On a trip to Paris’s Maison et Objet, our co-founders Julie and Francesca crossed paths with Mona Nerenberg, owner of Bloom in Sag Harbor, NY, a cult-favorite shop filled with Swedish antiques and white ceramics (now in its 18th year). Noting that the Gardenista team had been to her Hamptons home to admire the deer fencing—Mona is married to landscape designer Lisa Bynon—she invited us back to take a proper look inside.
Mona and Lisa live in a 19th-century shingled house that came untouched—and with a falling-down fish market attached to the kitchen. The two met as students at the Parson’s School of Design and have a shared aesthetic that’s all about poetic objects, a black-and-white palette, and not a lot of stuff. Others may have been deterred by the the jungle of vines and colony of bats that had overtaken the residence, but they vowed to keep the gracious center-hall layout as is and approached the remodel as an unveiling .
Their friend interior designer Mark Cunningham, a former VP of creative services at Ralph Lauren, who had joined Mona on early buying trips for Bloom (and with Sam Hamilton co-founded the great SF design emporium March), stepped in to orchestrate. Working in close collaboration, each contributed key elements: Lisa and her crew extended the house’s beadboard paneling in strategic spots, Mona supplied Pierre Jeanneret chairs and apple matting from Bloom, and Mark pulled it all together, new two-story kitchen included. Join us for a tour of a standout Hamptons classic.
The house is in the hamlet of North Sea—the nearest beach is a quick bike ride away—and was built by a family in the Blue Book of the Hamptons. Mona and Lisa are only the third owners.
During the garden off-season, Lisa and her landscape team matched the existing beadboard paneling on the upper walls and ceiling. The room’s centerpiece is an old marble-topped ceramic artist’s table still chalky with clay. Mona tells us “I really don’t like much, in fact I hate just about everything,” but adds she’s ever on the lookout for pieces like the table.
More Astier de Villatte fills the cabinet: a romantic vine-covered shed in the back of Bloom is devoted solely to the French ceramics.
In the years since the house was complete, Mark has opened his own NYC showroom, Marked, and been named to world’s best designer lists: “We were so lucky to have him,” says Mona, “Mark is in another league now.”
When we come across a design store we admire, we often ask if we can follow the owner home. Here are three more shopkeepers with inspired homes: