House & Home

Coastal Sophisticate: Hamptons Designers Jennifer Mabley & Austin Handler

Designers Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler have become well known for their chic yet beachy style with many high-profile design projects, including the staging in model homes for Bishop’s Pond in Southampton, Barn & Vine in Bridgehampton, and Ponquogue Point in Hampton Bays.

After 15 years living in Water Mill, the husband-and-wife team have perfected the relaxed, sophisticated look favored in the Hamptons.

Now, they’ve just designed their first furniture collection for Kravet, a 35-piece line featuring upholstered pieces, case goods and occasionals. To complement the furniture offering, the Mabley Handler collection will include by-the-yard grasscloth and a selection of fabrics in a harmonizing color palette. Finishes include quartersawn oak and cerused or limed oak (a pale finish similar to driftwood), brushed brass and satin silver, and grasscloth, all to enhance the coastal feel.

Dining room by Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler
Dining room by Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler

Austin Handler says, “We had been planning to design our own furniture line for the past 7-8 years, and an opportunity to pitch our idea for a collection to Kravet presented itself about two years ago. Our inspiration was the Hamptons, both past and present. We pulled from classic furniture motifs that would have been seen in Hamptons estate homes in years past such as a Chinese Chippendale pattern, a square geometric grid, and X-style bench leg details. But we also looked to the present and created comfortable furniture pieces with clean, transitional lines.”

Mabley Handler have paired the simple, natural finishes with urbane designs for a unique twist. For example, Chinese Chippendale-style woodwork teamed with cerused oak or grasscloth, or an X-leg table (a design that reaches back to Classical Rome) in a quartersawn oak. The Bridge Lane cocktail table, also oak, features practical metal corner brackets: in brass, the look is reminiscent of classical campaign furniture.

“The North Haven Sideboard is a versatile storage cabinet with a multitude of functions. It can be used as a sideboard in a dining room, a storage cabinet in a hallway, or a media cabinet in a living room or bedroom,” says Austin. “The Privet Lane Coffee Table features an X-style base that is reminiscent of historic X-style benches, but we updated the lines to give it a smooth, transitional style, including a metal disc embellishment and metal stretcher in either satin silver or brushed brass.”

Living room by Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler
Living room by Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler

The upholstered Chippendale pattern is unusual in that it’s cut out to allow the upholstered back of the seat cushion to show. Comments Austin, “We wanted to create some furniture pieces that could float in a large-scale Hamptons home and look beautiful from the front and the back.” This pattern is available in both a dining chair and a club chair. And each piece is available in a number of finishes and colors. For example, the Halsey Bar Cabinet can utilize a grasscloth wallpaper backing in the inset panel to create an interesting contrast from the wooden Chippendale design. With great storage, a pull out serving shelf, and a slide-out tray and drawer, it can serve as a floating bar in a large Hamptons home, or work just as well in a smaller house/apartment that doesn’t have space for a large bar.

As you may have figured out by now, all the pieces are named after Hamptons locations, such as Hayground, Lily Pond, Meadow Lane and Flying Point. Says Austin, “The Flying Point pieces are named after our favorite local beach in Water Mill!” Local yet refined, the furniture reflects the best of the Hamptons.

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