass green that pervades most rooms of the home is a dichotomous combination of zest and serenity. In the foyer, the vibrant green offers contrast to the bright white architectural moldings outlining each space. Green-and-ivory cotton toile forms graceful panels at the windows. Both the architectural details and the toile reappear throughout the house, providing a continuity that ties Gloria’s abundant collections together. 

    “Paring down is a state of mind and is not measurable by a defined number of things,” says Fhillips. “Gloria has so many art collections, so organizing them by putting like objects together was key to creating an environment that was calm and not cluttered.”

    The two-story-high living room is a prime example. Its soaring architecture left ample wall space to create a gallery of artwork. But instead of an assemblage of different art mediums and forms, Fhillips selected one—oil landscapes—to enrich the room’s expanded perimeters and make a memorable statement. The landscapes enhance the arrangement of antique Continental furniture on a needlepoint rug without detracting from the view of showstopping gardens on the other side of the windows.

    Used not only for window panels but also to upholster the walls, the green-and-ivory toile that serves as an emblem of the house’s design envelops the dining room. “Sometimes people think that repeating such a recognizable pattern from room to room is a cop-out,” says Fhillips. “But here, the backgrounds needed to recede so that the collections of artwork could grab attention.” Paired with an ensemble of an English walnut dining table and chairs covered in their original leather upholstery, an antique Steinway piano in the back of the room balances the substantial visual weight of the dining group. To add the distinguishing touch of glamour so welcome in a dining room, a chandelier of English Sheffield silver plate illumines the table.

    With a scheme informed by photographs of a kitchen in an old English country house, Gloria’s kitchen has pine cabinetry crowned with dentil molding that echoes the architectural details of the formal rooms. A mahogany table and antique painted--bamboo chairs set the scene for a cheery casual dining experience. French doors lead to a beguiling patio.

    Upstairs, Fhillips eschewed the toile that was a first-floor staple, opting for a sportier look in the master bedroom, with stripes on the bed skirt and window treatments.

    Now, a decade after it was built, the house has come into its own.   “We didn’t buy furniture at showrooms but acquired it at auction houses,” says Fhillips. “That’s what gives this house its unique look—Gloria’s commitment to the traditional sensibilities she loves and my vision to turn them out in a way that is fresh and right now.”

    And for Gloria, the house is not only where she retreats for peace, but a welcoming environment for her visitors.

    “The Hamptons are becoming more of a place where people want to be any time during the year,” says Gloria. “There’s relief in knowing that my guests feel welcome to visit for any occasion.”

    Photography: Robert Brantley

    Settee (private collection): Jack Fhilips Design, 561/659-4459, 
    Settee fabric (“Slubby Linen”/Natural #2372): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Pillows from left:
    Pillow 1 (#2373/Oatmeal): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Pillow trim (“Arlington Small Rope”/Leaf Green #5411-06, by Colefax and Fowler, and “Arlington Braid”/Leaf Green #5404/06, by Colefax and Fowler): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, 
    Pillow 2 (“Siam Texture Plaid”/Split Pea #25712, discontinued): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 
    Trim (“Complement Brush Fringe”/Herb #BR-39075.447): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880, 
    Lamp (antique, bronze/crystal): Harbor View Antiques, 203/325-8070.
    Wing chair (antique, Chippendale): Hawkins Antiques, 561/804-6700.
    Wing-chair fabric (“Lissadell”/Beige #J369F-01, by Jane Churchill, discontinued): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Sofa: Jack Fhillips Collection, 561/659-4459, 
    Sofa fabric (#2372/Natural, linen): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Pillows at end of sofa (“Slubby Linen”/Lichen and Taupe): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Trim (brush fringe): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, 
    Pillow (“Lissadell”/Beige #J369F-01, by Jane Churchill, discontinued); trim (“Arlington Tassel Fringe”/Beige #5406/08, by Colefax and Fowler): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, 
    Pair of chairs facing fireplace (Jacobean style): Tower Bridge Antiques, 954/454-8001. 
    Chair fabric (“Siam Texture Plaid”/Split Pea #25712, discontinued): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 
    Coffee table; armchairs opposite sofa: owner’s collection.
    Chair fabric (“Falling Flowers”/Linen on Hemp #2045L/30): Chelsea Editions, 212/758-0005, 
    Lounge chair by fireplace: Jack Fhillips Collection, 561/659-4459, 
    Chair fabric: Fabricut, 800/999-8200, 
    Sconce (tripod bronze sconce with tole shades): Kings Antiques, 404/355-8995.

