When Jordan Carlyle and Mario Margelist first moved in together seven years ago, the thrill of being in the same city and, importantly, the same house was too great to risk jinxing. “We had been in a long-distance relationship for some time, and Mario was shuttling between Zurich and New York every month or so, working from here when he could. That is, until we realized there was no reason for him not to work from here full time,” recalls Carlyle, founder and principal of New York–based Carlyle Designs. Margelist is founder of Swiss luxury goods boutique, Lux, and Carlyle’s husband. Of course, with all the excitement that followed, neither man was particularly inclined to make any aesthetic edits to the apartment they now call home—one that Carlyle had occupied for many years prior. “We kind of just settled in right away.”
What they didn’t preempt, or plan for, was that the buzz and vibrancy of the city would come with an expiration date. “I’d been in New York for over 12 years, and I was getting burned out with the frenetic pace. We were traveling every single month just to escape the city,” Carlyle says. And so, he and Margelist set their hearts on moving someplace quieter; somewhere close enough for comfort, yet distant enough to slough off the stridency of the city.
It took a year of searching online before they chanced upon a rarity: a Georgian Colonial farmhouse in East Hampton with a silent movie–era vibe. “From the outside, we both loved it. The inside, though, was an altogether different story,” says Margelist, for whom the oldfangled interior admittedly served as writing on the wall. Carlyle, however, was of a different view: “I am equally partial to traditional and contemporary design. Mario often jokes that I could comfortably live in an 18th-century castle and never want to leave.” After some deliberation, the pair decided they’d modernize the interior while preserving the façade.
What followed was a top-to-bottom renovation: Window trims were removed, wainscotting and baseboards were peeled off, and the shell was re-plastered. Of course, not everything was done anew. “I wanted to make sure the house retained its charm, warmth, and character, so we kept the original 18th-century front door and pine wood floors,” says Carlyle, who complemented these vintage curiosities with such new additions as Moroccan limestone vanities and counters, reclaimed wood beams and ceilings, and floors made of 300-year-old Bar Gris limestone salvaged from a farmhouse in France.
For the furniture and furnishings, the couple chose pieces that were equal parts vintage and voguish. The living room, for example, was enhanced by otherworldly totems by Pauline Esparon, and a Fritz Hansen slipper chair and a 1950s Danish sofa were added to the primary suite. The upholstery was a considered mix of bouclé, mohair velvet, and calf hair, among other fabrics.
For Carlyle, the project was a departure from the norm in more ways than one. “In any of my past relationships, I would have been the one taking the lead on the design front. But Mario, being in fashion, has a great eye and is intuitive about design. When we decided to get the house, we knew we’d both be equally involved,” he says.
Most mornings, the couple can be found catching some sun in the family room. “The lighting in the morning makes it the perfect home office spot, and in the evening, we like to kick back by the fireplace,” Carlyle says. For him the home is a haven where he can hang up his boots and become temporarily invisible. “We really imagined this as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city, a calming and soothing place to relax all year round.” It was a promise to himself, delivered in full.