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June 1, 2010


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restful retreat
By Maria Ricapito
Photographs by Jonn Coolidge

DECORATOR GREG MCKENZIE ADDS A MODERN TOUCH TO THE HANDSOME, TRADITIONAL FURNISHINGS AND ACCESSORIES IN A CLASSIC HAMPTONS HOUSE

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LIFE'S A BEACH
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“I'm not that formal,” says Doug Weintraub. He's talking about whether people call him Doug or Douglas, but the sentiment also applies to the way he lives in the contemporary Water Mill house that he and his wife, Linda, have called a second home for more than two decades. The couple equate laid-back living with the Hamptons—which was precisely why they called upon interior designer Greg McKenzie to help update and expand their furnishings and accessories when they decided the house needed a subtle refreshing.

THE COUPLE EQUATE LAID-BACK LIVING WITH THE HAMPTONS – WHICH WAS PRECISELY WHY THEY CALLED UPON GREG MCKENZIE

McKenzie has years of Hamptons experience, first working at shops such as Devonshire and Mecox Gardens, and now as principal of his eponymous design firm, with locations in NYC, Southampton and Miami. "My style—especially at the beach—is about comfort, durability and beauty," he says. "It's a practical elegance, so to speak. I never want to do anything that's going to be trendy because most people don't want to be redoing their house every two years. It's about long-wearing, traditional style."

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When the couple bought the house in 1988—after having redecorated a couple of NYC apartments over the years—Doug put his foot down at the idea of a full-on decorating project. "We had so many years of decorators," Linda says. "Doug said, 'No designers, no decorators! You have great taste; we'll just buy it and you furnish it.'" After about four years of living with the house as-is, the couple had the kitchen renovated and added a screened porch, which—alas—made the rest of the house look "dated," says Linda.

Eventually, the Weintraubs decided on a décor do-over, and Doug finally relaxed his ban on design assistance. "A friend of mine told me about someone," says Linda, "an interior designer who was just a really good guy with really good taste and not full of himself."

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