Skip to main content
Features

Reinventing Beauty

David Kaufman, of Kaufman Segal Design, gives traditional a twist in a New Hampshire lakeside getaway.

Reinventing Beauty - Designer David Kaufman

David Kaufman, of Kaufman Segal Design, created this Shingle Style-inspired vacation home on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee for longtime clients, with the help of TMS Builders.

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.

Reinventing Beauty - Designer David Kaufman

Grounded with a rug from JD Staron through Kravet, this sitting area off the kitchen is a smorgasbord of sophisticated fabrics, from the Holland & Sherry pillows on the sofa to the easy chairs upholstered in Colefax and Fowler, through Cowtan & Tout. At the bar, stools by Hickory Chair are covered in leather by Kravet.

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.”

Reinventing Beauty - Designer David Kaufman

Left: The walnut-topped island, backsplash of handmade tiles, and bird-bedecked iron pendants add a rustic and whimsical aspect to the kitchen. Fixtures by House of Rohl add an old world look to the island.
Right: A substantial table and sexy chairs covered in leather—both from Kravet—make the dining room ready to go, day or night. They are complemented by Benjamin Moore’s Garden Path on the walls.

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.

Reinventing Beauty - Designer David Kaufman

Dressed in upholstery from Holland & Sherry, these relaxed wicker pieces from JANUS et Cie beg one to come in and kick back on this cozy sunporch, painted in Sea Star by Benjamin Moore.

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.

Reinventing Beauty - Designer David Kaufman

Left: The well-lit double vanity in the master bath is clad in a soothing shade of quartzite, with fixtures in nickel finish, and a backsplash by Artistic Tile.
Center: A richly patterned Kravet rug in a muted palette anchors the home office with its handsome partners desk and chairs covered in fabric by Pindler.
Right: An iron bench by Charleston Forge through J. Marshall Design is covered in leather from Kravet. The room is anchored by a rug from JD Staron through Kravet.