USM in the office
Southampton, New York
Most law offices are stodgy, buttoned-up, and dark. But this small Southampton, New York, practice overturns that convention, with an airy, relaxed and bright aesthetic that calls to mind the well-appointed houses dotting the coastline of this tony beach community.
Which is not to say that the Bennett & Read office jettisons tradition, says its designer, Patricia McGrath (www.patriciamcgrathdesign.com). In fact, the design painstakingly preserves some of the building’s 1920s details, while integrating some modern touches in the 4,500-square-foot space. That is most apparent in the space off the main reception area, where two columns frame USM Haller storage cabinets in steel blue — a color echoed in the abstract rug and the nearby shore. The cabinets create a sense of organization and tidiness to the unexpectedly soothing environment. “The primary concern was to keep a sense of calm and order,” McGrath says, “and the cabinets close so beautifully when not in use.”
The offices of the two partners, a married couple specializing in real estate and land use, are tailored to their individual tastes. His aesthetic is conservative, favoring oriental carpeting, a stately fireplace and masculine leather chairs. Her palette is more muted, with neutral colors, soft textures and pale-blue Venetian plaster walls. McGrath chose USM Haller furniture in blue as the unifying element in all rooms: “It displays a combination of strength, permanence and modernity that evokes the sense of place and purpose of such a firm.”
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