Latest on Hamptons Reno: My Go-To Great Room


IT ONLY TOOK FIVE YEARS to get there, but the great room at my place on the East End of Long Island is finally livable. The final phase of its transformation this spring: a bout of quickie decorating in the newly insulated and painted space.

This changes everything. The new, improved great room is warm when it’s raw elsewhere in the house, bright and inviting where it used to be dark and dreary. It’s now everyone’s go-to room, instead of what once felt like wasted space.

I worked like a demon for two weeks, putting things back to rights after a fall of construction and winter of abandonment, restoring the room’s furnishings and hanging art (i.e. framed posters). Local yard sales yielded a few things that weren’t strictly needed, but which I could not resist (pix below).

The new wood stove insert, which fit neatly into the existing fireplace, is what enables me to be here several weeks earlier than in the past. Prior to these recent improvements, the house was basically an unheated summer bungalow. Two-thirds of it is still an unheated summer bungalow, but the 400-square-foot great room, at least, now approximates the comfort of a real house.

Painted white floor to ceiling, it looks more like a Hamptons beach house than a cabin in the Adirondacks. I sent new photos to a couple of local real estate agents and asked them to list the house for rent from July 1 through Labor Day. Next thing I knew, the house was taken for the season by the first person who looked at it.

That was gratifying, and freed up space in my brain that had been taken up with worry about finding a summer tenant.


Fabulous Mother’s Day present from my son: a new black Corian countertop for the kitchen, above. Major upgrade on previous chipped white Formica.


A new addition to my coral collection. Can’t buy real coral anymore, so I’ve been buying vintage coral at yard sales, along with flowerpots, rugs, wire items, mobiles…


Art-directed yard sales are not rare in East Hampton.


How cute is this? Yes, another yard sale find.

11 thoughts on “Latest on Hamptons Reno: My Go-To Great Room

  1. I liked it before but it looks really wonderful now. So light and bright! The colors really pop against that white. Like a “studio” within the larger house when it’s still cold. Another fabulous Cara transformation!

  2. Love the new kitchen counter! And I can attest to the comfort and style of the great room.

  3. Fabulous! Well done! Wish I could have been there for yard sale visits etc.! Have you opened the rose yet?? Hope I will be a able to visit, but unless a window of opportunity opens I am busy with projects until into July. 😬The rain has delayed everything making it a really tough season. If I see I have a day or 2 free can I come for a short visit?? Cheers! MLiz

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Another beauty! Of course we don’t know the work that went into it, but looks totally effortless, which is what you want! No wonder it was rented right away. Perfect mix of Adirondack and Beach! Congrats!



  5. The flapping seagull by the way is a riot. Not sure where it is headed…

  6. Hi Cara, Your house is coming along & looking good. That mermaid statue/table caught my eyes in one of your photos. I figured out that it was at Tommy’s Attic & found their website. Didn’t find this item, a telephone number, a street or email address. Would you happen to have any contact info for this place? Thanks & have a Happy Summer. Laura

  7. That photo shows a yard sale at a private house, Laura — the “Tommy’s Attic” sign was one of their wares!

  8. Who else would get a counter top for Mother’s Day! It all looks very inviting.

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