Interior designer Hadley Wiggins Marin creates timeless spaces that juxtapose eras

Hadley Wiggins-Marin doesn’t just love the past; she knows exactly how to merge it with the present. The thoughtful interior designer has a unique skill in finding the thread between eras and vintage objects, making them span the ages and work together seamlessly in any home. She stays away from singular trends, whether Midcentury Modern, Modern Farmhouse or even Japandi, the new Japanese-Scandinavian minimalist trend of the moment, preferring her own. Call it timeless eclectic.

“I try to steer clear of trends because they can feel overtone and be contrived,” says the designer, who splits her time between New York and North Fork. “My real passion is antiques, unique and completely one-of-a-kind things, and it kind of conflicts with that trend idea.” Developing her passion, she recently transformed her Peconic North Found & Co. antique store into a showroom/office space for her full-time interior design and architectural firm Hadley Wiggins Design Studio.

If she doesn’t like one-grade things, it’s because she isn’t a grade either. Born in Muir Beach, California, Wiggins-Marin lived in London and then New York, with a family home on Martha’s Vineyard, “an ongoing source of inspiration.” Her husband is from Italy and they travel there several times a year to vacation and visit family. Unsurprisingly, with its rich history and beautiful aesthetic, Italy serves as both treasure and muse.

“Even the mundane is a source of inspiration in Italy, especially in the Tyrol/Alto Adige regions that we frequent,” says Wiggins-Marin. “The Milanese apartments taught me how subtle harmony can be between eclectic products – mixing the old with the hyper modern.” In fact, she joked that the gorgeous 1930s Villa Necchi Campiglio in Italy, the setting of films like “I Am Love” and “House of Gucci,” was a major distraction from following the plots.

UNDERSTANDING ANTIQUES

There is an inherent language in antiques and vintage objects, and Wiggins-Marin’s career as a designer as well as her training in art history at Sarah Lawrence College contributed to her mastery. It’s also probably why every interior photo on her @hadleywiggins Instagram looks like a museum-worthy painting.

When it comes to acquiring antiques, the average person often needs help sifting through the many disparate items in a store, and that’s where an expert’s eye comes in. She praises Southold’s White Flower Farmhouse for its beautiful conservation of white and blond farmhouse wood, which brings together a strong aesthetic. “Some antique stores do the work for you because otherwise it can be hard to see the forest for the trees,” she says. “With a certain level of showmanship, they help customers find harmony.” Sites like Pinterest or Instagram are also useful for refining an aesthetic, but she cautions against getting trapped in a visual echo chamber where the algorithm only shows you what you already like. To be open to discovering this truly special piece, she advises browsing vintage stores like Beall & Bell in Greenport (which now only sells via Instagram) or digital sites like Chairish or 1stDibs.

“The scheme was built around and in harmony with this one-of-a-kind little object. It’s always such a pleasure.

Hadley Wiggins-Marin

Even defined eras and styles have a range within them, allowing for more mixing than one might imagine. “You can choose something that has a mid-century shape, but maybe it has a patina that’s defined as more rustic,” she says. “And then it starts to be accepted by a rustic structure.” Likewise, a sleek, minimalist home with austere walls can almost function as a gallery space for an eclectic vintage piece, which essentially becomes a sculpture and focal point.

When it comes to color, Wiggins-Marin loves moody spaces, and that’s precisely why many clients seek it out. But she makes sure that the darker hues or patterns are applied with art and restraint. “You can’t have a whole house that’s incredibly moody, it’s just not practical,” she says, adding that the flow of the house has to allow it. “You have to find the spaces where you can do that, and color allows you to create these very diverse environments in your home. You can choose a smaller space where you really want to feel compressed and tucked in. Now you have reasons to use all of your different spaces, and they become a destination instead of just looking the same.

Hadley Wiggins-Marin photographed by David Benthal

Wallpaper, having a moment now, not only adds color and personality, but can also help blend the eras. “Wallpaper is one of the best ways to create an eclectic space,” she says. “You can choose a paper that you could put in the grandmother category, but add a mid-century credenza in front and you’ve got a really satisfying juxtaposition.”

Sometimes a vintage piece wields outrageous power, like the pale tones of a vintage lampshade that inspired the colors of an entire room. “The scheme was built around and in harmony with this one-of-a-kind little object,” she says. “It’s always such a pleasure.”

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

One of Wiggins-Marin’s innate skills is the immediate ability to spot the hidden vintage gem. Where an overflowing store or a jam-packed real estate sale often overwhelms the average person, their eye will focus on exactly what they need for a current or future project. “I’ve been to so many antique fairs and done so much antique shopping in my life that I can scan a pile of things and instantly know if there’s something I want or not. I I won’t even stop walking!” she said, to the astonishment of the person she was with. “They will always say, ‘How did you notice that?’ and frankly, I don’t know!

That same instinct brought her to North Fork over a decade ago. While casually looking for a house in the Hamptons with her then-boyfriend (now husband), their real estate agent directed them to the other fork. After visiting five homes in one day, they purchased a 1920s farmhouse in New Suffolk. They have since moved to an 1880s farmhouse in Cutchogue and are renting out the former.

With two homes now and a growing business, she has more space to preserve the history and authenticity of her antique finds, whether for herself or her clients. “It’s about buying what you absolutely love and finding the balance between how it all works together.”

She is also strongly opposed to the purchase of objects with the aim of transforming them. “I’ve restored a lot of things, but I don’t buy an antique with the vision of stripping it completely and giving it a new identity. The reason I buy something is because it’s a work of art and the artist. You can never recreate how the paint cracked in a certain way. It would take 50 years for that to happen!

She remembers the time in her old antique store when some people were talking to each other and saying, “Oh, that’s the right size; we’ll just paint it white. “And I jumped in and said, ‘I don’t think this is the room for you. I just couldn’t help it!

Betty K. Park