Interior designer Jaimie Baird puts a fresh spin on an East Hampton beach cottage for the CEO of SoulCycle and her active family.
A capiz shell chandelier hangs over Belgian track arm couches in Sand, both from RH
When Tribeca residents Melanie and David Whelan first pulled down the hedge-lined driveway of a charming, gray-shingled cottage in East Hampton, they immediately knew they had stumbled across the ideal beach home for their weekend and holiday sojourns from the city. The secluded property had everything the young, successful couple (and parents of two) needed: plenty of peace and quiet paired with an elevated yet casual space to host their friends and family year-round. An added bonus? They could play sports in the sizeable yard, ride bikes to the beach and hear the soothing sounds of the ocean waves at night.
A Shaws white porcelain farmhouse apron front sink
“As soon as we purchased the home, we wanted to make it our own,” says Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle. “David and I have pretty intense schedules, so we really wanted to create a sanctuary where we could be comfortable with our kids and friends.” To carry out their vision, she and her husband enlisted the help of longtime New York photographer/interior designer Jaimie Baird (jaimiebaird.com)—known for translating her passion for color and texture she sees through her lens into a serene space—along with Sag Harbor-based builder Dennis Corcoran. The overall goal was to create a timeless coastal escape boasting modern, casual living environs filled with an abundance of natural light; a neutral palette punctuated by pops of color, organic materials and vintage pieces; and, most importantly, a high level of comfort and functionality.
The couple needed lots of room to cook and entertain, so an eight-person island was installed with Cancos Bianco imperial marble.
First on the to-do list were significant changes to the kitchen area, which is key to the pair, who love to cook and entertain. The result: a stunning yet comfortable culinary center showcasing a massive island that seats eight and also serves as a setting for the kids’ Lego and art projects. Next up was making sure the bay windows in the living room and master bedroom had deep window seats for reading, relaxing and napping, complete with built-in drawers for storing pillows and blankets. A master bath by the back door was converted into a shower room for rinsing off after a day at the beach.
Roberta Roller Rabbit and John Robshaw duvet and pillows go with a Ralph Lauren coverlet.
Among the couple’s favorite parts of the design? The bleached oak flooring that lightens up the entire space and the restrained palette that serves as a great canvas for art, flowers and pillows. But the pièce de résistance is the massive great room, replete with a soaring ceiling sporting exposed beams; vintage, indigo-striped armchairs ideal for cuddling up with coffee and a book; a stunning Moroccan rug; and warm, inviting surroundings that lend themselves to games, movies and reading by the fire. “The great room is my favorite—this massive room has 25-foot ceilings resembling a rustic barn, but it was a yellow pine disaster, so we washed all the exposed beams and ceiling in a light grey wash,” Baird says.
“This home by the beach is refreshingly calm and serene with its natural light and neutral palette,” designer Jaimie Baird says.
“Jaimie really exceeded our every expectation,” says Melanie, who met the designer at a kids’ play date. “When I arrived for Thanksgiving, and she’d moved everything in for us, I called her crying, so grateful for all she’d done for our home and our family. Her creativity, passion, eye for detail and willingness to share ideas led to an amazing finished product.”
A Burl Darby coffee table sourced from Anthropologie with a vintage indigo chair by Juxtaposition Home.
Vintage Moroccan rug in living room abchome.com
Bunny Gray paint in bedroom, Light Blue paint in kids’ room
Faucets in kitchen
Custom console table in foyer etsy.com/shop/livenUPdesign
Bunk beds by Land of Nod in a kids’ room painted in a Benjamin Moore color.
Photography by: Jaimie Baird