Studio Giancarlo Valle deliver a stately, picture-perfect summer house on Rhode Island, featuring classical American architecture and a stellar line-up of designers and artists throughout.

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a New England mansion perched on the coast of Rhode Island serves as a vacation home for globe-trotting entrepreneur and hotelier Kevin Wendle, his partner and their two young boys. Providing the perfect opportunity to indulge his love of avant-garde art, fashion, colour, architecture and design, this handsome yet dated historic home has been recast as an exuberant masterpiece at the hands of architectural and interior designer Giancarlo Valle.

Wendle met Valle during a chance encounter at fashion designer Jason Wu’s wedding in Tulum, Mexico. Bonding over a mutual love of mid-century furnishings and contemporary art, Wendle called on Valle to take on his latest project; ‘Watch Hill House’ named after its surrounding neighbourhood.

In a reductive approach, Studio Giancarlo Valle set about instilling a softness and flow that leads from one space seamlessly into another. Removing obsolete walls instantly provided an open, easy connection between rooms and stripping back stuffy detailing in favour of curvaceous edges quickly brought the house back into a modern setting. Throughout the home, generous passageways, sweeping staircases, built-in timber furniture and traditional imported British fireplaces all pay homage to the home’s New England location.

Mid-century pieces by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Serge Mouille and Charlotte Perriand sit side-by-side to create an iconic mix.

Following the completion of structural changes, came furnishing. Both Wendle and Valle combed their way through Wendle’s extensive collection of furniture, lighting and artwork from storage facilities as far as Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Handpicking the créme de la créme from each collection, they rounded out their curation with bespoke custom pieces and prized new additions.

There are many layers informing this home. Aside from blocks of deep marine blue which reflect the home’s ocean outlook, the rest of the home follows a traditionally neutral palette; allowing for an assortment of artwork and vintage furniture to take centre stage. Covetable pieces by Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Serge Mouille and Jean Prouve sit side-by-side with modern-day gems by Faye Toogood, Rick Owens, Michael Anastassiades, Dimore Studio and Apparatus.

The Watch Hill House embodies a beautiful union of cultures as a result of the owner’s distinctive, global style. Studio Giancarlo Valle proves that fusing the past and present can forge a daring and decorative triumph.

This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 33.

Megan Rawson

Previously in communications, marketing, and PR roles at Alexander &Co, and Mim Design - all while writing as a senior contributor for est living, Meg has been with the team for six years and, most recently, stepped into the role of partnerships editor. With a degree in interior design from the Interior Design School of London and product experience in London studios Tom Dixon and Studio Toogood, Meg has an extensive folio of design knowledge globally and locally, giving her the perfect understanding to manage est’s commercial content. Follow her visual journey here:

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