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Tour a Photographer’s Summer-Ready Long Island Retreat

Tour a Photographer’s Summer-Ready Long Island Retreat
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At Camp Isidro, as photographer Dean Isidro playfully calls his two-bedroom beach cottage on Long Island, the key word is relax. “Swimsuits are the dress code,” says Dean, who often hosts friends for sun-soaked weekends by the pool—and whose annual Fourth of July bash is a highlight of the summer season. Since buying the home (on the suggestion of a designer friend who lives nearby), Dean has taken his time decorating, filling the whitewashed rooms with found objects, charmingly weather-beaten antiques, and vintage textiles. There’s a seafaring feel to the space: Americana accents meet nautical materials meet eclectic objects found on far-flung voyages. It’s also deeply comfortable, as any weekend retreat should be.

Below, Dean shares a peek inside his rustic getaway—and inspires us to embrace relaxed summer style for the Fourth and beyond.

“I didn’t make any big changes when I moved in,” says Dean of his Long Island cottage. “My father, who is a carpenter, gave me advice early on to live in a house and get to know it before you start changing things around. I began with the simple cosmetic things, like stripping off the wallpaper and repainting the walls in a neutral palette.”

“I didn’t make any big changes when I moved in,” says Dean of his Long Island cottage. “My father, who is a carpenter, gave me advice early on to live in a house and get to know it before you start changing things around. I began with the simple cosmetic things, like stripping off the wallpaper and repainting the walls in a neutral palette.”

A wall of stacked logs, a sawhorse turned side table, a sun-faded flag: Collected antiques and weathered finishes lend laid-back Americana flair to the living room.

A wall of stacked logs, a sawhorse turned side table, a sun-faded flag: Collected antiques and weathered finishes lend laid-back Americana flair to the living room.

Dean’s home incorporates ideas and objects gleaned from his extensive travels. He found this collection of white ceramics in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. And though enamored of the weathered colors he saw on a trip to Cuba, Dean remains loyal to a palette of off-whites and grays inspired by the year he lived in Paris. “It will forever be my go-to canvas,” he says.

Dean’s home incorporates ideas and objects gleaned from his extensive travels. He found this collection of white ceramics in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. And though enamored of the weathered colors he saw on a trip to Cuba, Dean remains loyal to a palette of off-whites and grays inspired by the year he lived in Paris. “It will forever be my go-to canvas,” he says.

“I love the hunt at a weekend yard sale,” says Dean, who sourced most of the home’s furniture from local antiques shops, trips to Brimfield in Massachusetts, and estate sales. “There are so many cool little secrets on Long Island. I’ve found quite a bit from a place called Small Holdings Farm—Sheryl has the best taste. She’s the one up at the crack of dawn picking the best stuff at estate sales. She loves a good story about the history of the things she finds.”

“I love the hunt at a weekend yard sale,” says Dean, who sourced most of the home’s furniture from local antiques shops, trips to Brimfield in Massachusetts, and estate sales. “There are so many cool little secrets on Long Island. I’ve found quite a bit from a place called Small Holdings Farm—Sheryl has the best taste. She’s the one up at the crack of dawn picking the best stuff at estate sales. She loves a good story about the history of the things she finds.”

“I layer a lot by just resting artwork—placing objects on top of a stack of books or resting against a chair. I like to keep things loose and relaxed, because I’m always finding new things to add. It’s a beach cottage, so I don’t want it to feel or look too formal. Friends and guests should feel relaxed enough to walk around barefoot.”

“I layer a lot by just resting artwork—placing objects on top of a stack of books or resting against a chair. I like to keep things loose and relaxed, because I’m always finding new things to add. It’s a beach cottage, so I don’t want it to feel or look too formal. Friends and guests should feel relaxed enough to walk around barefoot.”

Dean finds inspiration in the Japanese wabi sabi aesthetic, which prescribes an acceptance of imperfection and impermanence. “I have a looser, more spontaneous approach of styling the cottage, surrounding myself with things I love to look at, things that have a story or a history.”

Dean finds inspiration in the Japanese wabi sabi aesthetic, which prescribes an acceptance of imperfection and impermanence. “I have a looser, more spontaneous approach of styling the cottage, surrounding myself with things I love to look at, things that have a story or a history.”

