English Country Home is a full-service interior design consultation, installation, and home staging company. The company is also known for its party rentals, window treatments, and coverings.
With one of the largest selection of fabrics on Long Island, English Country provides an array of tastefully beautiful rugs, wall and floor coverings, as well as reupholstered design.
The English country meets antique style comes together seamlessly through the creativity of Englishman Chris Mead. Mead proudly works with local designers such as Mabley Handler, Tamara Magel, Hamptons House Design, Heiberg Cummings, Melanie Roy, Babcock Pfeffer, Karen Gorman, Robyn Karp, Amy Werful, Susanne Kelley, Greg McKenzie, and many more.
Owner Chris Mead recently shared his thoughts on the changing landscape of interior design.
How did you get your start in interior design?
In 1980, I bought my first cottage on the East End, in Noyac, on the water. At the time, I was working and photographing for the book American Country, which started the American country decorating style/craze.
While I was traveling around, I bought many early American pieces and used them to decorate my cottage. After publishing several books, I opened American Country, a store with Mary Emmerling that was often copied by larger department stores.
With my English heritage, I continued to trade in English country antiques and style, importing over 150 containers to New York from the United Kingdom, and opened English Country Antiques.
As design trends and styles have changed, so has my name, to E.C. Home, with the focus being more on modern and transitional furniture.
In what ways has the Hamptons’ design landscape changed?
Design in the Hamptons has often been influenced by the architectural style. When I started, everyone wanted old, historic homes, with interiors with character and decorated with antiques and traditional English country house style.
Now, with the popularity of modern homes and modern living styles, the new generation wants newly built homes that are furnished to reflect their modern lifestyles, even though the exterior is often still in the shingled style. In keeping with this trend, we have staged new homes and sold the entire installation, so that the buyer can sleep there the same day they close the deal!
The idea of a three-month summer season has changed too. People are visiting the Hamptons for a shorter time, coming back and forth, and therefore have less time to spend on decorating their beach house, which is why we keep a huge inventory, so that the Millennials can have their new home and lifestyle ready instantly.
what’s your definition of ‘English Country’?
The English country look is a more personal, relaxed look with emphasis on good quality and lasting style. It’s comfort — more lazy Sunday afternoon than slick Manhattan cocktail parties.
The definition of antique has traditionally been anything over 100 years old. However, words like vintage, upcycled, and reclaimed have all become part of the trend towards being surrounded by items that have history, character, are “green,” and have little or no carbon footprint.
How does the East End inspire you?
As a photographer, the East End and its changing beauty is a constant source of inspiration. My love of the colorful farm stands, the wide cornfields, and the beach near our home on Sagg-Main Street also influence my style.
The lifestyle out here and the changing patterns of how people live always keep me questioning how to make the store an exciting and inspirational place to visit. It’s a challenge to keep people coming back after 35 years! I like to keep my customers guessing as to what they might find the next time they visit the store.
What are some of your favorite antique items selling right now?
Out here, clients are often coming in looking for that item that is not available off the shelf. Designers also come in searching for pieces that will make a space memorable and personal.
I have a love of shell encrusted pieces, and I collect antique boxes that have been decorated with vintage sea shells, some quite large. Some are antique; some are made by an artist in England.
I still bring in a few containers each year, with accessories, antique tables, and dressers, to scatter around the store. The romance of antique furniture is still popular, just utilized on a lesser scale in each interior. The antique becomes a focal point, rather than just part of the furniture.
English Country Home is located on 26 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton. Call the store at 631-537-0606 or visit virtually at http://www.ecantiques.com.