04 August 2012

ALEXA HAMPTON Visits The Skirted Roundtable

 

Please forgive my absence of a few days!  How can I say this?   Pardon my French, but U-Verse Sucks!  OK?  If I could hate them any more than I do right now, I would.  FIVE technicians in one week and still our connection lasts for minutes before clicking off.  We’ve scheduled ComCast to come out, but that will be another week of waiting.  PURE TORTURE!!!  So, I’m going to try to get this posted before the signal cuts out AGAIN!

 

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This week Linda and I had the pleasure of interviewing interior designer Alexa Hampton on the Skirted Roundtable.  Megan had jury duty in L.A., so it was just us two this time. 

 

WOW.  Alexa is nothing like I thought she would be.  She is so warm, so friendly, so down to earth!  I thought she would be reserved and act more like a design princess, but she is nothing like that at all!   She is someone you would want to be best friends with.   I am just crazy for her!!    She is very self confident and is very energetic – type A personality all the way.  Something that I’ve learned these past years interviewing the top tier of designers – is that they are ALL type A, very driven personalities.  I suppose that may be why they are all so successful. 

 

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Interior by Alexa Hampton

 

Alexa is of course the daughter and heir of Mark Hampton, one of the premier designers of his time.  She tells a charming story about how he was attending the London School of Economics when he got a job interning for David Hicks, whom he later worked for  (as well as Sister Parish and McMillen.)   Hampton’s problems came from figuring out how to tell his parents why he wasn’t going into law, but instead wanted to be an interior designer.   It didn’t go over too well!   But, it wasn’t hard to tell where his heart was.  As a child he made a set of shutters he had designed when he was but 12 and decided then that he was an interior designer.  He also started collecting back copies of House and Garden, much to his family’s chagrin.    While attending law school, he “startled his law school roommate by unpacking an unlawyerly cache of objects from a footlocker: an obelisk, small antique boxes and a branch of rhododendron.”   Like they say, designers are born, not made. 

Alexa adored her “daddy” as she calls him – and began interning for him in the summers when she was  13.   After his untimely death at age 58, she took over his company when she was just 27.  I remember when all that happened.  Everyone wondered whether Alexa was talented enough to step into her father’s big shoes and keep his company afloat.  Within just a few years, Alexa proved herself ready and able to lead the large company.  Today, I would dare say, Mark Hampton LLC is probably even more profitable now than it was when Hampton was alive.     Asked if she is influenced by her father’s impressive portfolio, Alexa tells us how her father was her mentor.   She says not only did he do design, he was an accomplished artist and musician and had such a remarkable memory it was “scary.”

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The handsome and extremely sophisticated Mark Hampton.

Besides interior design, Alexa also has licensing agreements with Stark Rugs, Kravet Fabrics, and Hickory Chair, plus she designs lighting fixtures  for Visual Comfort.  She has a few big projects in the works, but couldn’t divulge them just yet.  She did list the various countries and states she is working in – and it’s amazing she has time to do anything!   She is married to a Greek businessman who works at Morgan Stanley and they have twin boys and a little girl – who was born on the anniversary of her father’s death.  On the day of the interview, Alexa was taking her newly 4 year old out to lunch at Le Cirque to celebrate!

After the interview, I took out my Mark Hampton books to look at again.   He always claimed he didn’t have a signature style and I think the same is true of Alexa.  Both are able to design in many different styles, from traditional to contemporary.  Here are a few pictures from Mark Hampton’s celebrated years as a designer:

 

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Hampton’s own Southampton house’s living room – done in dark brown walls.  In the center of the room was a large skirted table. This is my favorite of his designs.   I think this is just wonderful!!

 

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A beautiful library – notice the painted floor under the rug.  The antique accessories are to die for!

 

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An English styled traditional living room, with dark lacquered walls.

 

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For Estee Lauder’s Hampton’s house he used a batik to cover everything.  Her granddaughter now lives in the same house.  

 

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Mark Sikes showed this wonderful Hampton interior on his blog.  Love the slipcovers!!!  Gorgeous!

 

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I love this!  Designed decades ago for a house in Ft. Worth – it still looks so relevant for today.  White slips, sisal and lacquered walls – a deep, deep green.

