K O`Sullivan - kevin o`sullivan + associates

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K O`Sullivan - kevin o`sullivan + associates
hamptons cottages & gardens july 1, 2015
COTTAGESGARDENS.COM | JULY 1, 2015
EXCLUSIVE!
cottagesgardens.com
MATT AND
ANNETTE LAUER
AT BRIGHT
SIDE FARM
THE
ART
OF
LIVING
ART-FILLED
ABODE
What Lies Within
Bluestone pavers
and an allée of linden
trees draw the eye
toward the front door
of an Amagansett
home designed
by East Hampton–
based architect
Kevin O’Sullivan.
See Resources.
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Plaid meets Prada when Scottish-born architect Kevin
O’Sullivan designs a home for art-loving clients in Amagansett
BY MICHAEL LASSELL | PHOTOGRAPHS BY TRIA GIOVAN
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W
hen we met our clients,”
recalls Hamptonsbased architect Kevin
O’Sullivan, “we had
no idea that they had
a spectacular collection of modern art.” And his clients
had no idea that the man they were trusting to design
their four-bedroom home had once been accepted to pursue painting and sculpture at the prestigious Edinburgh
College of Art in his native Scotland.
O’Sullivan met his clients in 2010, when he and his
husband, businessman Jim Thomas, briefly put their
10,000-square-foot Amagansett home, which O’Sullivan
designed, on the market. “She came in with her husband,”
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the architect recalls, “completely glamorous, dressed all in
Prada. We just called her the Prada Lady after that.”
Two years after the men had taken the house off the market, the Prada Lady and her husband offered to buy it, but
the couple had already agreed to sell the sprawling modern
home to someone who knocked on the door and made an
offer they couldn’t refuse. “So I said, ‘Why don’t you let me
design a house for you?’” O’Sullivan recalls. He knew just
the place for it, a two-acre plot right around the corner.
Working with colleagues Luke Ferran, an architect originally from Southampton, and Anastasia Ovtchinnikova, an
interior designer who was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia,
O’Sullivan began creating a site plan for the house, slated
for the top of a knoll. “I love a hilly location,” O’Sullivan
july 1, 2015
Artful Affair
The foyer (opposite)
features The Identified
Flying Object, a Roy
Lichtenstein-like paper
airplane sculpture, and
Duchamp on Pepsi,
both works by Pakpoom
Silaphan, in addition
to a piece by Ellsworth
Kelly and a Josef Albers
table. In the living room
(above), an Yves Klein
Table Bleue is flanked
by a vintage Pierre
Paulin Ribbon chair and
a pair of Hans Wegner
Papa Bear chairs.
See Resources.
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says. “It makes it easier to cut up the volumes of a house
and avoid that monster McMansion look.” Known for
bringing the outdoors into his projects, he also considered
the surrounding landscape, which includes 420 acres of
adjacent reserve. “In the Hamptons, outdoor rooms are a
way of life. It’s something I got very accustomed to while
I was working in Asia after university.”
O’Sullivan made deft use of materials to minimize
the transitions between the various volumes. “The pool
deck and the floor of the adjacent interior rooms are both
travertine,” he explains, noting that it’s his favorite flooring, in this case “filled for the interior and unfilled for the
exterior, which makes it less slippery underfoot.”
The interior color palette also comes from nature. “The
dominant hue is the gray bark of the beech trees on the
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property,” he says. “Picking up the colors of the native vegetation, and the liberal use of glass, makes the rooms seem
much bigger than they actually are.”
O’Sullivan’s brand of modernism runs deep, and was
not popular while he was studying in tradition-bound
Edinburgh (his parents having rerouted him from the
fine arts to architecture). “I was all Zaha Hadid,” he
remembers, “and the faculty were all 16th-century castles.
The current Thane of Cawdor was one of my classmates.
My dean suggested I find something else to do with
my life.” Undaunted, O’Sullivan landed himself a prized
internship year at Michael Hopkins and Associates, one
of Britain’s top practices. The first project he worked on
was the now-renowned Glyndebourne Opera House.
