A Family Affair
When world-renowned interior designer Campion Platt and his wife, internet entrepreneur Tatiana, bought their modest two-bedroom Water Mill house in 2005 they intended to tear it down and “build a beautiful modern glass house.” Instead they focused their creative energies on renovating their winter home in Palm Beach.
When they started popping out babies — they have three children together (ages eight, seven and six), and Campion has a child from a previous relationship — it made sense to keep the abode, built in 1957, pretty much as is. But then Hurricane Sandy hit and badly damaged the structure. “We were forced into a renovation after heavy flooding,” says Campion. The couple created a full ground floor with two bedrooms, outdoor shower, fire pit, sunporch and children’s playhouse. They also opened rooms so as to take advantage of the glorious vistas of Burnett Creek, a picturesque finger off Mecox Bay.
They moved the master bedroom into the old ground floor garage (where they still keep their JEEP come winter), and installed a windowed garage door for splendid cattail views. Faux birch wallpaper lines the headboard wall on which they have hung a pair of kaleidoscopic photographs by their good friend Dagmara Weinberg.
All three kids share an enormous room behind the master where toys abound and curtains can be drawn for privacy. “Everyone is very happy downstairs because it’s close to the outdoor shower, which is our favorite room in the house,” says Campion. “Our guests have the run of the upstairs.” And they’ve been known to sleep 11 people.
“Upstairs” is actually not a second story, but is entered at street level from the front fire pit, a coz
y outdoor enclave where the family spends mild evenings toasting s’mores and warming toes. The Platts lined the area with Turkish marble, which is easier on the feet than bluestone, and easy on the eyes with its cloudy grain. The pit also happens to collect a lot of solar warmth. “For Thanksgiving and Christmas we will sit by the fire for sure.”
The tiny living room is crammed full of furniture, much of it designed by Campion, himself. A sofa set against the outside wall was given a low back in order to make room for the window. Another was given high sides to allow for comfy TV watching. Both pieces reflect the designer’s mandate to create a space that is casual and functional. When you have kids playing tag throughout the home, you need to be practical. “I wanted a place that was very family friendly but with a sense of style, not necessarily beach chic.”
Campion, who has designed homes for such high-profile clients as Meg Ryan, Al Pacino, Conan O’Brien, Russell Simmons and Roger Waters, often designs custom furniture. There is a chair in the living room with arms that protrude from the top. It all makes sense when he explains that it is a prototype he made for a finance company. Aha: bull’s horns!
He has also designed furniture collections for Jim Thompson, HBF Textiles, McGuire, Nicoletti, Moura Starr, and Roubini Rugs, and is currently working on lines for Stark and Harden Furniture. His pieces are known for their fine craftsmanship and contemporary styling.
For the kitchen, he refaced the cabinetry with a handsome gray-stained maple and added new appliances — all from Jennair/Whirlpool, a company on whose advisory board he sits.
The sunporch has been converted into a dining room to both accommodate the large household and to take advantage of sunset views while dining. “What’s great about the house is that it’s close to the water in a way houses can’t be any more.” When not eating inside, the family sets a table on the dock where they can watch the passing parade of aquatic life.
The upstairs bedrooms reflect a Moroccan theme. The couple has spent much time in that country visiting Tatiana’s godfather Frederick Vreeland, the former U.S. ambassador there, and the son of Diana Vreeland.
The “black and white” room is bedecked with curtains made from ornately embroidered Moroccan bed covers. The “copper” room, which features a metallic copper accent wall, has a pair of Moroccan leather and nail head side tables. Another prototype graces the room — this time a square leather club chair made for a Manhattan penthouse. As a modernist with an architectural background, he admits to having once been “afraid of color.” But breaking away from the blue-and-white of the rest of the house, Campion embraced the bright hues of this room.
“We love the house,” he says, but admits that as the kids get older it will one day be time to go back to plan A. He’s got the plans, which he designed many years ago. “It’s ready to go. We just don’t know when.”