Video: Watch Two Designers Transform a Hamptons Vacation Home

The shoppable 2Michaels Design room at Holiday House Hamptons. Photo by John Muggenborg.

If there were a Venn Diagram that analyzed what made a successful designer show house, then Holiday House Hamptons would sit at the dead center. First, there’s location. This year’s iteration of the popular showcase occupies a brand-new, 18-million-dollar manse in the tony Long Island enclave of Water Mill. Secondly, there’s mission. Since Holiday House’s founding in 2008, all proceeds from both the New York and Hamptons editions have gone to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (founder and chair Iris Danker is a 19-year survivor of the disease). Finally, there’s design acumen. In addition to boasting a roster of design talent that includes Thom Filicia, Robert Stillin and Vicente Wolf, Holiday House Hamptons has teamed up with 1stdibs and 2Michaels Design to create a one-of-kind shoppable room.

2Michaels is the New York City-based firm created by twin sisters Jayne and Joan Michaels in 2001. The duo’s residential and commercial projects — fresh, livable, modern spaces — emphasize collaboration between clients and the designers, and made them ideal candidates to tackle the redecoration of the show house’s former gym and sauna rooms. Using pieces sourced from top 1stdibs dealers, 2Michaels created a serene, neutral-hued sitting room filled with pieces by blue-chip designers like Pierre Paulin, Gae Aulenti and Poul Kjærholm. But the Michaels sisters also have a more poignant link to the Hamptons Holiday House: their mother Beatrice was a breast cancer victim, and the inspiration for their room.

We spent a week documenting the transformation of the 2Michaels room, watching it go from an unfinished white box to a fully realized aesthetic statement. The result? All of the hard work of redecoration, distilled into a 30-second time-lapse film. Watch it below, then learn more about 2Michaels’ process in our short Q&A and shop your favorite items from the room in our special Holiday House Hamptons collection.

Tell us about the items in the room. What drew you to them? What worked well in the space?

Women today have to be both tough and compassionate, sharp yet gentle, decisive yet playful. The concept of our room is informed by this tension between the masculine and feminine. Each item in our room was carefully chosen with those ideas and challenges in mind. The black Edgard Pillet desk from Magen H Gallery is magnificent. The dynamic shape has rounded corners and graphic lines — it commands the room with a quiet strength. We were immediately attracted to the sensuous design of the Pierre Paulin settee from Todd Merrill.  The voluptuous curves and low profile are somehow soothing and nurturing yet remains solid and powerful. The 1950s eye sconce from L’Art de Vivre is both humorous and haunting. It’s a reminder to never take ourselves too seriously.

What was your general inspiration for the room? 

Our mother Beatrice Michaels was the inspiration for our room. She died of breast cancer when we were 21. We imagined this as an office for her, and the space captures her complex nature. She had an artist’s soul but, as a divorced woman with three children to raise, she had to be strong and resourceful. Her ethics, her kindness, her generosity of spirit and wisdom continue to motivate us. In her honor, all of the artworks in the room are either by a female artist or a depiction of a woman.

Our mother faced her breast cancer diagnosis with dignity and fortitude. The cancer was an aggressive type and she died five years after first being diagnosed. She retained in inner radiance until the day she died.

Were there any particular challenges about the space or the project? If yes, how did you solve for them? 

One wall had a built-in cabinet and bathroom door that were not in keeping with our vision for the room. We created a series of panels that covered the cabinet and provided a “secret” door to the bathroom.

Why is Holiday House a unique and important organization? 

Most people have been touched by breast cancer. It’s a disease that does not discriminate and strikes one in eight women. One in thirty six women will die from breast cancer. It’s time to find a cure. Working with Holiday House has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our career. Our mother is smiling down at us.

Holiday House Hamptons presented by Hamptons Cottages & Gardens is open now through July 26. For tickets and more information, visit their website

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