After five years at a firm in Singapore, he finally made it
Morning Glory
Brass and copper Jo
Hammerborg pendants
float above the
kitchen’s teak island
(above), which features
a Basaltina waterfall
countertop from Stone
Source; the island and
floor-to-ceiling white
lacquer cabinets were
custom designed by
O’Sullivan. The adjacent
family room (opposite) is
lined in a Phillip Jeffries
wallpaper and features
a collection of Blenko
glass on teak and
lacquer shelves. See
Resources.
to New York, getting a job with Gwathmey Siegel. “I’d
always wanted to live in the U.S.,” he says, and eventually made his stay a permanent one when he opened
his own company in the city, in 2001. By 2008, he was
working so much on Long Island that he decided to
move to the East End. “When I started, we were doing
apartments and townhouses in Manhattan, and clients
often asked us to do their homes in the Hamptons.
Now we do homes out here and clients ask us to do
their apartments in town.”
Much of the furniture for this residence came with
the clients, including signature 20th-century pieces like
the living room’s vintage Papa Bear chairs by Hans
Wegner, circa 1950, and an iconic Yves Klein cocktail table from a decade later. The kitchen features a
Saarinen table and Tulip chairs; the dining room a Paul
Evans–inspired wooden credenza, positioned under a
wall sculpture by British art star Keith Milow.
The art collection figured into the plan right from
the first sketches. “When you’re designing a house
that is going to showcase serious art, you need to
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Pedigreed Pieces
The library (above)
features Pierre
Paulin Mushroom
chairs and ottomans
upholstered in their
original Knoll fabric,
along with a metaland-glass cocktail
table by Sol LeWitt.
The Edward Wormley
sofa is covered in
Knoll’s Brugge in
Flemish. In the dining
room (near left and
opposite), an iron,
resin, and fiberglass
sculpture by Keith
Milow hangs above a
Paul Evans–inspired
wooden credenza,
while a sputnik
chandelier illuminates
a shagreen table by
Karl Springer and
a painting by Carol
Hunt. See Resources.
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Carefully Curated
A substantial portion
of the clients’ art
collection hangs in
the home’s lowerlevel gallery (far
left), where pieces
are displayed in
rotation next to a
circa-1800 French
gilt desk and
leather-upholstered
chairs. In the master
bedroom (near
left), a canvas by
Carol Hunt hangs
above a verre
églomisé console.
The master bath’s
“floating” shower of
glass and Carrara
marble (below) has
a verdant view
and Jeff Koons’s
Puppy (Vase) as a
companion piece.
See Resources.
“Picking up
the colors of
the native
vegetation makes
the rooms seem
much bigger”
coordinate it with the architecture, decor, and
furnishings,” says O’Sullivan, who even built in
certain features to accommodate specific works, like
a niche in the entry hall for a Pakpoom Silaphan
paper-airplane sculpture.
“Typically,” O’Sullivan adds, “my earliest schematics show furniture placement, but in this case
they also show art. The interior elevation drawings
indicate where to hang the important pieces, so
when the art installation folks came in, they had a
place to start.” On the lower level, O’Sullivan also
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“I love a hilly location.
It makes it easier to cut up the
volumes and avoid that monster
McMansion look”
Viewing Pleasure
In the outdoor
courtyard (this
spread), a chimney
of South Bay Quartz
adds contrast to a
quartet of vintage
Richard Schultz
armchairs (left) and
a bust of MarieAntoinette. Travertine
marble surrounds
the pool (above); the
umbrellas are from
Pottery Barn and the
chaise longues (some
of them arrayed on a
sunken terrace within
the pool) are also
Schultz designs. See
Resources.
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provided the house with its own gallery, where the clients display a constantly changing selection from their
impressive collection, as well as a spa, a gym, and a guest
suite, adding another 2,200 square feet to the 4,300 on
the main floor.
The Prada Lady’s input was cause for some “lively discussion,” O’Sullivan allows. “She brought in two yellow
Pierre Paulin chairs for the library, and I hate yellow, but
I have to admit that they look quite good. And she found
the Jo Hammerborg brass and copper pendants for the
kitchen on eBay. We had to rewire them, because they
weren’t UL approved, but they’re great.”
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan himself now lives in a house on
Main Street in East Hampton that was built in 1770—a
far cry from his of-the-moment aesthetic. “I know it
sounds crazy for a modern architect, but I really enjoy it,”
he says. “There are all kinds of historic details that inspire
me, and I even adapt them in my work.” And that’s a lesson his university tutors would most certainly approve. ✹
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