At-Home In East Hampton With Frances Schultz, Author Of The Bee Cottage Story
For East Hampton author, Frances Schultz, what began as a decorating book evolved into a memoir combining the best elements of both: beautiful photos and a compelling personal story. Schultz taps into what she learned during her renovations in The Bee Cottage Story, “determining how each area in her East Hampton home and garden would be used and furnished—to unravel the question of how an intelligent, successful woman could have made such a mess of her personal life”. As she figures out each room over a period of years, Frances finds a new path in life, also a continual process. “I came to learn that, like decorating a home, our lives must adapt to who we are and what we need at different points along the way,” she shares.
The Bee Cottage Story is part memoir, part home decorating guide. Frances discusses the kinds of useful, commonsense design issues professionals take for granted and the rest of us just may not think of, prompting the reader to examine and discover her own “truth” in decorating—and in her life. Take a tour of Bee Cottage in the KDHamptons At-Home Diary, below:
KDHamptons: What do you love most about the Hamptons?
Frances Schultz: Arriving there, getting out of the car and smelling the ocean. After that, I love everything about the Hamptons, but the traffic. So I ride my bike!
KDHamptons: What does a perfect Hamptons day look like to you?
Frances Schultz: It’s so simple that it makes for boring copy, but great real life! I have several scenarios of perfect days, but one is I get up early, meditate, read, write, frutz around in the garden, exercise – play tennis, walk, swim. I keep saying I’ll go hit golf balls and play a few holes, but I keep not doing it. I also am dying to paddle board.
Okay, but back to the day: After exercise, I shop for dinner and visit my favorite farm stands. Round Swamp and Pete’s. I make supper for a few friends – mostly things I can do in advance – and set the table. I fix flowers from the garden for the house and table if I haven’t already. Then I try to relax completely for an hour or so before company comes. I put my feet up, read, doodle or draw or paint, maybe jump in the pool. That refreshes and energizes me, so I’m relaxed and happy even in the midst of last minute preparations before my guests’ arrival. Because once they’re there, it’s all about them.
KDHamptons: How did you discover your home, Bee Cottage? How would you describe the cottage in one sentence for our readers?
Frances Schultz: I first saw it from the street. It was first on the market about a year before I bought it. There was a sign out front. I walked over and took pictures of it because I thought it was so charming. I never dreamed I’d end up in it. Another man was there looking at it with me. He liked it, too. Funny. I’d describe it as a little stucco cottage with pretty blue shutters and a big heart.
KDHamptons: Which is your favorite room in your home and why?
Frances Schultz: Easy! It’s the outdoor room, the terrace, because it looks onto the garden, which is the best part of the house. And it’s heated, so we can be out there til November, when the awning comes down.
KDHamptons: Share a fun little design story about Bee Cottage?
Frances Schultz: I have these huge bronze dolphin cheniers that were my mother’s and look like they came from some grand, gilded age Newport mansion, which I think they did. And here they are by my little ol’ fireplace in my little ol’ house. Talk about fish out of water. But my designer and friend, Tom Samet, suggested we make them into lamps, and they’re great!
KDHamptons: What inspired the color palette of Bee Cottage? Did you work with an interior designer?
Frances Schultz: I’ve always been a green-and-white girl. It’s so fresh and crisp. For the bedrooms I went into the blues and grays, with a tiny splash of red in the guest room, just for fun. Atlanta designer and friend, John Oetgen, several years ago helped me pull together the green and white stripes for first Bee Cottage, and they carried over to this current Bee. New York designer Tom Samet has helped me with today’s Bee Cottage, and I bless the day he agreed to do it. As for design inspiration, I think of it as a glorified garden shed with a great aunt in the Cotswolds and a cousin in Provence.
KDHamptons: Do you have a favorite design purchase you are obsessed with?
Frances Schultz: OMG absolutely! The HUGE armillary I found at the East Hampton Antiques Show last summer. I had a space in my garden just waiting for it, and it finally appeared….
KDHamptons: Which are your two favorite stores in the Hamptons?
Frances Schultz: The Monogram Shop is the best for hostess gifts and special, personalized presents for special friends – or that one chic pick-me-up accessory for your own house. And I also love Mecox Gardens, always.
KDHamptons: You are often referred to as THE best hostess in East Hampton~ will you please share three tips that we should all entertain by?
Frances Sxhultz: You might need to check your sources, but thank you. Okay, here’s three~
1. Keep it simple and remember above all that people are there to see you, and you them. They don’t care if you’ve frozen rose petals into the ice cubes. Have simple food and lots of it, and if you have more than eight and it’s a buffet, make sure what you serve “holds” well~ that it can be made in advance, and it’s good at room temperature. That takes a lot of pressure off you; and when you’re relaxed, everyone else will be, too.
2. Make it pretty. Keeping #1 in mind, use one or two kinds of flowers and lots of them. Use your silver, your linen napkins, your pretty china. Use lots of candles. Votives with tea lights are inexpensive and always effective.
3. Know that something will go wrong and decide in advance not to let it rattle you: It will pour rain. The bartender will not show. The dog will eat the steaks. You can always, respectively: Move indoors. Recruit a guest to man the bar. Send out for pizza!
To order The Bee Cottage Story go HERE Photos in this feature by Kelli Delaney