This story first appeared in the August 2012 issue ELLE DECOR. Subscribe to ELLE DECOR Access for more stories from the archive.
Some people believe that too much is never enough. Ralph Pucci, on the other hand, has made it a point to know when to stop. He says that Andree Putman, a designer, taught him about the “Poison Pill.” This is when you add one more thing to a dish that isn’t necessary, such as the spice that makes it taste bland. I don’t like distractions. To me, less is always more.”
He has used Putman’s principle in all he does over the years. He founded the company. Ralph Pucci International specializes in high-quality mannequins that can be used in stores such as Nieman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue. Pucci began selling limited-edition contemporary furniture in 1990. His showrooms in New York City and Los Angeles feature the work of modernist icons like Vladimir Kagan and newer discoveries such as Chris Lehrecke or David Weeks.
It’s small, but it’s a beautiful place that’s in tune with the elements. Their terrace is literally surrounded by the ocean.”
Pucci also lives by the principles he preaches in his personal life. When he was searching for a vacation home in Hamptons with his wife Ann last year, he looked at many grand homes that exuded style and status. They decided to go with a smaller bungalow on Amagansett’s beach. Vincente Wolf, their decorator, says that although it is small, it is a beautiful place that is in harmony with all the elements. “The ocean literally breaks behind their terrace.”
The living room features a Chinese cocktail table, an Ethiopian armchair and a wood stool. They are all from VH Home, Wolfe’s shop. Wolfe is known for creating simple interiors that appeal to a couple who values simplicity. He decorated the beach house as the third for the family (he also decorated their home in Greenwich, Connecticut and another house in Bedford, New York). The Puccis have three adult children who visit often on weekends with their friends. Pucci states that they wanted a stylish and sophisticated space, but one that was also comfortable. Vincente is so understanding of our family. He ran.
On the footprint of an older structure dating back to the 1950s, the bungalow was built 10 years ago. With four bedrooms and a 1,100-square foot deck, the new house is spacious. It also features well-crafted details such as 18-inch wide wood-plank floors. “We made no architectural changes,” Wolf says. “The only thing that we did was to modify the light fixtures and doorknobs to make it feel more modern and simpler.”
The dining room features a set of custom-made Panton chairs and a table made by him. He says, “It is a very clear and bright white that looks like gesso.” Wolf then added more whites to the walls: The windows were covered with unlined shades which softly obscure the sunlight without blocking it. Most of the furniture was covered in slip-covers made of outdoor fabrics that are beach-friendly.
This scheme isn’t all monochromatic. Wolfe used a subtle range blues to reference the ocean, from the light-colored linen on the three Jens Risom chairs in living room to the guest room’s periwinkle curtains and walls. The master bedroom’s headboard is framed by a deep-blue wall. This wall, along with a large grid that resembles a trellis, is the boldest. Pucci admitted that he initially rejected Wolf’s idea as an unnecessary decoration. Designer explained that the bedroom wall can be seen from the living room so the bold color would create an eye-catching focal point. He said it was like a fountain at the end of an alley. Pucci said that he told him, “Trust me on this,” and he was correct.
The guest room features a Charles P. Rogers-designed bed, which is covered in bedding from Restoration Hardware. A Bertoia chair and an antique Indonesian desk are paired with the Bertoia chair. Lehrecke designed the minimalist entry table with its stainless steel frame, and ash top that was steel-brushed to give it an sandblasted texture. Lianne Gold, a California-based glass artist, created the clusters of transparent white and blue vase in the dining room. Wolf, whose furniture can also be found at Pucci, designed the high back sofa and drop-leaf table. With one of its leaves turned down it nestles alongside a wall with a bench measuring a foot long. But, the wall can also be opened up to accommodate 10 people for dinner. Wolf says, “It’s all in flexibility.” “Everything is designed to be easily moved.”
This laid-back decor includes the Pucci’s art collection, seashells and driftwood, as well as global accents that Wolf gathered from his travels to far-flung countries like Ethiopia, China, Burma, and Burma. The designer said that these pieces “make a space feel more human.”
The Puccis love the convenience of their home as a getaway. Nothing is unnecessary. Ralph said, “It’s relaxing.” We watch the sunrise from the terrace and then eat lunch there. The ocean and the sky are the stars of the show.
Ingrid AbramovitchExecutive editor, ELLE DecorIngrid Abramovitch is the Executive Editor of ELLE Decor and writes about design, architecture and renovation. She is also the author and co-author of many books on design, including Restoring a House in the City.