New york, United States

Farmhouse on Shelter Island

“We are on an island with no bridges to the mainland, so you have to take a ferry.” Stephen Harvey explains. “You don’t come here unless you want to come here. You don’t drive through it accidentally.

You get the sense that Harvey and his interior designer partner, Perry Sayles, enjoy the relative seclusion after several years trotting the globe for work. Sayles was a successful lawyer, and the pair lived in Hong Kong and London before returning to New York, collecting furniture and objects along their journey.

“We’ve always liked collecting things as we travelled,’ confirms Sayles. “We accumulated lots of stuff over many years.”

When they arrived back in the US, Sayles decided it was time for a career change. “I enjoyed being a lawyer. I liked the challenge of it,” he says. “It was great, but I was a partner in a big firm and your career path becomes narrower and narrower. We came back to the US, and I decided I was not that interested in practicing law anymore. I felt it was time for a shift.” He had long har-boured ambitions to be an architect, but the length of the course was off-putting for someone embarking on a second career. Instead, he enrolled on a two-year interior design course at Parsons School of Design in NYC.

 

Harvey, meanwhile, mapped his career path out after seeing an exhibition on Tutankhamun in Chicago at 10 years old. “I decided I was going to be an Egyptologist and I doggedly stuck with it through university at Yale, where I met Perry.” When they moved to London, he did not have a university position yet, so Sayles created an office for him at the top of their five-storey Battersea townhouse, which was designed with USM Haller shelving.

Currently, the pair both work out of their eighteenth century, farmhouse on Shelter Island. Already renovated in 1999 by a previous owner, there have since been various further upgrades by Sayles that make up the house. Besides a new kitchen, he also stripped back some of the ceil-ings to expose the original beams. And when it comes to furniture and accessories he likes to mix-and-match, juxtaposing contemporary and heritage pieces.

 

They had their old USM shelving reconfigured and combined for their new home, storing some of their books as well as displaying their collection of native American pottery and other pieces they have gathered over the years.

“I would never have thought of taking that modern, blue metal furniture piece and putting it in our dining room, which has that old farmhouse feel with the wooden beams. But now it looks so wonderful.”

To this they added a bar cart and a pair of bedside tables that Sayles designed with help of the design team of USM.

“One of the things I like about USM is the variety of options,” he says. “You can choose strong colours.”

The fact that the shelving is a comfortable fit in very different environments came as a pleasant surprise to Harvey. “In London, the owners of our house had made things nice and spare and clean inside. USM fitted in there and I loved that office space. I would never have thought of taking that modern, blue metal furniture piece and putting it in our dining room, which has that old farmhouse feel with the wooden beams. But now it looks so wonderful.”

If you want to purchase a USM Haller piece yourself design it now in

our online configurator, or find a quick-ship selection of curated

USM pieces in our online shop, or find your local sales partner here.

Or visit our USM showroom in London.

 

Photographer: Chris Mottalini

 

 

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