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Swear as much as you like here, just don’t say ‘Hamptons’

Honestly, say whatever you want, but what gets us really squirming in our seats is the H-word.  Why?  We thought we would take the time to explain our aversion (and what to do about it) to the ‘Hamptons style’

Hamptons Example in Post War Suburb

1. Context matters

If you’re working with us, you’re probably somewhere in South-East Queensland.  That’s your first tip. Location.  And it matters.  Authentic design is not about slapping a bit of VJ walling up, painting it white and calling it Hamptons.  Authentic design seeks to uncover the history of your site and embed your project in the building traditions of your region.  Nothing says ‘we-got-sucked-into-a-trend’ more than a grey and white dolls house in a brick and tile 70’s suburb.  Work to your context and you’ll open up your project to far more delight, interest & creativity.

2. If everybody’s doing it, don’t do it.

Known for its thriving social life, and rich & famous holiday makers, the Hamptons is elitism crossed with a relaxed coastal vibe.  Glamorous parties have littered this area since the wealthy started holidaying here in the late 19th century.  While that’s not our jam – this is an authentic part of the region’s life & culture.  Now, we’re not sure about you, but when our local PVC fence manufacturer starts selling Hamptons fencing you can whack up in a weekend, we feel a bit* of the luxury and elitism has been lost (*read: a LOT).  If everybody’s doing it, that’s a good enough reason for us to not do it. 

3. Is it really Hamptons you’re asking for?

See the thing is, when people say Hamptons here in Queensland, they’re often a little grey on what that really means.  And when we say grey, we mean grey. Grey and white houses, grey and white kitchens, grey tiles, shades of grey white walls….(type ‘grey’ enough and it really starts to look weird!). Language is super important to design. It underpins your ability to communicate what is in your head, and our ability to transform that into a space that you love.  So!  Here’s a few alternative adjectives to help you describe what you might be chasing for your dream home or interior: 

Volume, Height, Fresh, Coastal, Natural Fibres, Big Picture Windows, Cream on White, Glamour, At Ease, Open Plan, Traditional Features, Brass Details, Texture, Inviting, Distressed Furniture, Chunky & Comfortable Furniture….the list goes on!

Once you start putting more detailed adjectives towards your aesthetic brief you can see it starts opening up a world of possibility that isn’t as narrow as the white washed ‘Hamptons’ homes drowning our realestate magazines!

Check out some genuine Hamptons on this Pinterest board we’ve made for you here. You’ll be amazed at how far our ‘hamptons’ aesthetic in South-East Queensland has drifted from its roots!

Language is super important to design…Once you start putting more detailed adjectives towards your aesthetic brief you can see it starts opening up a world of possibility that isn’t as narrow as the white washed ‘Hamptons’ homes drowning our realestate magazines!

Sympathetic Take on a relaxed coastal aesthetic

So if you are drawn to a relaxed, coastal look, how do you find an authentic way to channel this into your project?  Our top 5 recommendations are:

  1. Figure out what is unique about you & your site and respond to that (you won’t get that beautiful, breezy interior without considering where north-east is and responding to your home’s climatic context);
  2. Dig deeper to find out what you mean when you say ‘hamptons’ – broaden your adjectives and try and get more specific with your descriptions;
  3. Be bold enough to build something that is for you not ‘the market’ – even if what you love isn’t ‘fashionable’, with the right care and thoughtfulness it can be curated into your project;
  4. Engage with qualified designers who can challenge what you think you love, build on it and make it even better (and be open to the process of being challenged!);
  5. Broaden your sources – get off Pinterest and start buying a few design magazines that challenge this singular aesthetic – we love Green MagazineHabitus & Houses for starters.


Find our Brisbane Architects
Shop 3, 475 Sandgate Rd
Albion QLD 4010
(parking at rear, off Highlands St)

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