THE SPANISH-BORN COOKBOOK AUTHOR
AND HC&G CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
VICTORIA AMORY EPITOMIZES THE
PHRASE "HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST" AT
HER DAZZLING HOME IN SOUTHAMPTON
Click on any photo for a larger view.
BLUES CLUES (click photo for larger view)
“IT’S MORE COLLECTING THAN DECORATING,” says Victoria Amory of the look of the charming Southampton house she shares with her husband, C. Minot Amory, and three sons. "I never trained. I think part of the appeal of a house is whether it's pleasing to the eye. A house needs to be comfortable, but also good looking, which is what will give it a sense of calm and make it welcoming."
The house in question, a deep teal-green clapboard with neoclassical nods that melts into its forest-y surroundings, was previously owned and decorated by Amory's late sister-in-law, Chessy Rayner, the lion-maned interior designer, writer and fashion icon who partnered in the 1970s with Mica Ertegun in Mac II, a design company that did everything from Stanford White manses to rich-hippie apartments. Rayner worked closely with architect Jaquelin T. Robertson, former dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, to "design this concept of a clever, really livable house," Amory says. "When my husband and I inherited the house, I had little children—babies. I had to convert the rooms to be more children-friendly. A lot of the really elegant and ornate objets in the house had to be moved so they would not get knocked around."
ECLECTIC MIX (click photo for larger view)
Case in point: the white Formica kitchen, a clean, functional space that serves as a simple backdrop for some high-meets-low decorative touches. The black tole trays lining the tops of the cabinets are "really old and hand-painted," Amory says, explaining their better-safe-than-sorry placement. The giant globe light fixtures "are just white Chinese lanterns, the cheap ones you find anywhere," she says. "They do get dirty in the kitchen and need to be replaced often." The kitchen is an important room for Amory, who has authored two cookbooks (Delicious Flavors and Delicious!) and is working on a third, on simple and seasonal shopping and eating, in addition to blogging about food (www.victoriaamory.com).