This antique French daybed is one of Dean’s favorite pieces. “I remember finding it at small shop in Riverhead—it had been sitting in a barn. The fabric was original French ticking that I ended up stripping off and dyeing in indigo. It sits in a nook in the sunroom and is the best spot for a summer afternoon nap.”

This antique French daybed is one of Dean’s favorite pieces. “I remember finding it at small shop in Riverhead—it had been sitting in a barn. The fabric was original French ticking that I ended up stripping off and dyeing in indigo. It sits in a nook in the sunroom and is the best spot for a summer afternoon nap.”

The bedroom is awash in airy neutrals, with hints of coastal blue and green. The layered bedding—including two lightweight blankets in indigo stripes—feels inviting and relaxed. “In Tulum, I discovered I loved blue and indigo, and I keep a lot of textiles thrown around,” says Dean.

The bedroom is awash in airy neutrals, with hints of coastal blue and green. The layered bedding—including two lightweight blankets in indigo stripes—feels inviting and relaxed. “In Tulum, I discovered I loved blue and indigo, and I keep a lot of textiles thrown around,” says Dean.

A riveted chrome mirror lends nautical charm to the bathroom, accented with found coral and an artfully paint-splattered shower curtain. White subway tiles keep the look bright and fresh.

A riveted chrome mirror lends nautical charm to the bathroom, accented with found coral and an artfully paint-splattered shower curtain. White subway tiles keep the look bright and fresh.

I have a looser, more spontaneous approach of styling the cottage, surrounding myself with things I love to look at, things that have a story or a history.

— Dean Isidro
Next to the bed, a mixed-media gallery wall anchors a charmingly weathered vignette. A vintage trunk steps in as a side table (and adds welcome storage to the small space).

Next to the bed, a mixed-media gallery wall anchors a charmingly weathered vignette. A vintage trunk steps in as a side table (and adds welcome storage to the small space).

Dean’s ideal summer weekend? “I usually wake up early, roll out of bed, and put a swimsuit on. I grab an espresso and head out into the yard—I love a warm summer morning, when I have time to pull a few weeds and do some yard work. This is always followed by a dip in the pool and another espresso. It’s a great way for me to unwind.”

Dean’s ideal summer weekend? “I usually wake up early, roll out of bed, and put a swimsuit on. I grab an espresso and head out into the yard—I love a warm summer morning, when I have time to pull a few weeds and do some yard work. This is always followed by a dip in the pool and another espresso. It’s a great way for me to unwind.”

The garden is as charmingly undone as the rest of the home, with boxwood shrubs flanking the entryway and simple stone slabs forming a path through the grass.

The garden is as charmingly undone as the rest of the home, with boxwood shrubs flanking the entryway and simple stone slabs forming a path through the grass.

Dean’s first weekend home was a three-story Victorian in upstate New York, furnished with modern pieces he had collected over the years. The move to Long Island brought a gradual shift to a more eclectic, laid-back style.

Dean’s first weekend home was a three-story Victorian in upstate New York, furnished with modern pieces he had collected over the years. The move to Long Island brought a gradual shift to a more eclectic, laid-back style.

It’s a beach cottage, so I don’t want it to feel or look too formal. Friends and guests should feel relaxed enough to walk around barefoot. Swimsuits are the dress code.

— Dean Isidro
Dean is looking forward to his annual Fourth of July celebration. “Every year it’s a tradition to fly this huge 48-star flag found at Brimfield between the two oak trees—it’s become the staple background of the Fourth of July selfie. The cottage will be filled with friends, lots of margaritas, probably some hot dogs, late-night dips, and outdoor showers.”

Dean is looking forward to his annual Fourth of July celebration. “Every year it’s a tradition to fly this huge 48-star flag found at Brimfield between the two oak trees—it’s become the staple background of the Fourth of July selfie. The cottage will be filled with friends, lots of margaritas, probably some hot dogs, late-night dips, and outdoor showers.”

Related: Tour a Next-Wave Designer’s Beautifully Relaxed Beach House →

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