 

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Notice this painted floor under rugs – in this rattan filled living room.  It’s the same pattern as shown above!

 

 

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And again, the painted floor in the Hamptons!

 

 

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This Florida house was shown in Architectural Digest.  Gorgeous traditional interior design – at its best!  Love this!

 

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The dining room from the same house.  I love those curtains.

 

And the bedroom – all in different shades of blue.  Thank you to Picture of Elegance for the scans.

 

Alexa Hampton: 

 

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Alexa has been published so many times, it’s hard t pick a favorite!  But I did find two projects that really appeal to me.  The first is this Connecticut house designed by architect Joel Barklely of Ike, Kligerman and Barkley.  Sound familiar?  They were the same architectural firm that designed the Federal house in Houston shown last week.  The façade is again, so interesting. 

 

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The house is painted black, with white trim.   Alexa called it the Oreo House when she first saw the plans.

 

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Here is the entry court, which is white stucco – I would kill to see a floor plan of this house!  I love that pass-through.  There are no halls in the first floor  - all the rooms are connected.

 

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Close up of the entrance to the floor above the garage looks like a little house, – so charming!

 

 

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The entry hall – notice the tall Dutch door - overlooks the living room.   Suzanne Kasler’s chairs from Hickory  Chair were used in the entry.

 

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The view from the living room to the entry hall.  You can see the dining room through the door.   The fireplace in the entry is wood burning.  I love fireplaces in entries and dining rooms!   Love the Ikat fabric on the chair and the antique Swedish clock.

 

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The chairs are original loop chairs by Francis Elkins!

 

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The other side of the living room – all upholstery is by Hickory Chair.  A Calder is above the mantel while a Miro is on the side wall.

 

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The dining room has gorgeous Swedish chairs around a reclaimed Elm table from Mecox.  Love this!!!!

 

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The family room features a Lee Jofa Print and more Hickory Chair – the sofa and ottoman.

 

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The kitchen and breakfast room – black granite and white tiles.  I love how she separated the refrigerator and freezer by the range.

 

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The breakfast room with chinoiserie styled chairs and banquette. 

 

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Another favorite of mine of Alexa’s is this house in the Hamptons.  Doesn’t it remind you of the Something’s Gotta Give house from the outside?

 

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Inside, there is a two story entry with block paneling.

 

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I love the living room with all the bookcases!  So cozy after a day at the beach, especially with the fireplace on cool NY nights.  Just a perfect room!!

 

 

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GORGEOUS kitchen!!!  With dual lanterns and Kooboo wicker chairs with plaid slips. LOVE!!!!!!

 

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Alexa says arched windows are especially hard to curtain. Either you cover up the beautiful details or let the light shine through.  The owners opted for bright mornings.  Beautifully serene.  And I love that with an oversized bedroom, she added enough furniture to fill it up. 

 

 

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Alexa Hampton with her Kravet signature fabrics, many of which she used in the Kips Bays Showhouse this year:

 

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Her room at Kips Bay was the master bedroom, which Alexa designed around lacquered walls and a large canopy bed. She said she was inspired by her father’s use of lacquered walls.

 

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The fabric used inside the canopy is hers – it’s a lightly embroidered fabric, called Meadowmere.

 

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Close up of Meadowmere fabric.  I’m crazy for this fabric!

 

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Looking the other way – you can see the lacquered walls – gorgeous!

 

 

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This flush mount fixture for Visual Comfort is one of their most popular designs.  Alexa told us she was in the bathtub, pregnant, when she came up with this fixture!!  Huh?!!

 

 

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Another popular design is this fixture- which Restoration Hardware now also sells.

 

 

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Besides all she has going on, Alexa had time to write her own design book.   The cover shows a house in New Orleans that was restored after Hurricane Katrina.  It is featured on the Architectural Digest web site.

 

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The book is filled with beautiful images from her portfolio.  Love the wallpaper. 

 

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One thing in the book is really unique – for some projects, Alexa added the inspiration board, below:

 

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The inspiration board that goes with the dining room. 

 

To listen to the Skirted Roundtable interview with Alexa Hampton, go HERE and click on the green bar at the end of the story!

 

And to order Alexa’s design book, click on the picture of her book on the  upper left-hand column of my blog - under “I Recommend” books from Amazon.