This East Hampton home is filled with unexpected surprises that take the 'old meets new' concept to a new level

In an unusual renovation, interior designer Neal Beckstedt brings harmony and beauty to two very distinct adjoining spaces

east hampton house tour

Coming upon oversized florals festooned across double-height walls and a pitched ceiling in an East Hampton heritage house feels a little incongruous. It turns out that the dramatic Josef Frank linen wall treatment is just one in a series of unexpected house design choices made by the couple who live there with their young family. 

exterior of house in east hamptons


The far-from-ordinary renovation, overseen by New York-based interior designer Neal Beckstedt, brings a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘old meets new’. It entailed restoring a late 18th-century saltbox house and decorating an adjacent sleek no-frills new build that the couple commissioned from Architecture Outfit

contemporary living area in hamptons house in blue and white with art on wall

Artwork, Fernand Léger and Roland Brice at L’Atelier 55. Chair, Galerie Half. Daybed in Kintbury Stripe fabric, John Rosselli.


Tasked with marrying these two distinct styles, Neal conceived a farmhouse whose decor recreates the natural world via leaf-laden fabrics and autumnal hues, while the modern structure’s more minimal schemes look outward, paying homage to the garden beyond. 

seating area in hamptons house yellow modern armchairs with artwork coffee table and vase and rug and books

Alpha chairs, Pierre Paulin at Ralph Pucci. Angelo Mangiarotti coffee table, Bernd Goeckler Antiques. Artwork, Kehinde Wiley at Stephen Friedman Gallery.


‘But there is a note of cohesion running through both buildings,’ says Neal. ‘The spaces, used equally by the family, each have a European sensibility with an emphasis on color, fabric and design classics.’ The couple’s collection of unusual finds, notably a ceramic wall hanging by Fernand Léger and Roland Brice, prompted relaxed neutral schemes in the new build, interspersed with pops of color. 

kitchen with floral wallpaper and retro style fridge with wooden dining table

Tiles, Mosaic House. Dyke & Dean’s Flat Green enamel shades are similar to these.

(Image credit: Josef Frank)

‘We wanted to be brave enough to do something atypical,’ says Neal. ‘A traditional Long Island home is beachy, but a bit buttoned up; either that or it’s all poured concrete and glass, which can feel a bit sterile. We wanted to add warmth and youthfulness and enjoy the interplay of new and old sitting side by side.’ 

dining area with wooden table and midcentury style chairs with floral wallpaper

Josef Frank linen fabric wallcovering, Svenskt Tenn. Find rattan dining chairs at Maison Louis Drucker. Spanish 17th-century table, Provenance Antiques.


Much of that informality came from spending time with the couple and their children and, in particular, observing the owner’s wardrobe. ‘One day, she came to a site meeting wearing a denim jumpsuit,’ says Neal. ‘We had been looking for just the right durable fabric for the sitting room and I realized that the answer was in front of me.’ As a result, soft blues make an appearance throughout both buildings. 

blue modern kitchen with marble top

Cabinets in Blue Danube, Benjamin Moore. Handmade Italian plates, Dalila Chessa.


Key to the renovation was creating schemes that suited the lifestyle of a growing family. ‘We are casual people with two young teenage boys,’ says the owner, ‘and we didn’t want anything too fussy or too stark. We also wanted our home to reflect our cultural identity, including some meaningful mother-of-pearl pieces from Damascus and Lebanon.’ 

home office painted green with bookshelves

Vintage Phoenix table lamp, Sidse Werner for Holmegaard at Novac Vintage. Bamboo ladder, Neal Beckstedt Studio. Leather panels, Dualoy Leather.


Neal’s approach was to focus on ‘the progression of color and pattern’ in both spaces. ‘The farmhouse is more insular because it doesn’t have such generous windows,’ he says. ‘So we created drama within via bold pattern and playful touches, such as the kitchen with its retro fridge and geometric tiling. 

bed with patterned bedding and gingham wallpaper and sidetable with lamp

Vintage table, Laurin Copen Antiques. Vintage Harvey Probber rattan headboard, Florida Modern. Sonoma Check linen wallcovering, Wells Textiles.


In contrast, the new-build kitchen is all about framing the views.’ In the farmhouse, plaid fabrics and walls covered in checks and stripes nod to classic Hamptons style, while, in the new build, mid-century lines, Berber rugs and sculptural lighting evoke a modernist air.

twin beds with blue bedding and gingham check wallpaper

Vintage tree-form table lamp, Laurin Copen Antiques. Vintage stools, Neo Studio, Montauk. Danny Ho Fong 1960s headboards, Tropi-Cal.


‘This project was the closest I’ve come to the feeling of decorating my own home because the owners’ imagination was so free-ranging,’ reflects Neal. The designer, who wasn’t known for embracing pattern until now, says the renovation prompted him to play further with form too. ‘The exchange of ideas is key for an interior decorator. There’s nothing more exciting than to be challenged in style and scale.’ 

modern bathroom with tub and accent chair and vanity unit and berber rug

French 1940s rush and wood armchair, sourced from a Paris flea market. Glo-Ball wall lights, Flos.



Neal Beckstedt shares his style inspiration 

What one small change has a huge impact?

Using dark colors in a small space. 

Describe your style in three words.

Warm, understated, luxury. 

How do you get inspired?

Nature and travel. Seeing new places expands my mind – whether through color palettes and the way other spaces are put together, or through cultural differences seen in texture, color, form and assemblage. 

Finish the sentence, 'I know I'm a creative because...'

...I’m always thinking about design, every second of every day. 

How does home make you feel?

Centred and at peace. It’s my safe space – it’s where my sense of design is worked to its highest degree as I constantly shift and re-style so that all my favorite items live peacefully around me. 

What does New Year's mean to you?

Time to rest, recharge and start new projects.