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Designing a home is one thing, building a house from the ground up is another. It really is a marriage and there’s so much that goes into creating the perfect space. Endless phone calls, countless fabric swatches, and a few fights later, Molly’s dream house has come to life thanks to Dan Scotti, interior designer and founder of Dan Scotti Design, and Mimi Brown of Mimi Brown Studio, whose expertise spans across interiors, styling, and event design. So, where does one even start? How do you know what’s worth investing in vs. what’s not? How do you create something that hasn’t been done before? We get into the entire process (don’t sleep on the inspiration binder of hundreds of images included). From Dan’s affinity to many shades of grey to Mimi’s favorite vintage store in Paris, you’re in for quite the masterclass on the home, the Hamptons, and a lot more in-between.
Molly: “We wanted people to be able to come and families to visit from wherever they were. We love being together at home. It’s important to think about what you like, but, more importantly, what don’t you like. I put together a book that’s really helpful for the architect and interior designer to see your vision come to life. Pull photos and think about how you live. I knew I’d want this house for my children to grow with us and our family. When we were originally talking about what we wanted the house to be, we wanted everything to go outside. We knew we weren’t the formal dining room kind of people, but we do love to entertain. We wanted everything to have a central area and the outside is that.”
Dan: “People often ask what makes a good client and it’s someone who actually has an idea of what they’re after, what they’re attracted to aesthetically. Molly had a very clear idea of what she wanted for this property. We merged the traditional and the modern. Knowing what you want is really important and being able to articulate it is equally as important. The best way to convey that to a creative person is to show them as many images as you can pull. They’ll start to see a pattern.”
Molly: “I know this is a boring thing but appliances are really key. People underestimate the appliance world.”
Dan: Appliances are important, so are plumbing fixtures. When you’re building a home there are only a few things that you install that become fixtures that have labels and brands to them. Hardware, for the most part, too. Why skimp if you’re building a home? In terms of places to shop for investment pieces, on the East Coast Sagaponack is top of the list. West Coast I would say, I really like Obsolete, Orange, Merit. For accessories there is a place called The Window. Galerie Half for mid-century French pieces. 1stdibs obviously. JF Chen. If you have a room that has 12 pieces maybe one or two of them are collectible. If you have a budget for artwork, take some of that budget and put it towards one, two, or three things you can interact with. Look at it as art even if it’s a chair or object. It’s going to go up in value. It can make a room. You can dial way down on everything else if you have an amazing statement piece.”
Dan: “When it comes to designing a room, I like to start with a chair. I put it in the best spot in the house, where I’d want to sit, and then I design the whole room around that. There has to be a spot to sit whether it’s the end of a sofa or a lounge chair in that space. It’s Feng Shui, not having your back to the entrance, being able to sit next to natural light and have a good view. In terms of pieces of furniture, if we’re going to use a rug that has pattern and color in it, if it’s the largest piece, then I would start with that. If the rug is going to be more natural, more tone on tone, then we can start with a really beautiful chair.
Mimi: I think I tend to start with color although I don’t start with the same thing every time. It could be a tablecloth if we’re doing a tablescape and then you go from there. I love shopping at Clic. I have a collection of stuff at home that I’ve amassed over the years. A lot of it is from Europe. There’s also a company called Accent Decor I use a lot too.