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Defining the Style of the North Fork

Interior design is a highly personal choice that doesn’t just define the characteristics of a home, but of the homeowner as well. The role of a designer is to determine what their client’s wants and needs are, how a space should function, and how to bring all of the necessary elements together to create something that is beautiful and reflective of their own personality. Finding the balance between form and function is a challenge and an art, and something most aspire to when creating a living space. Each with their own definitive style, interior designers are sharing what trends define the North Fork.

Caitlin Flynn and Elyse Parkhurst are the women behind North Fork Design Co. Sharing their love for the North Fork’s casual, laidback vibe, they say there’s a sense of community and local flair that draws people in. Their aesthetic ranges from modern farmhouse to coastal modern, industrial to traditional, and is frequently influenced by the surrounding agricultural landscape.

“While we try to avoid being too ‘trendy,’” Flynn says. “We’re always happy to stay current with how others are approaching design challenges. Design like many things is cyclical, and therefore ‘trends’ are ever evolving – it is probably something that has been done before but now it’s being incorporated in a new fresh way!”

North Fork Design Co. has seen a rise in homeowners asking for colorful kitchens and built-in cabinetry, though the white kitchen remains strong. Kitchen islands offer more of an opportunity to add interest through color or wood tone. Flynn and Parkhurst gravitate toward gray tones as a neutral color, though they have found some are moving toward warmer whites for their neutral base. Something they really love is mixing metal tones like brass and matte black, or brass and polished nickel.

“We like to bring in unique accents that can be added using hardware, lighting, a piece of antique furniture, along with rustic elements,” Parkhurst shares of the duo’s style. “This paired with light and bright wall colors, and lots of textural elements such as nubby linen, woven hand knotted rugs, distressed wood, painted brick, shiplap etc. creates a very ‘North Fork’ space.”

Maureen McDermott of Winter McDermott and Tina Ramchandani of Tina Ramchandani Creative had the opportunity to work on a Shelter Island home together, each bringing their own unique perspective to the project. The pair agree that the most important aspect of approaching a project is to truly understand the client and their needs, learning how they want their homes to function. As for the style of the East End, they are in agreement here as well.

“The East End is all about easy casual living and the outdoors,” McDermott says. “There’s a calmness that I always try to evoke in all interiors that lets people relax and spend quality time with friends and family. Shelter Island is even more multiplied as it’s far removed and a real escape for clients.”

Adding to that, Ramchandani explains the East End is often a retreat for clients from their hectic Manhattan lives. “We try to create tranquil environments where clients can enjoy time with family and friends while relaxing at home,” she says. “On Shelter Island, we incorporated subtle, beach front elements with various shades of white and off white. Mixing tones of blue and teal also helped bring the oceanside in.”

2018 trends include mixed metals – a personal favorite of McDermott’s – bold colors, and maximalism, though the latter is not something she does. Though trends are fun to bring in, she feels East End interiors should be more timeless. “Mixed metals are my favorite,” McDermott shares. “It always adds an amazing touch to any tranquil space without going too far.”

Ramchandani has seen floral prints, immersion of color, and artisan and interesting lighting fixtures as growing trends. “Light fixtures are a great way to add personality to a space and finding interesting pieces can really bring the space to life,” the designer explains. “I personally lean towards artisan light fixtures as they optimize uniqueness, craftsmanship and complexity.”

Though Bakes & Kropp focuses mainly on projects from the Hamptons into New York City, the firm offers a unique perspective on interior design as they specialize in custom cabinetry. Company president Robert Bakes hails from the UK and has years of experience as an owner and operator of a kitchen design studio in central London, a career that has served him well on the East End.

“The North Fork is more of a year-round residence community and as such perhaps the projects are more geared to that as opposed to summer living,” Bakes explains. “Cabinet design really controls the space in that the activity centers of the original working triangle still exist, albeit that there are additional considerations these days. The kitchen is more of a community center; there’s simply more going on in today’s kitchen.”

As for what is trending this year in terms of kitchen design, Bakes see a move toward a transitional and contemporary feel. His company has developed a style of cabinetry door called “Revelane” that is clean and sleek, as well as a blended concept called “Cucina” that is reminiscent of European styling with a hint of soft balance. These Bakes & Kropp innovations lend themselves to the overall finished space their clients are looking for.

“As a space and function designer, kitchen designers have to be both,” Bakes says. “We look at the movement between activity centers and the balance between them. Flow and pattern is important and is never compromised for the sake of ‘design.’”

While trends come and go, the North Fork continues to redefine itself in terms of interior design. There is often a classic look and feel that honors the agricultural and coastal environment that draws people to the area, as well as welcomed modernity. As 2018 progresses, we’re eager to see how North Forkers, both new and seasoned, come to create their living spaces.