Iris Zonlight Sets the Stage for East End Interior—and Exterior—Design

Iris Zonlight with her design for the 2017 ARF Designer Show House, Photo: ©PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM
Iris Zonlight with her design for the 2017 ARF Designer Show House, Photo: ©PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM

Dutch interior designer Iris Zonlight of Blue Ocean Design in Sag Harbor moved to the Hamptons in 2005. She has designed and staged the interiors of many homes, offices and estates, from cottages to sleek moderns. Zonlight offers her unique take on getting the Hamptons look and keeping it fresh and beach-worthy.

What’s the most common mistake homeowners make in staging their properties?
Homeowners have to understand that staging is a strategy to be able to acquire the asking price for their home when they put it on the market. They need to look at it as an investment. It often requires to let go of old furniture so we can create a fresh look, repaint walls—and sometimes the entire home—in a natural light color. They have to trust the process and the expertise of the interior designer and let go! The house usually gets sold within the following three months.

How do you stage an East End home for sale in the cooler spring weather vs. summertime?
Start with reorganizing and clearing the yard, lawn and outdoor furniture. Curb appeal is often disregarded but it’s essential to address, as it’s the first thing your client sees. Regarding the interior, clear all the items that are summer-related, replace summer pillows with more cozy furry or wool pillows and throws. As I work with very muted palettes in general, I would add some accessories in a warm jewel tone. I probably would advise to light the fireplace on an open house day.

What else should homeowners consider as they prep their properties?
The off-season is the time when people look around for a new home, or a possible investment, so get going! The early bird catches the worm, it’s always worth consulting with an interior designer or architect to improve your property. We’re lucky that we have so many great boutiques out here to shop and get inspired—enjoy planning your makeover!

What design items are popular sellers right now, in the off-season?
Throws, pillows, candles, bedding, coffee table books. It’s a good time to stroll around town—amazing sales are happening, so you may come across that item you can’t live without!

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