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Hamptons Architectural Trends in 2023

A conversation with designer Kristen Farrell

Hamptons Real Estate Showcase Magazine turned to famed Hamptons designer & developer Kristen Farrell to share her insights. Ms. Farrell, the head of the Bridgehampton-based design firm Kristen Farrell Home since 2018, brings clients in New York and Palm Beach (and the Hamptons, of course) a curated Hamptons look with her sophisticated yet casual aesthetic. For many years prior, Ms. Farrell was the design director of the luxury home construction company Farrell Building.

HRES: Pre-pandemic, homeowners had begun to swing towards modern design features including open concept living spaces, floor to ceiling windows, metal staircases and industrial accent materials. The pandemic revolved around making the home accessible as both the family gathering place and the workplace. Now that the pandemic seems to be in our rearview mirrors, what are homeowners looking for as we begin to sort the “new normal”? What do you see as the current design trends now for the Hamptons? 

Kristen Farrell: There is a sophisticated undercurrent to the Hamptons home that must meet the needs of the diverse social and entertaining that defines the Hamptons lifestyle. The home needs to flow and function with ample closets, baths, indoor and outdoor kitchens, mudrooms and garage bays. In any given day a “Hamptonite” may engage in multiple activities – biking, boating, tennis, beach, golf, luncheons, dinners, guests and family; a Hamptons home is the backdrop to this activity and provides the entry to the lifestyle. It’s not the size of the home that matters, it’s the use of the space. Before I embark on any project I “walk” through the plans and the functionality of space in my mind. If it works for me and my family and entertaining needs, then I know it’s a good plan. This held true before the pandemic, during and after.

HRES: What design trends have taken hold as a result of the pandemic and don’t seem to be retreating?

KF: Wellness has always been a consideration for me in development and design. The pandemic highlighted this need and new thought was given to the definition of a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, spin or a traditional gym, physical wellness needs to be a central focus. In May, we created a strategic alliance with TechnoGym for just this reason: their equipment functions at a high level and is beautifully designed. Our home gym and spa area at 219 Sagg Main Street, Sagaponack features custom TechnoGym equipment – you can see the layout and learn more on our website:

The biggest pandemic need was home office space. The request for home work space has declined but the desire for strong WiFi and generators has not. Clients are reclaiming this living space for other needs but want insurance they can pivot quickly if the need arises.

Outdoor living is the name of the game – always! It is my passion to create outdoor destinations in the yard and to make sure there is plenty of dining, living and playing spaces throughout the pool and patio areas. Outdoor showers are a must – I turn mine on May 1 and I shower outside until October!

HRES: The three most popular architectural styles in the Hamptons are farmhouse, shingle, and modern/contemporary. Does your practice focus on any one style vs. another?

KF: My practice focuses on presenting a beautiful balanced home, which can be achieved within any of the above styles. The dynamic between a developer and architect is what creates the structural lines and the materials selected by the designer is the differentiator between one home and the next. I have been a boater my whole life and I think about house “lines” the way I think about the lines of a boat: intentional simplicity creates beauty and watching the way a boat moves on the water is similar to pulling up to a house for the first time and saying ohhhh… In both instances you may not immediately notice the details that invoke this response — it’s how it comes together that gives you the feeling. As a developer my goal is to achieve this every time for myself and my clients.

HRES: Much has been written about green living and sustainability in housing design – especially in urban settings. How, if at all, has this trend affected Hamptons building and design? 

KF: If the technology for green living is available and affordable, we do it. In my opinion, it is a moral obligation. The struggle is in the practicality, durability and affordability — as a society we are not there yet.

HRES: How about renovations? What can you get with a home renovation budget of $250,000, $500,000 and $1 million? The opportunity cost of quantity vs. quality.

KF: Anything is possible on any budget. It is a process of managing needs/wants and the existing status of a home against municipal requirements and regulations with a client’s requests. At K&CO we have a team available for both interior design and client renovations. I assign lead designers for these projects and oversee the process. I spend the majority of my time developing one unique project at a time and that can be a renovation or a new build. I do not market the property until it is finished and furnished to my level of expectation!