  • Robert Brantley
  • Robert Brantley

    Settee: antique.
    Settee fabric (“Hempstead” color 26): Tafford Fabrics, 212/213-4670, 
    Drapery, pillow fabric (“Scenes Helvetiques” #79584/406, discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880, 
    Sheers (“Scorpio”/Snow): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Trim on sheers (“Jute Banding”/Naturel #16050): Houlès, 310/652-6171, 
    Sisal rug: ABC Carpet & Home, 212/473-3000,
    Chandelier (private collection): Jack Fhillips Design, 561/659-4459, 
    Pedestal (mahogany): Connecticut Antiques Center, 203/355-9335.

  • Robert Brantley

    Finish on paneling: walnut stain on pine.
    Sofa: Jack Fhillips Collection, 561/659-4459, 
    Sofa fabric (“Erin”/Alabaster): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Needlepoint pillow (“Roses and Cornflowers” #N031): Chelsea Textiles, 212/319-5804, 
    Coffee table: owner’s collection.
    Bench (Queen Anne): Marika’s Antiques, 631/749-1168, 
    Bench fabric (“Mill Valley Coordinate”/Loden #50061): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 
    Armless chair (Jacobean barley-twist chair): Tower Bridge Antiques, 954/454-8001.
    Chair fabric (“Cotton Velvet”/Moss #1601/14, by Great Plains): Holly Hunt, 312-661-1900, 
    Chair-back fabric (“Summer”/Fern #8459B-S0766): Stroheim, 800/763-0524, 
    Green chair by fireplace: antique.
    Chair fabric (“Slubby Linen”/Loden): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Area rug: ABC Carpet & Home, 212/473-3000, 
    Drapery (“Mill Valley Coordinate”/Loden #50061): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 
    Magazine rack: Greenwich Living, 203/274-5130.
    Stairs in front of window: Hawkins Antiques, 561/804-6700.
    Fireplace surround: limestone.
    Wing chair in front of window; leather chair; pedestal table: owner’s collection.
    Wing-chair fabric (“Summer”/Fern #8459B-S0766): Stroheim, 800/763-0524, 
    Fluted floor lamp: Tower Bridge Antiques, 954/454-8001.

  • Robert Brantley
  • Robert Brantley

    Table: owner’s collection.
    Chairs (English leather chairs #15/275); chair leather (antique): Tower Bridge Antiques, 954/454-8001.
    Chair-back fabric (“Hempstead” #26): Tafford Fabrics, 212/213-4670, 
    Chandelier (antique): Harbor View Antiques, 203/325-8070.
    Wallpaper and drapery (“Scenes Helvetiques” #79584/406, discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880, 
    Sheers (“Scorpio”/Snow): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Trim on sheers (“Jute Banding”/Naturel #16050): Houlès, 310/652-6171, 
    Fauteuil at piano (antique): Tower Bridge Antiques, 954/454-8001.
    Fauteuil fabric (“Siam Texture Plaid”/Split Pea #25712, discontinued): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 
    Finish on floors (Minwax 50 percent Dark Walnut, 50 percent Provencial): Minwax, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Plates with green pattern (“Ivy”): Wedgwood, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Clock (antique); small chair (antique); mirror (antique): owner’s collection.
    Chair fabric (“Hempstead” #26): Tafford Fabrics, 212/213-4670, 
    Wallpaper and drapery (“Scenes Helvetiques” #79584/406, discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880, 
    Drapery tiebacks (“Jute Tassel Tiebacks”): Bargia, 800/782-7801, 

  • Robert Brantley

     

  • Robert Brantley

    Cabinetry: pine.
    Hardware (antique pewter finish): Top Knobs, 
    Countertops: Uba Tuba granite.
    Backsplash tiles (ceramic green glazed tiles); border: Daltile, 
    Island sink: Franke Kitchen Systems Division, 800/626-5771, 
    Island faucet: Rohl, 800/777-9762, 
    Hanging lights over island (“Newcastle Classic Single Pole Pendant Light”/Polished Nickel #A7638): Rejuvenation, 888/401-1900, 

  • Robert Brantley

     

