'The colors actually calm you' - this Montauk bungalow perfect 2024's most soothing shades

A curation of vintage furniture added into a palette of deep sandy neutrals make this home an oasis that echoes the location’s sweeping views

living room with large black leather sofa, white walls, and earthy color palette furniture
(Image credit: Glen Allsop. Design: Studio Robert McKinley)

There are some homes that manage to positively affect one’s mood and sense of well-being from the second you step inside. Homes that are more than just beautifully designed, they instill a sense of calm through a carefully curated balance of light, color, and texture that is just right. Perched on a hill above steps to a private beach is one such space, that was redesigned from the ground up to embrace the landscape surrounding it. 

The inspiration from the natural surroundings is obvious yet elegantly translated into a wonderfully livable space, decorated with unique objects and furniture sourced from around the world, paired with contemporary elements that anchor the property in modernity. ‘Captain Balfour’ is the name of this Montauk waterfront escape, and I spoke to its creator about the care, imagination, and detail that went into such a unique and modern home

The details  

Wood kitchen with island, plants, and natural earthy palette

(Image credit: Glen Allsop. Design: Studio Robert McKinley)

The location of this 3,800-square feet property is an oasis, tucked out of view of other houses or structures, allowing it much-valued privacy. The sunset views are unobstructed, and create a real feel of being amongst nature. The surrounding landscape and the local spirit were a true inspiration in the design of the space, and it shows. 

‘As we were designing the house we tried to blur the lines between the traditional and the modern interior design, mixing new and vintage, playing with texture and finishes that feel appropriate and connected to Montauk. It is always important to make sure we are inspired by the colors, materials, and vibe of the place and its spirit,’ explains designer Robert McKinley, of Studio Robert McKinley, who was responsible for this project that achieves a feeling of transporting one into another, better space. 

The interiors are decorated with whites, creams, and a palette of deep sandy neutrals and kelp reds and greens that echo the beach below. White-washed wood paneling throughout the home is paired harmoniously with vintage furnishings, ensuring a tranquil energy throughout. 'Inspired by salty and weathered cedar-clad homes of the northeast, the Studio has finished the exterior of the property with warm silvered cedar and mahogany,' explains McKinley. 

The colors create a sense of calm

pool house with small white sofa and art

(Image credit: Glen Allsop. Design: Studio Robert McKinley)

It’s with the careful curation of design elements that it all comes together seamlessly to create an incredibly eclectic and zen space. Everywhere you look there is a detail that manages to both stand out through its uniqueness and also blend in effortlessly with the rest. Vintage teak credenzas and armoires anchor many of the rooms, with sculptural 1970s coat racks and chairs blending form and function. 

Akari and rattan lighting are featured throughout the property to ensure a grounded tone and atmospheric evenings. The natural color trends are reflected in the unique bathroom tiles created specifically for this home by Heath Ceramics in seaweed green, warm whites, taupes, and browns, complemented by sandy travertine countertops.  

media room with dark green walls and sofa with earthy tones accessories

(Image credit: Glen Allsop. Design: Studio Robert McKinley)

The earthy tones are reflected in details, textures, and fabrics, while the overall wall palette stays white. However, the media room creates a very cozy and mysterious atmosphere, departing from the overall palette and instead features walls in Panier, a deep, earthy, limewash color from Domingue Finishes. The walls showcase a beautiful collection of broken pieces of fiberglass from boats that have washed up on the beach, along with other rocks, shells, and objects collected from beaches around the world, exploring the link between the indoors and outdoors. 

white hallway with large abstract artwork

(Image credit: Glen Allsop. Design: Studio Robert McKinley)

The home also showcases a rich roster of artists: Mika Tajima in the library lounge, Ayan Farah in the Sahara room and on the top landing, Laurie Densen Dorais over the fireplace, and Hugh Scott Douglass in the den, amongst many others, further adding to the unique, eclectic feel that makes this design otherworldly and truly unique.

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Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.