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House & Garden

“Shock to the System.” Arango, Jorge S. September 2007.
see project page here

Dismissing the typical idea of a cozy Hamptons retreat, gallery owner Rachel Lehmann and her husband, Jean-Pierre, treat their house and garden as an art installation calculated to provoke a reaction.

Whether by the art of the furnishings, a visitor finds himself bowled over at every turn with emotional reactions– often contradictory ones. Faced with Juergen Teller’s photo portrait of the ages romance novelist Barbara Cartland, for instance, you don’t know whether to be appalled by Cartland’s dubious celebrity and tacky surroundings or feel a sudden warmth for this oft-scorned woman who has clearly primped so fastidiously for her close-up. Similarly, some guests might react to the Lehmann’s bedroom ensemble with utter bewilderment. It’s comprised of an amoeba-shaped, molded, cotton headboard pocked with large silvered leather bubbles, and a bench and bedside tables supported on what look like cartoon animal hooves. But the free-wheeling oddness adds humor and keeps the house from feeling like a self-consciously curated gallery.

Clearly the Lehmanns weren’t interested in just another “tasteful” Hamptons retreat. “It has always been important for us to create a personal experience, whether in our collection or in the way we live,” Rachel says.

“It’s not about a décor with a rationale— what you typically see in a magazine,” Jean-Pierre says. “The way things come together is, simply, our way.”

-The master bathroom, above, designed by Murdock Young Architects, NYC, includes an egg-shaped tub by Agape and shower by Ponsi.