With her collector’s eye and passion for beauty, a renowned decorator imbues her summer house with an artful grace.
BY MIMI READ (http://www.veranda.com/room-decorating/charlotte-moss-summer-house?src=email#slide-9)
A Great View
Twenty-five years ago, Charlotte Moss walked into an airy spec house with postmodern columns and track lighting. She had been looking for a captivating old East Hampton house and garden for years and couldn’t find the right one, so the real estate agent had finally started showing her new houses on bald lots.
But the siting of this one was sublime.
In the living room, oversize objects and symmetrical pairings anchor the soaring space. Ottoman, Colefax and Fowler Antiques. Mirror, estate of Tony Duquette. Sofa and club chair in a Brunschwig & Fils fabric by Charlotte Moss. French armchairs slipcovered in an Arabel Fabrics silk. Photographs, Charlotte Moss.
Warmth & Charm
“From the front door, I could immediately see right into the living room and out that big, beautiful window, all the way to the backyard,” Moss says. “I thought it was the antidote to city living.” She and her husband, Barry Friedberg, bought the house and have never looked back.
Imari lamps by Vaughan provide lighting for two areas where Moss often works: the Louis XV bureau plat on which they stand, and the sofa in front of it. Louis XV fauteuil in a Claremont fabric. Curtains in a Fabricut fabric..
Stacks of Books
A blue-chip decorator who has created some of the most comfortably elegant houses of our era, Moss is the sort of driven woman who dreams big but also attends to the tiniest details with the focus of a surgeon. These traits have gradually transformed the house into a full-blown paradise that’s quintessentially Charlotte, which is to say a cheerfully split personality.
Sofa, Restoration Hardware.
Collection of Antiques
It’s Jackie and Marilyn—a classically well-bred and meticulously turned-out summer residence, but with powerful come-hither enticements. A collage of engaging patterns, from ikat to leopard, enlivens the living room; a voluptuous canopy bed with billowing fabric softens the bedroom; and curvy upholstery throughout beckons like an invitation.
Every corner has been considered and filled, yet somehow it never looks fussy or cluttered. “I’m a collector,” Moss explains. “You know when you lock eyes with a person? I’ve been locking eyes with objects my entire life.”
The play of textures and hues in slight gradations warms up the dining room. 19th-century English lantern. Custom reclaimed-wood table. Louis XV fauteuils slipcovered in a Brunschwig & Fils fabric. Rug, Stark. Art, Rogers Turner.
The living room ceiling is a daunting 22 feet high, but Moss has suffused the salon-like expanse with outsize warmth and charm. A plump sofa is upholstered in Digby’s Tent, a scrolling linen stripe with a Middle Eastern lilt that she designed. Two antique French bergères are covered in raw silk slipcovers with tabs—they’re fetching little sundresses that let the mahogany frame peek through. “Why cover up the pretty parts?” Moss asks. “To me, it’s all about showing a little leg.”
In the kitchen, hardworking surfaces—granite countertops, a limestone tile floor—are enhanced by decorative flourishes, such as a scroll-shape backsplash and custom pendant light.
During cocktail hour, however, the real people magnet is the large gros point ottoman with long bullion fringe, where everyone seems to want to sit once the magazines are whisked away. Moss found it at Colefax and Fowler Antiques in London—an ecstatic moment in her annals of collecting. Since the large room doubles as a library, she spends hours there on quiet days, too, seated at the provincial bureau plat illuminated by a pair of richly patterned Imari lamps. She loves paging through her collection of garden books—20 or so packed shelves of them.
Antique French botanical paintings, porcelain flowers, and wallpaper in a delicate floral motif add romance to the master bedroom. Chandelier, Niermann Weeks. Bedside tables, Charlotte Moss for Century Furniture. Bed, estate of Evangeline Bruce. Canopy in a Ralph Lauren fabric. Rug, Stark.
Gardening is one of Moss’s consuming passions, and garden-related objects and themes are woven into every part of the house. Rooms have carefully composed garden views. The terrace’s dining table basks in a scenery of cloud-shape boxwood and spires of arborvitae. The master bedroom celebrates garden imagery with watercolors of flowers and porcelain hollyhocks by Moss’s friend Clare Potter.
In the flower room, Moss creates lush arrangements inspired by whatever flowers are in season.
Is it any wonder that in such a setting, the arranging of flowers would become the chatelaine’s art form, and even her therapy? In the intimate candlelit dining room, Moss’s delftware collection is massed on the shelves of a Louis XVI–style painted cabinet. She loves picking out jardinieres and composing tablescapes of flower arrangements. All the clipping and sprucing is done in a designated room off the leaf-green kitchen, where baskets are strung from the ceiling and a thousand vases are categorized according to material.
Entertaining moves outside during warmer months. China, Richard Ginori.
“It’s my wind-down from the city, the first place I go after I kick off my shoes,” says Moss of her flower-arranging sanctuary. “After all the business travel, the meetings, the clients and projects, making bouquets is heaven. It calms me down and connects me to the place, because I’m creating beauty for each room.”
A view of the gardens from the house.
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