When Gil Walsh was asked to participate in this year’s Hampton Designer Showhouse, which opens on July 19, one thought came to mind—Betty Sherrill.
“A showhouse room is always more personal when it begins with a personality,” said Walsh of her inspiration to create a room in Sherrill’s honor. “When we learned of Betty Sherrill's passing, there was an immediate emotional reaction. Honestly, I wouldn't have a career had it not been for her. She paved the way for interior designers, especially women, to thrive in their own businesses.”
The late Betty Sherrill at home in Manhattan
Sherrill, who passed away in May at age 91, was one of the most iconic interior designers of our time, and served as owner and chairman of McMillen Inc., now run by her daughter and granddaughter Anne and Elizabeth Pyne.
Given the task of creating a study for the showhouse, Walsh described her space as sunny, chic and optimistic—all qualities that reflect Sherrill’s iconic designs.
Gil Walsh and Elizabeth Pyne at Betty Sherrill's Manhattan apartment
“McMillen, Inc.'s body of work is so extraordinary and consistent,” said Walsh. “The design vocabulary used by the firm is very clear and so familiar to me. It embodies how I was trained as a designer, so this was a very organic process. Visiting Betty's own New York apartment only confirmed what I knew to be the hallmarks of her firm's philosophy. Words cannot express what a privilege it was to be shown through the home by Betty's granddaughter, Elizabeth—a talented designer in her own right. There was such pride and love, it brought me to tears.”
Betty Sherrill's original Southampton living room
“We cannot wait to see Gil Walsh's tribute to my grandmother,” added Pyne. “She loved Southampton and the artists, landscape architects, antique dealers, and designers that make the East End such a vibrant community. We are touched that Gil is celebrating my grandmother in a place that brought her so much joy."
Gil Walsh's team working on the installation for the study
Displaying daffodil yellow and shades of coral, the room also features artful furniture, substantial window treatments and eclectic art. “Betty Sherrill was a maestro, and we attempted to compose the room with her sense of scale and attention to detail.”
Walsh's mood board and a sneakpeek of the showhouse study
When asked what she hopes visitors will take away from her space, Walsh responded, “that classical decorating will never go out of style and that ‘timeless’ is probably the greatest compliment a designer could ever receive.”
The Hampton Designer Showhouse sponsored by Traditional Home also features rooms created by designers such as Allison Hennessy, Tobi Fairley, Elsa Soyers, Katie Leede, Ken Wampler and Patrick Lonn, among others. It opens with a Gala Preview Cocktail Party on Saturday, July 19, from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. The house will be open to the public Sunday, July 20, through Labor Day, Monday, September 1. Showhouse hours are Monday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission to the Showhouse is $35 and includes the Showhouse Journal. Gala tickets are $225 each. (408 Pauls Lane in Bridgehampton)