Get Zen! Bethany Mayer Shows Us Her Beach-Inspired Brooklyn Pad

As much as we love the city, there's nothing like a beach escape to soothe our souls and calm our minds. Luckily, for those of us stuck in the concrete jungle, Bethany Mayer's Surf Bazaar brings the best of all things oceanic right to us. And fittingly, her Brooklyn brownstone is a zen homage to the East End — the Hamptons, that is. From stark-white interiors to table trinkets scavenged straight from the shore, to surf-style coffee table books, her pad is an instant beach-y transport.
We escaped the grime and grit of our Manhattan 'hood to chill out with the designer in Prospect Heights, and talk all things stylish. Take a peek into her fancy-free lifestyle, garner tips on balancing work and play, and ooh and aww at the cutest bulldog we've ever laid eyes on. A beach retreat minus the purse full of sand? We'll take it.
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What is your favorite part about owning your own stores and collection?
"I love working with so many different, creative, and talented people. I can choose to work with those that are true, honest, and have energy that I want to surround myself and my family with. It's all about creating a better quality of life in all that you do, and I feel I have the freedom to do exactly that!"

Surf Bazaar top, A Detacher skirt, Céline shoes.
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What do you take into consideration when choosing items for your stores?
"I like something unique, but accessible. So it has to be inspiring in some way (color, fit, fabric), but not too crazy that it becomes contrived. I also love a good story and am always looking for those designers I want to support for years to come."
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Bethany took this picture of a ferris wheel in Paris herself, during her first work trip to France.
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You have homes in Brooklyn, Montauk, and Amagansett — what do you love about living in the East End that you don't get in the city, and vice versa? Do you have a favorite?
"I grew up in Northern Michigan, which is very similar to the East End...minus the culture you gain from the close proximity to the city. So I love the nostalgic feeling I get being out East, and being near the water and beach. The city inspires me with the amount of talent crammed into such a small space — it creates a pulse and energy like none other. The great thing is that I don't have to choose one over the other! I feel both influences are essential in what I do."
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An up-close look at Bethany's bright and bold Céline beauties.
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What can you share with us about your new store locations?
"Our current exciting project is our store Free & The Brave, a Bazaar Shop at The Paramount Hotel, which is our second permanent Bazaar Shop. We were inspired by its location of Hell's Kitchen and the edge of Times Square. This inspired us to bring our customers, who range from international travelers to native New Yorkers, the best of modern American design. We highlight regions of the U.S., bringing the road trip across the U.S. to the center of Manhattan."
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You've done so many great things in fashion (and more) — what is your proudest accomplishment to date?
"Being a successful woman in the world of fashion and retail. I am often the only woman among a room of male executives. It is empowering and drives me to do my best! I have a degree in environmental science, not fashion — I'm self-taught in design and retail with now 20 years of experience, so everything I do in this industry seems like a tiny victory."
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Choncho, Bethany's family bulldog, mugs for the camera. We're in love!
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What projects do you have lined up that you can tell us about?
"I'm in a creative streak and have just expanded the Surf Bazaar collection to include jewelry, beach accessories, and collaborations on surfboard fins, sunglasses. I just can't stop and am excited to feature it all exclusively on our online shop and Surf Bazaar shop in Montauk at the Surf Lodge.

Pierre Hardy sandals, Wool & The Gang sweater, A Detacher pants.
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The family "plant moratorium," where Bethany gives her dried-out plants new life as wall decoration.
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How do you balance all your ongoing projects with being a working mom?
"I'm not sure that I do balance it! Sometimes my family life suffers because I really never stop working. Let's just say my daughter has spent a lot of time playing 'office' with me. But honestly, I step back, and I am grateful for my life and all the opportunities I have had."
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Bethany loves to spend all day combing the beach for treasures, and displays the most interesting finds here on her dining room table. These pieces hail from California, Japan, and Nicaragua, among other places.
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Do you have any home design tips for other moms? How do you balance creating a place for your children and keeping your own design aesthetic?
"Removable and washable home accessories like throws over couches and chairs, and pillow covers that can be cleaned. Also, I shamelessly edit the toy selection to things I find visually pleasing. There are so many choices out there for children's toys and furniture that it has become a source of inspiration in itself."

Suno pants, top by Bethany Mayer, Céline shoes.
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A mini Choncho stands guard at the end of the bed.
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Bethany's Aesa necklace channels the sea vibe of her brownstone.
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Do you have any favorite bars or restaurants in your Brooklyn neighborhood? What about in the Hamptons?
"I'm in Prospect Heights and I can't get enough of Chavela's. Also, Weather Up for drinks with my friends. Most of my favorites out East are in Montauk...I love The Dock for tuna melts, Byron at The Surf Lodge for good food, live music, and socializing, and Naturally Good for organic to-go beach lunches!"
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How does your fashion taste and aesthetic influence your home decor choices?
"I change my house decor as I would my seasonal wardrobe — I start with a blank canvas so my home is every subtle shade of white (of which there are endless choices!) and I change my color, silhouette, and texture influences seasonally."

Surf Bazaar top, Lanvin pants, Céline shoes.
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