Dream Home: Shelter Island by Harriet Maxwell from Ochre

Ochre is a small design company founded by two British women Joanna Bibby and Harriet Maxwell Macdonald who met at art school in 1996 with enough ideas in common and enough independence to inspire each other to start a company which continues to grow organically. Ochre is admired for not only creating perfect forms – but also the use of colours: those of heather, bracken, wet and dry stone, water, and sky. This quiet beauty has become a signature for Ochre. Ochre’s work has the rare ability to serve more than its primary function, leading to a quietly powerful presence, often sculptural, always elegant, and invariably speaking of harmonious, intelligent design. Solenne de la Fouchardiere became the third partner of Ochre in October 2000, and the team continued to expand their horizon.

The house of one of the partners Harriet Maxwell Macdonald is situated on Shelter Island – an island between the north and south forks of Long Island – 2 hours from Manhattan. Andrew Corrie and Harriet Maxwell Macdonald live between there and Manhattan, with Ivo (3) and twins Celia and Alastair. It has 4 bedrooms.

How did you find the place? Describe the neighborhood? What makes this place so special? When was it Built
It has the most incredible view and you hardly see another house, (yet there are many!) ospreys fish right in front of the house – you cannot believe you are 2 hours away from New York!It was built in 1979.

What were the architectural challenges when you moved in? Were there any major works to do?What style did you want to bring to this place? What were your influences?
We still need to do major works! But we would keep the same character – it has simple shack feel – Scandinavianesque.We wanted to keep it very simple – it is really all about the view and the outside – the walls are all pine but with a whitish grey wash over them – the sofas are simple linens in washed out colors. It feels very beachy – we have collections of stones and shells along the banister.

Main room – Log burner was there when we bought the house. Snooze sofa and snooze chair by Ochre. Coffee table – moon table by Ochre. Cushion by Kirsten Hektermann.Throws by Canvas –available at the Ochre Store in NYC. Sheepskin rug available at the Ochre store NYC.


Snooze sofa covered in linen. Blue the whippet. Papier maché stool handmade by artisans in Haiti, available from Canvas. Painting by Leora Armstrong.Sofa from Anthropologie – in Dominique Kieffer linen. Coffee table – moon table by Ochre. Throw by Canvas. Stool by canvas. Coco Mirror in the background, made from shards of Coco, by Ochre.

Table given to me from a friend of mine, unfinished aluminium base – top ash, Hans Wegner chairs. Picture in background by Joseph Scheer “Moth”.


Map of Long Island showing Shelter Island. Scorpion lamp in white by Ochre.“Moth” as before. Vintage table from Golborne Rd London. Bench by Canvas.Ceramics from Canvas. Little blue coffee cups by Catriona.


Master bedroom – Massia lamps by Ochre, bed from De la Espada, little cushion by Margo Selby from the Ochre store. Watercolour of pebbles bought at a Royal College of Art graduate exhibition. Master bathroom – Limestone slab surrounding bath, in front of bath fabrics from India, baskets from Ochre, towels and bathmat by Canvas.

Deck – Bamboo awning.


Office – Shelves from West Elm, white trays in background by Ochre


Downstairs playroom – Sofa from Jonathan Adler, pink chair form Canvas. Old prototype leather stool by Ochre, Cherub Lamp by Ochre, paintings by Leora Armstrong. Below ceramics by Daniel Smith, London.

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