Ever notice that the colors and patterns you grab off the fashion racks are similar to what you surround yourself with at home? Interior designer Ken Gemes sees the connection all the time—most recently in a big way when he designed a home for fashion executive Kay Krill, CEO at Ann Taylor and Loft.
Kay asked Gemes, a longtime friend, to help with the renovation of a stately, century-old home she had bought on Long Island Sound. The brick-and-frame Colonial-style house had spectacular views of the water and the New York City skyline, but it hadn’t been updated in decades.122
“I wanted the house to be open and inviting,” Kay says. “We put French doors in every room, so every area opens onto the stone patio facing the water.”
In the sunroom, which is near the outdoor swimming pool, seating pieces are covered with water-resistant indoor-outdoor fabrics. The settee and chairs designed by Laura Kirar for McGuire are practical and pretty with cushions covered in Holly Hunt’s Great Outdoors Lakeshore fabric in “Silver Cloud.” A custom ottoman and pillows are covered in Trina Turk’s bold “Sunglass Print” indoor-outdoor fabric from Schumacher.
Just off the sunroom, two shapely stools are parked under an enameled table. Zebra-base lamps are from Oly; the shell-frame mirror is from Made Goods. Cabinets in the wet bar behind are painted Benjamin Moore’s “White Dove.” A woven zinc mesh material adds interest to upper door fronts.
Gemes selected quiet colors and soft sand-colored fabrics that would enhance rather than detract from the picturesque setting. “What was going on outside was the focus,” Gemes says. “The views led us to monochromatic color schemes, all based around parchment, taupe, and pale grays.” In each room, graphic geometrics or updated toiles in sophisticated charcoal, gray, and chocolate hues make a statement without being fussy. Textures play a major role as well—nubby sisal and herringbone rugs, faux-shagreen tables, and shell mirror frames.
Artwork above the living room mantel is by Shinekia Thomas. The architect added built-in bookshelves that flank the Chesney stone fireplace.
“Everything is very laid-back, understated, comfy, and welcoming,” Gemes says, “which is very much who Kay is.”
“My house is a perfect reflection of me,” Kay agrees. “The house is primarily grays and taupes with a pop of color. That is really my wardrobe aesthetic and style—black, navy, neutrals with a pop of color in summer months. The fabrics are all geometrics and toiles, which also reflects my aesthetic: simple, yet make a statement.” Custom Ken Gemes club chairs upholstered in stylish bold dots punctuate the living room.
Awning-stripe Sunbrella fabric keeps seating relaxed on the patio near the sunroom and pool.
Written by Amy Elbert
Architect: McKee Patterson Austin Patterson Disston Architects, 376 Pequot Ave., P.O. Box 61, Southport, CT 06890; 203/255-4031, apdarchitects.com.
Interior design: Ken Gemes, Ken Gemes Interiors, 4 Sunny Brae Place, Bronxville, NY 10708; 914/779-7580,kengemes.com.