Creatively repurposed furniture, artistic lighting, artful metalwork, custom rugs and stained glass make even the most extraordinary home all the more special. These East End artisans create much more than décor—they turn common household items and designs into functional art.
ART DONOVAN LIGHTING
Since 1990, Art Donovan has used his imagination to create fantastical fixtures for clients as varied as Tiffany & Co., Disney Cruise Lines and Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, as well as for film and television.
What lighting designs are popular right now?
Home design and accessories often get their cues from fashion. Opulence, rich textures and exotic details are once again about to trend in lighting, lamps, wall colors and fabrics.
What have been some of the most unique and interesting light fixtures you’ve done?
By far, I would say the Steampunk table lamps, pendants, chandeliers and wall lamps for private clients from Sag Harbor to Abu Dhabi. They’re complex pieces, for sure, but they illuminate a room in a mysterious and fantastic way that compares to no other.
What’s the discerning customer looking?
My signature designs carry with them a unique style and enormous custom finishes and color capabilities that can’t be obtained anywhere else.
What are you thinking about when you start a project?
Styling, of course, but then it’s my job to make sure the design the client has chosen does its best to illuminate the room or project to its best advantage. I can create and fabricate virtually any kind of interior lighting imaginable.
Art Donovan Lighting, Southampton – 631-283-8075, donovandesign.com.
THE REPURPOSE PROJECT
Joanne Paluck of The Repurpose Project sees creative potential in old furniture and other household décor. She repurposes items, like a door and headboard, to make furnishings like the porch swing, pictured above.
What are some projects you’ve done using repurposed furniture?
A couple renovating their Greenport home found a church pulpit in the garage. They didn’t want to throw it out, but had no use for it. With the help of my husband, Michael, a master carpenter, we took an old butcher-block tabletop and reconfigured the pulpit to support the top, repurposing it into an island. A couple from Cutchogue purchased it from my store, and it’s in their living room as a bar. A challenging project was an old non-working sewing machine cabinet—disassembling and removing all of the machine parts was difficult. I then repurposed it into a mini bar with an ice bucket in the middle, bottle opener on the side, and miniature barrels as handles. You can close it up when not in use, and it’s a side table. It was the most talked about piece in my store.
What’s your process for repurposing old furniture?
I’m always on the look out for unusual pieces. I prefer solid wood, as it will last a lifetime and you just don’t see that quality made these days. If the piece is outdated or badly damaged, I’ll take what’s functional and turn it into something else. I took some well-made drawers from a dresser where the body was not salvageable, and made a dog bed and shelves.
What are some of your other one-of-a-kind designs?
We recently built a porch swing. This was constructed from an old oak door and headboard. We found the door at an architectural salvage place, cut it to size, and cut a headboard in half and used that for the arms. It was featured on the porch at the Cutchogue Designer Home last summer.
The Repurpose Project, 610 A Pike Street, Mattituck – 631-886-1946, therepurposeproject.com.
JAMES DEMARTIS METAL STUDIO
James DeMartis Metal Studio in East Hampton designs unique staircases, table-legs and creates distinctive art pieces and fixtures.
What do metal designs and accents add to a home?
The colors, textures, solidity and permanence of metal offer a unique counterpoint to traditional Hamptons beach house materials. Metal can adapt to contemporary or traditional settings and interior and exterior environments.
What have been some of the designs you’ve created for clients over the years?
Baby gates in bronze and aluminum, film props in wrought iron, table bases, monogram bracket hardware, barbecue grill structures, interior and exterior railings, museum mounts for art and artifacts, drapery hardware, lighting, kitchen islands in bronze and stainless steel, restaurant servers and accessories, interior walls of bronze, fountains and garden features, and so much more.
What are some of the items you’ve created for films?
A working forge for Prospero’s lair in Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, and weaponry and a wrought-iron chain furnace for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. I’ve also done television and theater props.
What’s your process of going from a client’s vision to the project coming together?
