In the language of daily life, time is an adversary: We race against it, kill it, beat it, and monetize it. We hire experts to erase its scars, then we unroll yoga mats in an effort to pacify it.
Veronica Swanson Beard has acquired a surprising ally in this fray: a house. Situated in Locust Valley, on Long Island, it's where she and her family—including husband Jamie Beard and three boys under the age of 10—spend their weekends appreciating time's benevolent side as a bestower of memories. "I wanted the notches on the doorjamb, the games in the backyard," says Swanson Beard, co-owner of an eponymous sportswear line.
The front facade of the Colonial-style house, which was built in 1865 and is surrounded by almost five acres of formal gardens.
And the 1865 farmhouse—surrounded by stone terraces and almost five acres of formal gardens—offered the perfect setting. "It's got this magical family feeling," she says, "an old-fashioned, all-American charm."
She and her husband bought the Colonial-style house last September and moved in less than five months later. "It was full-on," says Swanson Beard of the redesign. The process was driven by her keen longing to quickly get on with building their lives there. After all, as she puts it, "We have forever to modify the decor. But you can't relive these years. You look up, and the kids are in high school."
In the kitchen, the chairs, with cushions in a Schumacher stripe, and table are by McGuire, the tole chandelier is antique, and the flooring is oak
To assist her with the breakneck turnaround, she teamed up with her aunt Chiqui Woolworth and college friend Brittany Bromley, who are both decorators. Together, the trio dreamed up interiors steeped in nostalgic charm. "We'd joke that it's granny-chic, sloppy and comfortable," Swanson Beard says. Chintz and leopard prints abound, along with shades of pink, green, and trench-coat tan. "We all grew up in homes that felt like this, collected and curated," Bromley says.
In the master bedroom, the bed and coronet are upholstered in an Oscar de la Renta floral and dressed in linens by D. Porthault; the French chaise and Turkish kilim are antique, and the strié walls are hand-painted.
They unearthed old Colefax and Fowler prints for the solarium, picked out a Brunschwig & Fils wallcovering for the living room, and upholstered the canopy bed in the master bedroom in a floral by Oscar de la Renta. And everywhere, they layered patterns and textures, from silk velvet to wool kilim, raffia to polished chrome.
In the mudroom, the walls are covered in hand-painted strié stripes, the floor is waxed ceramic tile, and the antique rug is Anatolian.
Woolworth, who lives nearby, oversaw much of the daily craftsmanship required by the project, paying particular attention to such wall treatments as hand-painted strié in the bedroom and mudroom, and wallpapers throughout. "The house has great bones," she says, "but the rooms are large rectangles with low ceilings, and there's not much excitement to them. Wallpaper provided that surprise element. Each room has an identity now; each is very inviting."
The dining room's vintage mirrored table is surrounded by a set of Milo Baughman chairs upholstered in a GP & J Baker velvet; the slipper chairs by the window are vintage, the vintage chandelier is from Ellen Ward Scarborough Antiques, and the rug is by Stark.
The result is a home that references cherished older memories while helping to create new ones. "Many things Jamie and I were familiar with growing up gave life to this house," Swanson Beard says. "I love the changing of hands with the generations."
Talents, too, pass from one generation to another: Swanson Beard credits her mother, Elizabeth, with helping her to cultivate an eclectic eye and a passion for the search. "My mom is an amazing collector," she says. "Treasure hunting was ingrained in me at an early age."
In the sunroom of Jamie Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard's Long Island, New York, weekend home, which Swanson Beard designed with decorators Chiqui Woolworth and Brittany Bromley, the custom sofa is covered in a Gastón y Daniela chintz, the vintage armchairs are in a Lee Jofa fabric, and the bentwood chairs are antique; the ebonized chair is from Meg Braff Designs. The Turkish kilim is from ABC Carpet & Home, and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's Essex Green, with trim in Simply White.
While Woolworth and Bromley attended to color samples and swatches, Swanson Beard often pursued furnishings and decorative objects. "We'd have marathon meetings, and afterward, when everyone else was drained, Veronica would go out and hunt," Bromley says.
Swanson Beard and her sons in the family Jeep.
Such energy has surely helped fuel the success of Veronica Beard, the clothing line Swanson Beard started in 2010 with her sister-in-law, Veronica Miele Beard. (They are married to brothers Jamie and Anson.) Built around the idea of fashion staples—"the stalwarts, the classics with a twist," she says—the clothes are sold in department stores including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Recently, the pair also opened the first Veronica Beard store on Madison Avenue.
Furniture from Horchow on the terrace has cushions covered in Sunbrella fabrics; the Chippendale-style cocktail table and the pendant light are antique, and the flooring is bluestone.
Perhaps even more impressive than the fashion designer's indefatigable energy is her ability to collaborate with friends and relatives in pursuit of creative visions. "I attribute it to how she communicates," Bromley says. "You always feel like you're working with her, not for her."
Designing the home let Swanson Beard give free rein to her more idiosyncratic creative impulses. "I'm a bit bolder in my home than I am with the sportswear collection, because it's 100 percent me," she says. "Decorating is an incredible vehicle for self-expression. You surround yourself with things that are important to you, things you love."
Swanson Beard with two of her sons in the kitchen; the stove and hood are by Viking, the stools and pendant lights are from West Elm, and the cabinetry is painted in Benjamin Moore's Nantucket Gray.
Of course, what Swanson Beard adores most aren't things at all. "I come down to the kitchen in the morning, and my heart just overflows," she says. "To have these three amazing kids and a wonderful husband makes me so happy. This house is a big love song to them."
For now, it's a tune set on repeat. "We're so fortunate, but we are also really cognizant of time," she notes. "Drink it up while you can."
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Siweb.