Mabley Handler Interior Design was founded on a passion for people, for both the Hamptons and Palm Beach areas.
Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler are the couple behind the company that has been featured in Hampton Designer Showhouse, Holiday House Hamptons, and Hamptons Cottages & Gardens Idea House, to name a few. Their most recent endeavor launched in Spring of 2017 with the new Mabley Handler Kravet Furniture Collection. Bethpage based fabric and furniture store, Kravet, celebrates a century of being a leader in the trade home furnishings industry. With 35 beach-chic designs, encapsulating the laidback luxury quintessential to the Hamptons, this is a powerful collaboration. Picture sleek silhouettes, grasscloth wallpaper, coin-sized discs, campaign-style brackets, and metal elements idyllic for the casual and refined home. Choose between seven cerused oak and quarter sawn, finished in a range of tones.
Customization is key and Mabley Handler knows how to cater to each individual taste. They take a conceptual dream and turn it into reality. The Independent recently spoke with Austin Handler about the company’s design work.
What’s it like working with your spouse?
Jennifer and I feel like we are really fortunate that we get to work together. We both love what we do, and it certainly helps that we share a very similar design aesthetic. We almost have a design shorthand with each other; we can describe the nuances of different styles with just a few words and know exactly what the other person is talking about. And there are so many elements involved in designing an entire home, so we both get to touch a wide variety of details on every project.
There is a lot of blue in your portfolio. what’s its significance?
We love the color blue, and it works so naturally out here so of course we use it. It reminds us of the sky, the ocean; it has such a beautiful, natural feel to it. And it’s very versatile—we use soft, pale tones in projects that are designed to be more low-key and relaxing, and we use bolder shades in projects where we’re looking to make more of a statement.
We’ve become well known for loving blue. In 2013, we celebrated our firm’s 10-year anniversary in the Hamptons, and many of our clients and friends who attended the party came dressed in blue because they knew it was our signature color.
What Are things you look for when meeting a new client?
We look at whatever inspired our clients to come to us in the first place. Many of them have Pinterest boards, and many still have tear sheets from the glossy Hamptons summer magazines, often of our editorials or ads. But that’s just a jumping off point, the most important part comes in the conversations we have with them about what they want to achieve with their Hamptons home.
Occasionally we’ll meet with a client who says, “I don’t know what I like, but I know I like your work, so just do what you think is best.” But most clients have an idea of what they want. Sometimes they’re great about having references and tear sheets and inspirations. But sometimes they don’t know where to start, or don’t know how to talk about design, or have difficulty putting into words what they like.
That’s where we come in; we help them through the process, and we help give them the language to communicate what their desires are. Then we get to turn those desires into a reality, which is a really great feeling. It’s what makes our job so worthwhile, helping a client get from not being able to express what they want, to loving the final result.
When did you first come out to the hamptons?
In 2001, Jennifer was working on a project on Wyandanch Lane in Southampton Village. And as we discussed where we were going live after we got married, we quickly abandoned our initial idea to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and started talking about launching a design firm in the Hamptons. She had a fabric and drapery store in Tribeca and was doing interior design work from there, but we wanted a change in quality of life, and wanted to start a family outside of Manhattan. So, we were inspired to move, to follow that first project in Southampton and move to the Hamptons.
What is the origin of your phrase “home scope?”
We coined the phrase “home scope” when we first moved out here and started working in the Hamptons, over 15 years ago. It’s a term that came to us because we truly love to focus on all elements of a home, from the architecture and architectural details, to space planning and interiors, to furniture and fabrics, to art and accessories, even down to the landscaping.
When we work on a project, we don’t just design a beautiful interior, we get to know our clients, and discover who they are and how the live, and most important, how they want to live in their Hamptons home. When you discover all of those elements, you can’t help but want to help shape the entire project so that it has a cohesive feel that address how our clients want to live.
Describe your collaboration with Kravet.
It’s a 35-piece collection of coastal-inspired furniture that we created, based on our work in the Hamptons. The collection is made of cerused white oak, finished in colors that reference the elements of the ocean, such as Dune, Shell, Sand, Pearl, Stingray. All of the pieces in the collection are named for places in the Hamptons, such as Flying Point, Hayground, Meadow Lane, Bridge Lane, Lily Pond, Halsey, Privet Lane, Maidstone, North Haven. We are so inspired by the Hamptons, so of course our furniture collection would reference those same inspirations.
Do you often get referrals from real estate agents?
We work with all of the real estate agents out here, not one in particular. Over the years, many of the real estate agents in the Hamptons have become familiar with us and our firm, our design style, and our reputation, and have been kind enough to refer us to their clients. A fair amount of our work comes from recommendations from realtors out here, sometimes from brokers we know, and sometimes from brokers that we don’t know. And I think that’s a testament to the reputation that we’ve developed in the Hamptons over the years, that we’re a New York City-caliber design firm that is based in the Hamptons.
How long does your process typically take?
The time we spend on any given project can range from several months to a year or two. If we’re starting from scratch with a client, working with an architect to start designing a house, and then getting into construction, that process can take a year or two. If a client’s house is brand new and ready to move in, we usually take three to six months from start to finish.
Inevitably, every spring we get calls in March, April and even May from recent home-buyers who want to be in for the summer, and we can accommodate those requests too. It’s a different process, less custom furnishings, more local shopping for readily available furniture, but we always make it happen.
What excites you most about a project?
The most exciting part of a project is when we meet with a client and we start discussing what they love, and what they want their house to look like and feel like. When we start to share ideas and show them examples; we see them getting excited. That’s such a fantastic feeling. And then the icing on the cake is getting to see their reaction when we’re all done and they walk through the house for the first time.
Have you designed homes on the North Fork or Shelter Island?
We’ve worked everywhere in and around the Hamptons from Westhampton and Quogue, to Montauk, to North Haven and Shelter Island, even up to the North Fork in Southold, Cutchogue, and Jamesport. But the majority of our projects fall between Southampton and Amagansett.
Visit www.mableyhandler.com to see more of their designs, or call 631-726-7300.