At Home in the Hamptons – with Jill Martin

The Jungle Room with its fab banana leaf wallpaper and faux plants from HomeGoods and TJ Maxx reflect her ‘splurge and save’ skill set. “I believe in ‘high-low,’” says Martin, enveloped in her best-selling sherpa lounger.
Jim Lennon

When NBC’s TODAY show contributor Jill Martin talks steals and deals, people tune in. Millions of them.

For 12 years, the Emmy-winning lifestyle correspondent has been wowing morning television audiences with her wildly popular and often imitated segment offering quality products she feels “you need, you want” and “must have” at “very, very discounted prices.”

“Everybody loves a deal, I don’t care who you are,” says Martin, who is also a New York Knicks broadcaster, a QVC creative director for G.I.L.I. (Got It Love It), and a New York Times best-selling author of fashion guidebooks.

Now Martin has taken the concept to a whole new level with a 30-minute streaming show called Shop TODAY with Jill Martin. And the best part about it? She can do it directly from her gorgeous, light-filled, stylish home in Southampton that she has called her “saving grace.”

“Every room is used in this house,” says Martin, who has been working from her home in a big way, pivoting during the pandemic after quarantining there with her entire family.

Once you enter Martin’s house, you don’t want to leave.

The light-filled kitchen: “I do not cook, but I love entertaining, and when I do it, I DO it!” she says.Jim Lennon
Her living room is an oasis filled with items of “accessible elegance:” pillows, faux flowers (“because I can’t keep plants alive!” says Martin) and lots of faux candles “because you can always keep them on.”Jim Lennon

It’s open, airy, chic and cozy with a touch of whimsy, like the Barbie golf cart float in the pool or the many animal pillows she has designed from her line that, she says, “creepily” keep her company.

She may not be the only Hamptonite with a blue Bronco in the garage. But a wallpapered garage…that’s all Jill. Boxes of her product line fill her office, garage and basement where she is camera-rigged to film and broadcast. And from the crack of dawn she is recording, streaming, broadcasting, planning, designing and thriving.

“I feel very grateful that my skill set allows me to work from home,” says Martin. “This house is a workhorse. It’s had a lot of energy going both in and out of it — and it holds up … I always like to set a mood of kindness and pretty, and that’s what the new show is based on — things that I love and how to set an environment and make your space happy and welcoming.”

Martin in her restored vintage Bronco.Jim Lennon

The word that keeps popping up in terms of her homework life is authentic.

“When we’re in the studio, I try to recreate a lot of the rooms here and now I’m literally able to do a kitchen segment in my kitchen, I’m able to do an outdoor segment outdoors,” she says.

Her At Home TODAY with Jill Martin segments are now filmed at home. And the new streaming show is equally at home there.

Martin at home in Southampton.Jim Lennon

Shop TODAY with Jill Martin “is the ultimate 360 shopping experience,” says Martin. “We give the problem, the solution and why you need it and then the direct way to buy it — on streaming, which is how we are watching TV now … It’s really revolutionizing the way people watch TV and shop.”

In other words, no more shop til you drop. It’s now text to shop fashion, beauty, home and tech products — all from the comfort of your own home, and your phone.

And with Gwyneth Paltrow as her first guest, she’s off to a good start, despite a few bumps along the way.

“We authentically used her line, goop, which is in Sag Harbor,” Martin says. “It’s really changed my skin. We both went makeup-less and before the shoot I broke out in a rash because I put ice on my face to try to look better and then I washed my face and broke out. And she bumped her nose on a cabinet, so we both said, ‘We are both authentic and not putting cover-up on. She walked me through the system and it was authentically what she does and I do and it was two girls being girls.”

Martin filmed with Paltrow via Zoom, from her green room dubbed the Jungle Room, a nod to its wild, banana leaf wallpaper.

“Years ago, when I was sitting at dinner at Indochine at the Beverly Hills Hotel, I said, ‘When I buy a house one day, I’m going to get this wallpaper,’” she recalls with pride. “And when I was finally able to spend and decorate — that was one of the first things I did.”

The road to Martin owning in the Hamptons was paved with desire, a lot of dues and some inspiration from her mother.

“It was always my dream to become a business woman, sell on QVC and have my own brand and buy a home,” she says. “When I was growing up my mother (a language teacher) had a shop at a flea market and I worked there. She always had something going on in the basement, gifts for weddings or events that she personalized.”

“She always taught me to have my own money and how important it was to be able to stand on your own and to save,” Martin says. “She kept saying, ‘I want you to buy something, I want you to buy something,’ so I started as a motivational dancer at bar mitzvahs and weddings and corporate functions, and started my own company, and I started saving. I’ve been saving ever since and then I finally saved enough money and decided I wanted to buy out here.”

The Hamptons was a sure bet for Martin, who says, “it feels like home.”

Live from the Hamptons! “I built three home studios from here,” says Martin. “I do NBC segments, QVC shows and pregame for the Knicks game all from my basement.”Jim Lennon

A Long Island native, she grew up in Plainview and came out east every summer with her family and then through her University of Michigan summers and when she worked in the city, “going back and forth on the Jitney to summer shares with 30 people in a house and four bedrooms,” she says laughing.

Five years ago, she made the big move.

“I closed on my 40th birthday with red Solo cups,” recalls Martin. “The house was empty because I went over my limit of what I could afford. I went to QVC and said, ‘I just bought a home and I can’t afford to decorate it because there is nothing on the market that I love that is at my price point so can I start a home line?’ and they said, ‘Yes.’ So mostly everything you see around my house is from my QVC line or from local stores or local small businesses. You’d be surprised at the high-low.”

The media patio area overlooking the backyard, where Martin relaxes and often films and broadcasts. A stuffed animal pillow from her line is always nearby for creature comfort.Jim Lennon

Martin has been with QVC for 10 years and her line has expanded from home organizational products to “apparel, footwear and home and beauty love potion hand sanitizer for getting everyone out there and dating again.” As a sign of the times, she says one of her most popular items is “a wearable blanket” called a sherpa lounger that “celebrities are all loving; very cozy, comfy Hamptons chic.”

Now that people are out and about again, Martin is reminded of the phenomenon she has created.

“I will be walking down the street and somebody will yell, ‘steals’ or, ‘I love your segments!’ It’s the biggest compliment to me because the point of all of this is to be able to bring ease, and fun and love into people’s homes and I feel like I’m doing that.”

Floats of whimsy — a Malibu Barbie golf cart shares space with green lips in her gunite pool.Jim Lennon

And in terms of her summer home becoming her main residence?

“I have a love affair with the Hamptons,” she says. “So to be able to live here full time … I feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland.”

Shop TODAY with Jill Martin is available and free to access on TODAY All Day. New episodes air the third Thursday of every month and feature a celebrity guest. It is available to stream on TODAY.com, Peacock, YouTube, Tubi, Xumo and via NBC News’ apps on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV. To watch and for more information, visit TODAY.com/AllDay.

For more information about Jill Martin, visit jillmartin.com

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