When a busy New York City couple found their perfect weekend location in Bedford, NY, they turned to designer Matthew Patrick Smyth to transform the former horse barn into a relaxed, yet elegant getaway for them to share with their young children. Throughout, peaceful hues and soft textures were key to adapting the approximately 8,000-square-foot house into a warm and inviting home-away-from-home. A varied mix of furnishings – carved, contemporary, antique and gilded – live together in perfect unison under the striking original raftered ceilings.
The choices were quite deliberate, with each piece and fabric selected to create depth and interest and to foster warmth amid the openness. Smyth also points to the Asian influence of some of the furnishings as adding to the overall sense of Zen. “We wanted to keep the character of the structure as part of our design concept,” the designer tells. “The mix is important in this house to create a sense of intimacy. The various textures work in balance to create a reassuring sense of comfort and home within the vast open spaces.”
Indeed, creamy hues and flowing fabrics in the master bedroom create a dreamy, gossamer sensation as light beams through the French doors. Meanwhile, the abundant windows and reflective surfaces in the sunroom mirror the surrounding nature, and the use of differing and subtly textured materials for the inner walls breaks up the height of the living area, virtually bringing the ceilings closer and lending a sense of intimacy. From space to space, the palette, textures and architectural details blend for a consistent, calming flow.
A move into the kitchen, however, marks the end of the rustic Zen luxury. Here, a clean and sleek contemporary kitchen awaits, though the palette is still distinctly peaceful in its use of white and steel paired with the neutral shade of the counters.
“The kitchen is more modern so as not to try to compete with or mimic the existing structure,” Smyth explains. “It
was best to let it stand on its own rather than try to make it be something it would never be. The look is very classic and timeless.”
As tradition has it, the kitchen acts as the home’s “command central,” with family and friends gathering here often. Smyth credits its popularity to the room’s perfect combination of light and open space.
Beyond the general popularity of the kitchen, the designer himself finds his favorite spot in the small seating area under the staircase.
“I love the fabrics and furnishings we chose,” he shares of the vignette. “It was a difficult space to make work, but it’s very inviting and has served my clients well.”
The same can be true of the remainder of his design, which gave this metropolitan family a peaceful hideaway from the hectic activities of their daily lives.
This project is featured in LIVING TRADITIONS: INTERIORS by Matthew Patrick Smyth, Section II “Plans”. The Monacelli Press
Classic style and impeccable attention to detail are hallmarks of the work of interior designer Matthew Patrick Smyth. His comfortable, timeless rooms are tailored to fit his clients’ personalities and lifestyles, whether they are dynamic young couples with children or cultured art collectors. Smyth masterfully blends contemporary pieces with antiques to endow each space with a sense of solidity and history while maintaining a completely fresh, modern sensibility.
Smyth credits his mentor David Easton for teaching him how to see the intrinsic value of any given piece and to successfully mix furnishings with similar lines, materials, and forms even when they are products of different centuries. Easton also embedded in Smyth a love for travel — leading to the designer’s devotion to all things French that permeates his work. Smyth opened his own firm in New York in 1987 and now works with clients around the globe. His designs — characterized by refined, flawless interior architecture — are seen in grand Shelter Island mansions, classically proportioned San Francisco townhouses, and demure Parisian pied-à-terres alike.
In this lavishly illustrated volume, Smyth reveals his own design tips, rules, and approaches to meeting challenges offered by uniquely shaped spaces. He focuses on editing collections to better showcase individual works, the personal nature of color selection, adding —or restoring — historical references, and finishing a space off with glorious, often unexpected fabrics and trims. Over two hundred color photographs showcase a wide variety of styles, from a nature-infused Aspen vacation home to the quintessential Upper East Side apartment to a London flat that smoothly blends its owner’s inherited collection of Renaissance art with fine Indian pieces.
PHOTOGRAPHY | JOHN GRUEN