Because no two of my projects are alike, I have to ascertain a client’s vision and develop a creative language that uniquely brings the project to fruition, drawing from experience, experimentation and collaboration. I enjoy merging design ideas with practicality and function into unique and enduring creations of beauty and minimalism. As an artist, foremost, I treat each project as a work of art. I pay strict attention to detail and strive for a standard that satisfies my own criticism. This ensures that all projects receive the highest level of craftsmanship, beauty, and functionality.
James DeMartis Metal Studio, 214 Springs-Fireplace Road #6, East Hampton – 631-329-2966, jamesdemartis.com.
Temidra Willock’s rugs, at Vivid Blueprint in East Hampton, will transform any space with personalized designs from Willock’s exclusive pattern library.
Your designs offer homeowners and designers the opportunity to have their rugs customized. What’s your process for figuring out what kind of rug would best suit a client?
When I go to visit a client’s space to design a rug for them, I always ask them for a tour of the house to get an idea of their taste. I really like to pay attention to details—from the type of art they having hanging to what type of flowers or plants they have in the room. I’m interested in getting to know my client’s aesthetics, through whatever details I can find, so I can figure out what designs would work best. My deciding factor for what types of materials and quality the rug should be for a client is based on how much foot traffic is in the space, and the overall feel of the home.
What kind of designs would you recommend for someone’s East End home?
I know the Hamptons style is very much nautical—lots of stripes and neutrals. However, I love to push my clients out of their confront zone. I really love bright colors and prints. I like to mix traditional patterns with fun color combinations, or vice versa. I think that’s a great way to go.
What have been some unique rug designs you’ve done?
The Koi fish has been extremely popular and works great for my clients in the Hamptons. Each project is unique for me because I’m collaborating and customizing with every client. The end result is always different. It’s a very exciting process for me.
How do you go from design to delivery?
Because we’re a custom rug company, we really work closely with our clients and manufacturers. We design in detail from the pattern to colors and materials. After we come up with an approved design with our client we then work with the manufacturer through each process to make sure everything runs smoothly. It’s really great because we get to update our clients with photos of the process of their rug being made—from dyeing the yarns, to the actual weaving of the rugs.
Romany Kramoris in Sag Harbor has been customizing stained glass for windows and many other beautiful purposes for years.
What have been a couple of the most unique designs you’ve done for clients?
One of my most unique designs was “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” The design depicted an old-fashioned striped cornflower blue pottery bowl with hand-blown flash glass from Europe, upon which I etched white bands perched on a red and white checkered tablecloth with an etched, striped wallpaper background.
Another unique design was the “Sag Harbor Saltbox,” using hand blown American and European glass with various stringers, bubbles and colored daubs. The house with an etched shingle roof sat on a green glass hill, having etched grass and painted wildflowers that I fired into the glass. The entire image was glazed into an old, four-panel wooden cabinet frame that I found on the street in New York City. This design won me an international award from the Corning Museum of Glass.
What’s the discerning customer looking for in custom work for their home?
Clients often purchase something I’ve made and hang the panels in their own windows. Custom work is extraordinarily time consuming and requires many checks and balances with clients throughout the process, which ensures that I’m creating the image or idea they’re envisioning. It’s an interesting ebb and flow of ideas and concepts.
What is your process for creating specific stained glass items?
Ideas come from out of nowhere and seem to float into my head, sometimes from things I see or read that evoke intense feelings. It’s an exhilarating, meditative and transcendental experience. Once I complete a drawing, the heavy-duty fabrication begins—choosing from heavy, hand-blown glass panels, cutting the glass, puttying and leading up. When the panel is leaded-up, a lead or zinc frame squares or finishes it off.
What would you recommend to those considering adding stained glass to their home?
Clients often come with an idea, or colors they’d like to see. I love working with lighter colors—pale blues, the watercolors, foggy colors and monochromatic tones, and glass with texture. The handmade process of stained glass goes back to medieval days, and the materials and techniques are the same.
Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street, Sag Harbor – 631-725-2499, kramorisgallery.com.