By Janice Randall Rohlf | Photography by Cate Brown Photography
An artist herself, store owner and floral designer Susan Swanson (right) has a particular interest in supporting local artisans by showcasing their works in her East Greenwich, Rhode Island, boutique, The Green Door. Here are some of her favorites.
Lori Surdut Weinberg
Years ago, when Susan Swanson was a young mother, she enrolled in a greeting card design class taught by Lori Surdut Weinberg. The two have remained friends while their respective careers have blossomed. Now, Swanson is proud to carry the artwork of Weinberg, a longtime RISD instructor who paints local scenes as well as those inspired by her travels worldwide. A New Englander now living in Bristol, Rhode Island, Weinberg says she has always loved the French Impressionists, which explains her fascination with materiality. “With landscapes, there are so many textures and feels and I like using a variety,” says the artist who paints in watercolors, oils and oil pastels. Her vast and varied body of work ranges from hydrangeas and seashells to vistas in Provence, Tuscany and the Canadian Rockies. “The scenes I create are taken from places I have visited that have left a lasting impression on me.”
When Pamela Akgun had a retail shop of her own in Newport, Rhode Island, she carried artists’ framed glass panels decorated with shells and fragments of sea glass. One day on a whim, she decided to make the same type of pieces. “Mine sold better,” she quips. An avid, lifelong crafter who also studied with renowned landscape artist David Dunlop, Akgun combines crafting and painting to create her sea glass pieces. “They have to have a composition,” she explains of how her training as a fine art painter comes into play. Not only are her resin, shell and sea glass creations beautiful, especially when they catch the sunlight, they are practical too. Antique homes, like the ones in downtown Newport, tend to have windows at eye level of passersby, so hanging one of her panels provides a privacy screen of sorts.
Three years ago, after a long career in broadcast journalism, Paula Childs picked up a paint brush again and refocused her attention on art, which she had at one time studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. “I paint as much as I can,” says the native Rhode Islander. Her canvases depict nostalgic scenes inspired by her New England heritage, especially her childhood summers exploring the rocky shores of Narragansett. What sets her pieces apart from others is the rendering of still life and scenes, not simply graphic art. Childs is pragmatic as well as artistic, so in addition to her large pieces she offers her scenes on high-gloss, 8-by-8-inch ceramic tiles. “[The tiles] are a way for me to connect with everyday buyers who want something affordable,” she says. “I have always picked up small pieces in my travels, and these are a way for visitors to get a little piece of Rhode Island.”
A traffic accident injury propelled Don Mong, a retired Rhode Island police officer, into his current career as an artist. Laid up for six months and urged on by his wife, he says he “started doodling” and before long found his niche: painting exquisitely rendered lighthouses using NOAA nautical charts as his canvas. “As a traffic accident reconstructionist, I investigated over 2,500 car wrecks and drew detailed scale drawings of accident scenes,” says Mong. “I had to have a good eye.” The Green Door sells Mong’s 16-by-20 signed giclée prints, which include iconic lighthouses in places like Newport, Block Island and Castle Hill, each one superimposed on the location-appropriate chart. “I’ve been around the world twice,” says Mong when asked if he has a favorite lighthouse, “and I still love Beavertail [in Jamestown, Rhode Island] the most.”
It happens all the time and is the highest form of flattery: Visitors step inside The Green Door and compliment owner Susan Swanson on all the gorgeous live flower displays. “I use only the highest quality, botanically accurate silk flowers,” explains Swanson of her customers’ honest mistake. She is renowned for her wreaths, baskets, swags and centerpieces, all of which stand up to the vicissitudes of Mother Nature despite their delicate appearance. Taught the art of arranging live flowers by her talented grandmother, Swanson translates what she learned about color, texture and scale in the über realistic silk florals that lend the feeling of a conservatory to her fine gifts boutique. Says Swanson, “I’ve fooled many customers who have walked into The Geen Door thinking it is a live florist shop.”
Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, Inspires Plum Ideas
By Stacey Marcus
Looking to spice up a space, brighten a tabletop or add a pop of color to your front door? Ever since its reign began, Pantone’s Color of the Year 2018, Ultra Violet, has been inspiring homeowners to color outside the lines of convention. Provocative and complex, Ultra Violet conjures up images of musical icons Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix, channeling mystery and magic into your world. How can you add the color purple to your palette?
“Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, is a perfect choice for where we are today. It’s a blend of blue and red that could prove to be a unifier of the times. I personally love color and would love a lush sectional in Ultra Violet,” says Peggy Burns of Circle Furniture, which has several locations in Massachusetts. “For most people though, a great way to bring it in is to use it as a pop of color with chairs, accessories or amethyst crystals. It’s a very soothing and meditative color, and we could all use some soothing in our lives.”
Newton, Massachusetts-based interior designer Kelly Rogers loves its versatility. “I’m finding that more and more clients are receptive to deep, saturated purples and even view it as gender-neutral,” she says. “It adds depth, drama and luxury to interiors, without too much seriousness. It can be moody when paired with darker wood tones or close neighbors on the color wheel (deep reds, navy blue), or fresh and energetic with complementary golds or orange. Try it on the back of a built-in bookcase, on pillows on a neutral beige sofa, or on your front door.”
Here are several inspired ways to incorporate Ultra Violet into your living space.
1: “Rhapsody” rug from Company C 2: MasterBrand Cabinets
3: Fulmine salad bowl and servers from Giardini di Sole
4: Sherwin-Williams Kimono Violet
5: Sherwin-Williams Exclusive Plum 6: Splash Collection ceramics from Giardini di Sole 7: Abasi grasscloth wallcovering in açaí from Stroheim fabrics. Interior design: Kelly Rogers. Photo: Michael J Lee 8: “Juliette” pillow from Company C
Hingham kitchen gets a modern makeover with a nod to the past.
By Laura DeSisto | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Sitting pretty in the Pear Tree Hill historic district of the road First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once dubbed “the most beautiful Main Street in America,” the 1832 Captain James Stephenson House is one piece of the tapestry that makes the town of Hingham an important part of Massachusetts history.
Many years ago, on a weekend excursion to Hingham, newlyweds Mark and Julie Jones biked past the antique beauty and remarked to each other that owning this house would be their dream. As fate would have it, in 2010, the Joneses learned that the Stephenson house had been listed for sale and they wasted no time in making an offer. “We couldn’t believe our good luck,” says Mark. “For two high school sweethearts from Peabody, this was like our realization of the American dream.”
As stately as the outside of the home had remained, the Joneses soon realized the interior was in desperate need of updating. So shortly after purchasing it, with the help of Associate Architect Heidi Condon of Scituate, they embarked on a gut renovation that touched every corner of the 7,200-square-foot manse.
A central focus of the renovation was the dated and dark 80s kitchen and for help with this space, Condon enlisted the expertise of Judy Whalen, design director of Roomscapes Cabinetry & Design Center. “Whalen is an extremely talented designer and we have been collaborating for over 15 years,” says Condon. “The beauty of Roomscapes is that clients are able to explore their 10,000-square-foot display space in Rockland where they are able to touch and feel everything from countertops to appliances to cabinets and lighting, so they have a real sense of what they are getting.”
In addition to the selection of materials and appliances, Whalen says it’s critical to get a sense of a family’s needs in order to optimize the layout of the space.
“Mark is the main chef in the family and he wanted to be able to pivot between the sink, range top and oven while maintaining interaction with his wife and two teenaged sons at the counter,” observes Whalen. “The family wanted a cooking corridor and to eliminate clutter on the main cooking island, so we created a ‘drop zone’ for bags, laptops, etc. in place of an old, cramped half bath. “One of the first conversations we have with clients is about how long they plan on being in their home. Because this was Mark and Julie’s ‘forever’ home, we designed the kitchen with a cooking corridor in mind. This way, the room is functional in all situations, whether it’s just the two of them in the room using the sink-equipped island, or when they entertain and when the boys come home, times when the room figuratively expands and the second, main sink comes into play.
A new built-in banquette sits where there used to be old sliding doors. This area is meant to be an informal breakfast nook, says Whalen, but can be dressed up for small dinner parties.
The once-cramped opening to the adjacent family room has been expanded to 14 feet so that gatherings can spill over into that space. “The kitchen used to feel cut off from the other areas of the house. [Now] it’s great to cook for the family and still be part of all the action,” says Mark.
