As long-time fans of Bradley Stephens of Stephens Design Group, we were thrilled that he recently chose to use several of our latest rugs for a new project in the Hamptons. Born in Texas and living in New York City, Bradley’s personal style is quintessentially all American. He has a keen appreciation for artisan finishes and high-end craftsmanship, and is not afraid to mix high and low. Because of a personal, collaborative approach to working with each client he is well versed in a variety of design aesthetics and time periods. Bradley’s talent, versatility, and energetic personality have lead to rave reviews and high profile clients.
The perfect summertime getaway with the style of a Manhattan townhouse, the Harbor’s Edge penthouse is an eclectic blend of refined and relaxed. Bradley gave us the scoop on his daily inspirations and how he translated his experience to this Hamptons getaway.
Where did you start when designing for Harbor’s Edge?
My process typically starts with an extensive dialogue with the client. Floor plans are put aside so they don’t instinctively start making assumptions about what’s possible. With open minds, we talk through their requirements and goals room-by-room, cataloging the client’s history, lifestyle and preferences along the way. The resulting trove of information forms the foundation of our design for the client, and allows us to tailor the project to their personality and aspirations. This level of engagement allows my clients to co-author the design, and inevitably leads to a successful, rewarding collaborative working experience.
At Harbor’s Edge, we decorated the Penthouse as if someone truly lived there, and curated the space with a mixture of furniture and accessories that could have been collected through years of travel. We based the design on the standards set by many of our Manhattan-based clients. The Hamptons homes that I design are a clear reflection of my clients’ personas. They are elegant, sophisticated and meticulously planned. But I get to translate their taste for urban refinement into a beach-chic vocabulary.
Describe the type of client you could see falling in love with this space.
I’m guessing the sweeping water views and gorgeous sunsets at Harbor’s Edge have a broad demographic. But I also like to think that attention to details and an invitingly eclectic design approach to the Penthouse will have a strong universal appeal. It has the potential of being the perfect fit for a client that is looking for a home with urban sophistication, but nestled into the relaxed atmosphere of Sag Harbor.
What kind of a role did our rugs play in your design process?
The crucial quality for a successful Hamptons home is a feeling of effortlessness. The best design deftly balances curated furnishings and blue-chip artwork with the easy comfort of flip-flops and ice cream. Merida is a natural fit because the refinement of their rugs adds an unmistakable foundation of quality and craftsmanship to my designs. I indulge my clients with rustic-luxe textiles paired with French-polished Deco furniture and sculptural modern lighting usually reserved for Park Avenue duplexes. I love pairing these elegant pieces with easy-going counterpoints like natural fiber rugs, sumptuous tufted wool, and tailored flat weaves. Timelessness is a cornerstone of my design approach, and Merida’s exquisite collections deftly transcend eras, styles, and locales.
Was there a particular vignette that you felt was especially effective?
The material palette of the living room fireplace and custom built-in cabinetry is one of my favorite moments in the Penthouse. The bookshelves and paneling create a backdrop of cerused European oak and recessed panels of natural willow-screen, framing a sleek, modern fireplace bordered by a slab of marble. The shelves are curated from my accessories collection, Evermore Shop, to echo the color and texture of jewel-toned sunsets, blossoming flowers, and shimmering water. All of this was inspired by the unique location and mesmerizing views over the harbor.
What is your first creative design memory?
My childhood was spent creating. I was obsessed with building structures and interiors to the last detail with whatever I could find in the house or garage. If I imagined a five-star restaurant, every pot and dish had to be in place – care of my Mother’s kitchen. My poor parents! I have always been fanatical about planning and executing what I set my mind to. I’m lucky to have a career devoted to dreaming and building on an epic scale.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
I’m fortunate to have an international clientele, and relish the opportunity to shop European auction houses and flea markets. I am inspired by romantic, historic cities that buzz with modernity. There is nothing I love more than exploring the endless design resources of Paris and London, and discovering unique furniture, artwork and accessories for my new online home furnishings collection, EvermoreShop.com.
What is one thing you cannot live without?
While I love the excitement of New York City and the allure of the Hamptons, I simply cannot live without weekend escapes with my partner and our English Bulldog to Rockwater, our country home in rural Litchfield County, CT.