Hamptons motel once owned by Donna Karan becomes A Room at the Beach
A Bridgehampton bungalow featuring a redwood forest planted by television personality Martha Stewart has been redesigned as a bohemian hideaway for summer beach seekers.
The boutique Hamptons hotel called A Room at the Beach opened in May, and is located less than three kilometres from the Atlantic in a popular New York holiday corridor.
Co-owners Charles Lemonides and Lucy Swift Weber designed the inn by revamping a 10-room cinder block structure with a storied history.
Through the early 1990s the building was the vacation home of American businesswoman and television personality Martha Stewart and daughter Alexis. They added two rows of towering redwoods on the 1.5-acre lot, which now form a signature trait of A Room at the Beach.
"We saw the trees from the road and that's what ultimately suckered us into the project," Lemonides told Dezeen.
For a brief time A Room at the Beach was also owned by American fashion designer Donna Karan and her daughter Gabby Karan de Felice, who made modifications to the guest room bathrooms and built an outdoor pool.
The single-storey hotel still boasts the original bungalow roof and structural footprint, but almost every other element was touched by the first-time hoteliers.
"Regulations in this area are super strict because we're losing cornfields and gaining ugly 'McMansions', which is tragic," said Weber.
"One of the things going for us was that we didn't want to expand the footprint, which saved us a headache with building permits and all that."
The bulk of updates by Lemonides and Weber were cosmetic, besides necessary plumbing upgrades and converting the laundry room into a dry sauna.
The duo also covered the bare cinder block facade with cedar wood, and built a wood patio that runs the length of the building.
Instead of partitioning the patio with each guest room, the space was kept fluid and "convivial" with Serena & Lily lounge furniture, antique bar sets and retro decor.
An original steel frame jutting from the roof will serve as a makeshift pergola with lanterns and budding vines.
"The idea there is to encourage guests to socialise, but each room also has access to a private courtyard in the back, which didn't exist before," Weber describes.
For the rear gardens, the couple worked with Charlie Marder, a Hamptons landscape architect who planted the Stewarts' giant redwoods 30 years earlier.
Seven of the guestrooms are uniform at five-by-five metres – the typical size of a mid-century motel room – while others are slightly more capacious.
Bathrooms sit behind sliding wood partitions and feature tadelakt plaster tubs or bluestone slab showers that open to the rear courtyard.
Weber's airy design is both beach-breezy and nostalgic, with personal touches like hand-picked tsotchkes and a watercolour of coastal Ireland painted by her grandmother. For the hotel's reception desk, Weber sourced the prop desk from Roger Sterling's office in the television show Mad Men.
"We really tried to make everything as nice as we could because we're fussy guests ourselves."
A Room at the Beach is among a number of motels reborn as boutique accommodation. Others in New York include the Scribner's Catskill Lodge, a 1960s motor lodge that was updated by Studio Tack.