At-Home In The Hamptons with Norwegian Designer Anna Cappelen
Tall, blond and beautiful with iceberg-blue eyes, Anna Cappelen of Curious Yellow Design could be the poster girl of Nordic beauty. But you won’t find this Norwegian country girl on any billboards. Instead, she’s makeup-free, feet in the sand, surfing with daughter Mila at Ditch Plains in Montauk and showcasing her authentic Scandinavian design background in Hamptons homes and hotels across the East End. Norway-born interior designer Anna Cappelen shares a look into her Bridgehampton cottage—filled with light and organic materials—and the history that informs her aesthetic in this new KDHamptons At-Home Feature.
KDHamptons: When did you start your design business, and how would you describe the aesthetic?
Anna Cappelen: I started Curious Yellow Design seven years ago after working as an art director in advertising for many years. I wanted to do something different, and I found designing houses very similar to designing ads. I always styled my own shoots for clients, so the transition felt very natural. At first, my design style was more rock ’n’ roll: lots of fur, dark colors. Now I’m back to the style of where I came from, Norway, incorporating Scandinavian design.
KDHamptons: There’s a strong Scandinavian design trend happening in the Hamptons, from stores like Homenature to hotels like c/o the Maidstone. What are some keynotes of the authentic look?
Anna Cappelen: Lots of natural wood and white, minimal, clean lines. The heritage of Scandinavian design developed after World War II. The furniture was simple, well-made, practical and inexpensive—that’s how our minimalistic aesthetic developed. Everything was built in the same wood as the floor. My grandfather was a professor in architecture and my grandmother was the first female architect after the war. They were against any moldings, curtains, fabrics and carved furniture. Everything was light oak wood and natural colors—and everything served a purpose. I learned so much from them both, as well as their friends Hans Wegner and Adolf Relling, who went on to become famous Norwegian designers.
KDHamptons: How long have you been coming to the Hamptons? What makes it such an important place for you and your daughter, Mila?
Anna Cappelen: I live and work in the city during the week, but I have been escaping to the Hamptons for 17 years—otherwise I’d go crazy, having grown up surrounded by nature in Norway. Mila loves to surf and I love the beach, so it’s our favorite place to be.
KDHamptons: You renovated your Bridgehampton cottage in what you term “Norwegian Beach” style. What were some of the elements you used?
Anna Cappelen: The house felt small and dark when I bought it. I took down all the walls on the rst oor to create ow between the living spaces, opened up the windows and switched in big glass doors, and painted the walls and oors white to make it feel less heavy. I grew up in small, uncomfortable beach houses in Norway; we had houses for looks and did everything outside. I have a little of that in me still, but I insist on acomfy sofa now instead of a bench.
KDHamptons: You have many carefully selected pieces in your home. Tell us about a special item with an interesting story.
Anna Cappelen: I love my old shabby chic linens with embroidered owers. ey remind me of my grandmother’s summer house linens, which were over 100 years old, from her home by the ocean near Oslo.
KDHamptons: Zip us through your perfect Montauk day?
Anna Cappelen: Wake up at 6 with Mila. Drive to Joni’s in Montauk and get a Wake Up shake. At 8, I drive Mila to Ditch Plains to watch her surf for a few hours. When she takes a break, we grab lunch from the Ditch Witch. In the afternoon, I check on my projects and work. We go to Fishbar for dinner—we love the fish tacos and the sunset. Then it’s home early to be up at 6 again… Heaven!
KDHamptons: Share your next big project on the East End?
Anna Cappelen: I will be redesigning two historic Montauk spots in September, the Trails End restaurant—the look will be my updated version of old rustic Montauk—and the Oceanside Beach Hotel, which will now be a Scandinavian-inspired surf retreat.