Ryan Murphy's entryway color scheme is the most mesmerizing 'quiet luxury' look we've seen yet

Designer David Cafiero has masterfully preserved the integrity of this former painter's studio belonging to Holly hitmaker Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy
(Image credit: Getty Images / Tommaso Boddi / Contributor)

Situated at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown has long harbored a resident population of artists who were first attracted to the fishing village by its extraordinary elemental light. This former studio was built by seascape painter Frederick Judd Waugh and was later used by Hans Hofmann, a key figure in abstract expressionism and one of the most prominent characters of post-war American art.

More recently, the property was bought by Hollywood TV maestro Ryan Murphy, the creator of hit series including Glee, American Horror Story, and The Watcher. The purchase was an act of preservation: Ryan and his photographer husband David Miller already owned a home on the waterfront but they recognized the studio’s importance and decided to adapt it as a guest house and entertaining space.

The entire home is a glorious spectacle of quiet luxury colors, vintage furnishings, and plenty of personality, but it is the entryway that has stopped us in our tracks. 

Rather than merely being a place you pass through or use a drop zone, an entryway should create a striking first impression and a warm welcome. The entrance has a lot riding on it, and it was down to the capable hands of Manhattan-based designer and antique shop owner David Cafiero, a friend of the couple and fellow Provincetown aficionado to take on the challenge. 

‘I’ve been coming here for the last 30 years and, coincidentally, I was commissioned to renovate the studio Hans Hofmann had prior to this, which I now rent every summer from the client,’ says David Cafiero in a conversation with Homes & Gardens contributor Rachel Leedham, whose passion for the painter ensured that he approached the project with the lightest of touches: ‘It was important to let the space be the story.’

Inside, the entrance and landing are imbued with a nautical sensibility: timber reclaimed from shipwrecks has been woven into the very fabric of the building, while a vaulted roof resembles the hull of an upturned boat.

‘This studio is best known for Hofmann but in fact, the true genius of the space is Waugh, who salvaged all the beautiful timbers,’ says David, whose past careers as a forester in his family’s lumber business and later as a commercial fisherman placed him in good stead to appreciate the artist’s vision. 

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The dark color scheme further sets the mood of the home and invites you to stop and pause, rather than walk on by. ‘We wanted to create an almost monastic feel; it’s the sort of space that invites you to wear scratchy wool and sit quietly with a book,’ David observes.

Lucy Searle, editor-in-chief of Homes & Gardens agrees: 'Minimal and unassuming entryways have had their day,' she says. 'The entryway is now being considered as a room of its own – and should be treated as such with a bold design that will wow.' 

If you thought using dark colors for your entryway was a no-no, think again. 

‘Entrance halls should make a statement about the house and owners as well as being a welcoming space. Small spaces can be treated in a grand way – “be bold with color” is the advice I usually give my clients,' says Jamie Ivey of the Ivey Design Group.

'Use strong, dark colors to make a statement and give personality. Light colors will not make a dark space light, but good colors will make it interesting.'

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.