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Curious Yellow Design

Eccentric art, like this wire sculpture from The Phillips Collection, can be found throughout the 9,000-square-foot house.


Nordic Nirvana

By Alicia Brunker

Photography by Zev Starr-Tambor


Curious Yellow Design crafts a sanctuary in Wainscott with cues from Scandinavia.

The stark minimalism of Scandinavian design isn’t typically associated with the relaxed beach vibe of the Hamptons. Despite a white color palette with pops of blue, the two destinations don’t have much else in common when it comes to interiors. However, partners Anna Cappelen and Chloe Pollack-Robbins of the New York-based studio Curious Yellow Design have established the foundation of their practice in Nordic style, transforming houses across the East End into Scandi-influenced hideaways steeped in layers of comfort. And the design duo’s latest project—a historical property deep in the woods of Wainscott—is an ideal representation of their approach.

In the early 2000s, Cappelen moved from her native Oslo, Norway, to New York City, where she later founded Curious Yellow Design and brought on Pollack-Robbins as a partner. After a few years of rebellion against the Nordic aesthetic that had defined her childhood, Cappelen began to embrace the austere elegance of Scandinavian design that was made popular by her architect grandparents and their friends in the midcentury. “It was normal for me to be at my grandparents’ house sitting at the kitchen table with Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen,” says Cappelen. “I grew up in a [family steeped in design], and when I moved to New York, I was so over it. But now, more and more, I’m getting back to my roots.”

Curious Yellow Design

A Dedon swing upholstered in linen adds a playful touch to the sunroom.

Today, Cappelen’s Scandinavian heritage is evident in Curious Yellow’s work, which is one of the reasons homeowner Joey May enlisted the pair to renovate her newly purchased home. In order to achieve the look of a contemporary chic barn, Cappelen and Pollack-Robbins decided to excavate the entire house. “We want people to walk inside and be surprised,” says Pollack-Robbins. “You have the traditional shingles and white shutters on the exterior, but indoors, Joey wanted it to be very bright with organic and bohemian elements, where nothing is too precious.”

In the sunroom, a playful Dedon swing, upholstered in durable white linen, overlooks the outdoor pool from a pair of glass Kolbe folding doors, and two of Danish designer Borge Mogensen’s “Hunting” chairs face a plush 6-foot-deep sofa from ABC Carpet & Home. “We created it to be a room where you can jump right out of the pool and not be afraid that you’re a little bit damp,” explains Pollack-Robbins. “Sometimes Scandi style can be too raw, so we like to add a lot of texture and fabric to make it cozy.”

Meanwhile, upstairs, a thick wool wall-to-wall carpet is akin to walking on a cloud. From mood boards to renderings and the finished product, May trusted Curious Yellow’s eye throughout the entire process. “It definitely turned out to be a place where Anna and I wouldn’t mind living, and there’s nothing better than that,” says Pollack-Robbins.  

Curious Yellow Design

Layers of comfort in the form of knit pillows and a wool rug offset the living room’s strong Scandinavian style.