David Kaufman, of Kaufman Segal Design, gives traditional a twist in a New Hampshire lakeside getaway.
Lucky the designer whose clients know what they want—and realize they don’t know everything. Not all projects hit that happy medium, but when they do, the experience is better all around, and can often lead to repeat business. David Kaufman of Chicago’s Kaufman Segal Design has had his share of serial projects with clients, including this impressive weekend home on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee
Having worked previously with the homeowners on residences in Chicago and New York, Kaufman was more than ready to collaborate when they turned to him to make their newly built New England property a real home away from home. Taking a cue from the great Shingle Style retreats of the past, the soberly handsome house—designed by New Hampshire’s TMS Architects—is replete with the kind of traditional details (attractive fireplaces, window seats, built-in bookcases, a commodious sun porch) that can make it easy to linger inside, even on the nicest of days. Especially because of the way Kaufman has kitted it out.
Not surprisingly, Kaufman’s clients wanted this rustic getaway to immediately express an air of relaxed comfort. At the same time, they were looking to keep these interiors in a fairly traditional mode. “My clients are very formal in their aesthetic,” shares Kaufman, who has executed residential projects across the country, from Aspen to Delray Beach, “and a lot of the furniture we used had traveled from Chicago to their New York apartment to New Hampshire. So, the challenge was to work with these existing pieces—to reinvent them—and achieve a casual look from this quite formal furniture.”
Kaufman negotiated the traditional profile of the client’s furnishings by incorporating fabrics and hues that generated a muted look. “Most of the textiles we selected have no sheen to them” he says. “For example, we always start with a rug and build a room from there, and the rug we specified for the main living area is wool and has a very flat weave. Most of the textiles we’ve used have no silk, no sheen to them, and therefore create a more casual vibe.”
The homeowners have a taste for French style furniture—roomy fauteuils and Louis XVI occasional chairs—which Kaufman made right at home in checks and stripes. A pair of chairs from the couple’s New York bedroom were relieved of their peach silk upholstery and garbed in an easygoing woven fabric. An oh-so-proper sofa in an English mode was loosened up with an almost nubby textile in steely blue. “We took the same approach when it came to things like tile, opting for a matte finish,” notes Kaufman. “The backsplash in the kitchen has a rough texture and not quite perfect quality, which works to support the casual character the client was after.”
“Our task… was to create interiors where you are not afraid to come in from the lake and sit down.” —David Kaufman, Kaufman Segal Design
The dining room exemplifies the trad- casual balancing act Kaufman performed as he brought these interiors into focus. Open to the kitchen and surrounded by windows, the space is a far cry from the kind formal dining room one might expect in a home of this architectural bearing. But it had to work comfortably for everyday meals, as well as for dinner parties. To strike the right note, Kaufman sourced all new product, going a tad vernacular with a heavy-limbed trestle table and offering a certain chic with buttoned up chairs from Kravet.
This is a house with a space for just about everything, from quiet corners to settle in with a book, to a family room complete with pool table. But if there is one spot in the home that really captures the essence of lakeside living, it’s the multi-purpose sunporch. Framed by glass-fronted built-ins on one wall and a massive, rough-hewn hearth on the other, with a prow of large windows projecting into the landscape, the space is capped by a substantial coffered ceiling. Outfitted with a glass-topped dining table (popular for morning coffee) and informal wicker sofas, the space does the lake house tradition proud. The architectural formality of the room is underscored by Kaufman’s choice of Benjamin Moore’s 466 Garden Path for the paneled walls, while the earth tone fabrics on the laidback seating inject that essential casual note. “Our task.” summarizes Kaufman, “was to blend this desire for formality into a very casual setting, to create interiors where you are not afraid to come in from the lake and sit down. I think we’ve done that.” And how.