Seashells by the Seashore
John Barman creates a "by the sea" atmosphere for the Hampton Designer Showhouse.
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 8/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
The siena spirituality center at Villa Maria, a facility for mental and spiritual growth in Southampton, was built in 1887 as a private residence. But while the center was developing, the house, which had seen the turn of two centuries, was slowly falling apart. To help fund a much-needed restoration, the center presented the Hampton Designer Showhouse at Villa Maria, a fund-raising project involving 20 prominent interior design firms. The Villa Maria's 15 acres overlooking Mecox Bay provided an inspirational touch for all involved, particularly John Barman and Kelly Graham of New York-based John Barman Inc.
"We wanted the design to communicate a feeling of what the house was and its location," says design associate Kelly Graham of the firm's design for the house's bar/pantry area. "A sense of being by the sea. Once we decided the central decorative motif was going to be seashells, we built on it step by step."
Here, a Clarence House seashell-patterned fabric was paper-backed and used as wallpaper throughout the 300-sq.-ft. space. The color palette evolved naturally—beiges, blues, and reds were used for the cabinetry and the floor. Mosaic tiling on the floor commemorated the year the structure was originally built and 2001, the year of its triumphant rebirth. But this "by the sea" theme was best encapsulated by the room's centerpiece—a mirror framed by massive, randomly placed seashells.
"It's almost as if the shells had washed up on the shore," says Graham.