Tour a Scandi-Style Beach House in Bridgehampton

In January 2023, a Swedish art collector swooped in just in time to put a personal touch on a new Bridgehampton residential project by developer Joe Farrell—a modernist manse overlooking a beach reserve. “Our timing was perfect to create a Scandinavian beach house instead,” says the new homeowner, who tasked her longtime friend, New York designer and AD PRO Directory member Monica Fried, with fast-tracking the Nordic-inspired residence in time for the looming summer.

“Since we got to shortcut the design process and dive straight into the details, we had to make a lot of decisions on the fly,” says Fried. But it all turned out for the best. “Even if we had three years, not six months, to belabor our choices, it may not have turned out any better.”

Earthy and elegant with plenty of barefoot breeziness, the coastal retreat exudes a sense of peaceful permanence, bereft as it is of the patchwork hallmarks that usually characterize a rush job. While most of the design was already fully baked into the existing blueprints, Fried and the homeowner were able to add the veritable onslaught of natural oak millwork required, perhaps by Nordic decree, to qualify as “Scandi” design.

While the planetary popularity of this aesthetic movement has successfully intersected other cultural styles (see Japandi), its core values remain, in the words of the Stockholm-born homeowner, “simple, functional, and down to earth.” These also happen to be the ideal conditions for displaying art. Since blank spaces hold ambient and aesthetic value in Scandinavian design, art doesn’t maximally crowd the home. As such, the pieces—“I just collect what I like,” says the homeowner—are free to take up voids entirely (as in Amy Myers’s mesmerizing entryway canvas, an ethereal, kaleidoscopic vision), or not (a figurative dreamscape by Laura Berger anchors the primary bedroom despite its modest size).

Fried sourced mostly prêt furniture and decor from the likes of 1stDibs and Chairish, plus local Hamptons boutiques like The 1818 Collective and Shop by Marie-Christine, to hasten summer readiness. Considering the homeowner’s big family—she shares the vacation house with her financier husband, three athletic sons, plus one big-boned mastiff—and concomitant social circles, opportunities for dallying and discourse are pragmatisms on par with having a roof overhead and doors that close. Such easygoing essentials include U-shaped sofas in the living room and the adjacent “flex room.” The latter, so-named on the developer’s plans for its unassigned versatility, has since assumed the identity of a game room, the place to go for billiards and beverages within the home’s recreational repertoire, which includes a lap pool and rooftop mini golf. “There’s really no reason to leave the house,” says the homeowner.

Also by unofficial Nordic decree, a certain measure of cocooning is a requirement of Scandi design, and may seem like a daunting prospect for a 10,000-square-foot residence. While the sumptuous oak millwork imparts warmth and intimacy, Fried’s multifaceted approach to modernism, from her thoughtful art placements to her keen eye for mixing eras, contributes to the home’s aforementioned sense of permanence.

For example, the living room is, says the designer, “full of juxtapositions that keep the space fresh yet enduring,” from a reissue of a spherical 1970s Esfera swivel chair to the gemlike faceting of a present-day RBS Nopal floor lamp from Egg Collective. The hotel-style, Art Deco–inspired bar, with its fluted oak facing, smoky mirrored backsplash, and marble bar top, feels so integral to the game room, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t part of the original plans.

Fried’s subtler design devices provide a quiet depth to the shoreline sanctuary, like when she attuned the sensual curves of the Laura Berger painting in the primary bedroom to the carved articulations of the Casey Johnson nightstands. Or when she unwittingly reprised the Tetris-like base of the vintage limestone table in the entryway with polyomino sconces by Studio Van Den Akker elsewhere in the residence. For the designer, creating such a measured tableau from such a high-tempo timeline feels triumphant. “The house has a beautiful rhythm to it,” Fried says.

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