    Desk at window (antique, Pembroke table): Harbor View Antiques, 203/325-8070.
    Desk chair (Chippendale); green cupboard: owner’s collection.
    Chair-seat fabric (“Kelsey Check”/Green): Chelsea Editions, 212/758-0005, 
    Drapery (“Check It Out”/Cucumber #50122, discontinued): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Table; chairs: owner’s collection.
    Seat-cushion fabric (“Rosehip Briar”/Gold #2190/05): Chelsea Editions, 212/758-0005, 
    Pendant light (“Large Thumbprint Lantern” #S215, from A. Sonoma): Jack Fhillips Design, 561/659-4459,
    Drapery (“Scenes Helvetiques” #79584/406, discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Bed: owner’s collection.
    Drapery, bed-skirt, striped pillow fabric: discontinued.
    Drapery trim (“Somerset Linen Tassel”/Green #892204, discontinued): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 
    Duvet (custom): Lopez Interiors, 561/684-2777.
    Blanket at end of bed; green shams: Sferra, 
    Paint (“Sherwood Green” #HC-118): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, 
    Desk (Queen Anne style): Marika’s Antiques, 631/749-1168, 
    Desk chair: owner’s collection.
    Chair-seat fabric (in Spring Green and Ivory): Arabel Fabrics, 800/759-9808, 
    Chair-seat trim (“1/8-inch Cambridge Cord with Tape”/Parsley #981-34162/107): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, 
    Stool fabric (“Hempstead” #26): Tafford Fabrics, 212/213-4670, 
    Table lamp: Vaughan, 212/319-7070, 
    Settee (Queen Anne style): John Street Antiques, 203/324-4677.
    Settee fabric (“George Smith Tweed Linen”/Moss): Monica James & Co., 305/576-6222, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Bedside table: Connecticut Antiques Center, 203/355-9335.
    Drapery: discontinued.
    Drapery trim (“Somerset Linen Tassel”/Green #892204, discontinued): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Floral wall covering (paper-backed fabric, Jim Thorpe antique hand-print): owner’s collection.
    Sisal rug: ABC Carpet & Home, 212/473-3000, 
    Poster bed: Theodore Alexander, 336/887-1315.
    Bed linens: Legacy Linens, 
    Mirror: antique.
    Table lamps (Tole Regency lamps): Braswell Gallery, 203/327-5101.
    Settee (Louis XVI style): Hampton Antiques Gallery, 203/325-4019.
    Settee fabric (“George Smith Tweed Linen”/Moss): Monica James & Co., 305/576-6222, 
    Pillow at left on settee (“Ferndale”/Green #F3203-02, by Colefax and Fowler, discontinued): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, 
    Pillow trim (“1.5-inch Annecy Brush Fringe”/Green #983-38120/176): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, 
    Small pillow (“Bateer”/Blossom): Robert Allen, 800/333-3777, 
    Pillow trim (“Fan Edge Trim”): Lee Jofa, 800/453-3563, 
    Fauteuil (Louis XVI): Harbor View Antiques, 203/725-8070.
    Seat fabric (“George Smith Tweed Linen”/Moss): Monica James & Co., 305/576-6222, 
    Plaid back fabric on fauteuil (“Kendal Plaid”/Willow #2001113): Lee Jofa, 800/453-3563, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Fauteuils (Louis XVI): Harbor View Antiques, 203/725-8070.
    Fabric (“George Smith Tweed Linen”/Moss): Monica James & Co., 305/576-6222, 
    Desk: Hawkins Antiques, 561/804-6700.
    Drapery (“Ferndale”/Green #F3203-02, by Colefax and Fowler, discontinued): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, 
    Drapery trim: Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, 
    Sisal rug: ABC Carpet & Home, 212/473-3000, 

  • Robert Brantley

    Bench (Jacobean barley-twist carved bench): Tower Bridge Antiques, 854/454-8001.
    Bench fabric (“Hempstead” color 26): Tafford Fabrics, 212/213-4670, 

  • Robert Brantley
  • Robert Brantley

    Wicker furniture: owner’s collection.
    Floral fabric (“Hydrangea” by John Wolf, discontinued): Richloom Fabrics, 212/685-5400.
    Coffee table: John Rogers Collection, 631/287-1367.
    Rug runner (outdoor): ABC Carpet & Home, 212/473-3000, 
    Paint (“Van Alen Green” #HC-120); trim (“Cushing Green” #HC-125): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Flooring: bluestone slate.

  • Robert Brantley
  • Robert Brantley

    Outdoor furniture: John Rogers Collection, 631/287-1367.
    Fabric: Sunbrella, 336/221-2211. 

  • Robert Brantley

    Jack Fhillips Design, 2611 Mercer Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401-7415; 561/659-4459,