A charming summer retreat on New York’s Shelter Island transports designer Rebecca Taylor to her native New Zealand, where dinner under the stars and lazy sun-drenched afternoons are part of a daily rhythm.
Horseback riding, swimming in the pool, biking on car-free streets these were all the scenes Taylor envisioned for her children even before she had twins Isabel and Zoe, 8, and Charlie, 6. She just didn’t know this type of idyllic setting could be found so close to her home in Brooklyn. “I had never been to the Hamptons, and I’d never been to Shelter Island, but a friend of mine had been coming out here to horseback ride, and I wanted to get back into it myself,” the 45-year old recalls of her first visit to this 8,000-acre island situated just a few miles from tony East Hampton. “So my husband and I came out nine years ago for Christmas.”
When they arrived, snow was falling and a deer crossed in front of them while they window-shopped at the one bookstore in town. The couple was smitten. “We contacted a real estate agent, she showed us this house, and we bought it on that first trip,” she says. “It was incredibly rash.”
She may have a CFDA nomination under her cinched belt and dozens of celebrities dying to be dressed by her (Olivia Palermo, Emma Roberts, and Taylor Swift are big fans), but on Shelter Island she’s just Mom. “Wayne and I get very traditional in our roles out here: cooking and cleaning for me, lawn and trash for him,” she says jokingly. “It’s
really perfection. All we’re missing is a name for the place.” They toyed with naming the house the Pines, “but we just end up calling it the Island.” Far from city life and business obligations, Taylor’s retreat lives up to its moniker. “It’s a special spot,” she says, taking in her surroundings and marveling at her luck that today’s rain never came. “It’s like New Zealand. You don’t need as much here—just good food, good wine, family, and, of course, some nice clothes.”