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July 15-31, 2007 Cover
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July 15-31, 2007


FEATURES

Made in the Shades
By Jorge S. Arango
Photographs by Eric Striffler

S. RUSSELL GROVES TAKES A WALK ON THE WHITE SIDE, APPLYING AN ARRAY OF PALE TONES TO THE WAINSCOTT HOME OF TWO COSMETIC COMPANY OWNERS

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In the world of lipstick, blush and nail polish, palette is everything. As the cosmetics-executive owners of a 1980s modernist retreat near Georgica Pond will tell you, if there's one shade of fuscia, there are 300, and your success depends on finding the precise variations that sell (pinker, paler, more purple?). "We deal with color 24/7," says the 58-year-old female half of the couple, who have headed up their own firm for almost 26 years. "I don't want to live with a lot of color because I'm around it all the time. You never see me wearing a print—never florals—just solids. In the winter I'm in blacks, and in the summer it's whites and beiges."

For this reason, she was completely bewildered by the first two architects she and her 51-year-old husband hired to revamp and furnish their 5,000-square-foot Wainscott home. "They'd be bringing me brown plaids!" she says, mystified. "And they didn't seem to understand proportion. As furniture started to come in, it would just dwarf the rooms."

Frustrated, she searched the Internet one day and stumbled across the Greenhouse Spa in Manhattan, which trafficked in exactly the sort of aesthetic she craved. Perhaps not coincidentally, the architect was S. Russell Groves. As the creator of retail venues for Giorgio Armani, Frederic Fekkai, Ralph Lauren and Blanc de Chine, among others, he was no stranger to the couple's milieu or tailored sense of style. She called Groves in October 2005 and gave him an "impossible mission," she says: Could he finish the project by Memorial Day?

After having a look at the house, Groves said he'd try, and they agreed to meet at his offices in New York in order to discuss concepts. "I walked in and Russell had storyboards laid out all over the place," the client recalls. "I didn't know who they were for, but I started pointing to things and saying, 'I love this. I could live with that.' And he said, 'That's your house!'"

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