Though the new kitchen has all the modern bells and whistles like upscale, high-end appliances, the homeowners wanted to maintain the historical integrity of the house. “Mark and Julie truly feel like stewards of this grand dame,” says Condon. “So, for example, we did not want to pockmark the ceiling with excessive recessed lighting which would not be in keeping with the age of the home. Instead, the family was able to work with Roomscapes to select striking hanging light fixtures.”
Mark concurs, saying, “We wanted an approachable chef’s kitchen without an overly industrial feel that was appropriate to the legacy of this house. With Judy and Heidi’s expertise, that is exactly what we achieved, and we couldn’t be happier.”
A man-cave bar built from sections of a 42-foot boat catches the fancy of seafarers and landlubbers alike.
By Rob Duca | Photography by Amber Jane Barricman
Cable deck railing does not interfere with the riverside views.
When Steve Bobola, co-owner of Sand Dollar Customs in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, first saw the plans for this home that looked out to Snug Harbor, he knew he wanted to be in on the project. When the homeowner showed up one day with a boat and asked him to transform it into a bar, that clinched it.
“That was not part of the original plan,” Bobola says. “It was icing on the cake. This was a unique project. It’s a showpiece. When I see something that is appealing and requires a little bit of brainwork, it sparks my interest.”
The home features eye-popping river views, but, perhaps ironically, it is the basement-level “man cave” that catches the most attention. The centerpiece is a bar built from a boat that the homeowner purchased off-Cape, took out of the water and brought to Yarmouth to be cut into pieces and then reassembled in his house.
The homeowner, who had yanked a boat out of the water around Boston and brought it back to the Cape, presented his general contractor Steve Bobola with a request: convert the boat into a bar.
Sand Dollar Customs served as the general contractor on the project, which began with the teardown of an existing ranch. The new 2½-story home is approximately 4,000 square feet, about double the size of the ranch. Although a permit to expand the home was granted, zoning regulations required that the basement level remain intact. And that led to the idea of a nautical-themed man cave.
The original boat, which was 42-by-14 feet, was cut into three sections, with the roof, and the right and left quadrants being taken apart. Once reassembled, it was painted midnight blue, with a thin red stripe running across the bottom, and given a new name, Therapy, which the homeowner selected because, in his view, enjoying an adult beverage is therapy. Two flat screen televisions are attached below what was the boat’s roof at the rear of the bar.
A custom teak countertop and white boat chairs continue the nautical theme. The chairs swivel, and when turned around guests can look out onto the harbor through two 16-inch Nano doors that can be folded up. Shiplap was used for the walls, and attached to the walls are a pair of ship wheels, including a prominently displayed antique wooden ship wheel. A plank tile floor serves as the finishing touch.
Although the man cave features the most obvious nautical theme, there are many other such touches throughout the house. A spiral staircase that leads from the basement to a rooftop deck has stainless steel cable below the railing and Brazilian mahogany steps. Like the boat bar, installing the spiral staircase required ingenuity. The stairs were built off site, loaded onto a flatbed truck in two sections and brought to the house. The stairs were then lowered with a crane through the cone-shaped roof of the turret room.
A beachy color palette of white, with soft blue and sand tones imbues the interiors with a calm feeling.
Elsewhere, anchors were laser-cut into the side of the kitchen island, a fish was cut into the cedar shingles and the master bath has porthole windows. A second-floor television room has pyramid windows that look out to the harbor, and a model ship sits prominently on a table. Even the bath towels in the master suite are monogrammed with seashells, while ocean blue throw pillows in the Great Room are adorned with anchors. Throughout the house, artwork on every wall further accentuates the nautical theme. A color palette of white, with soft blue and sand overtones, brings the ocean further into play.
“There are lots of different nautical feels to the house,” notes Bobola. “We wanted it to reflect Cape Cod.” In the end, the spectacular home is perfectly suited to its Snug Harbor surroundings.
Appliance experts Gail Parella and Lisa Sienkiewicz are sisters and owners of Gil’s Appliances with locations in Bristol and Middletown, Rhode Island.
Designers, builders and homeowners alike will be inspired by a fully redesigned collection of kitchen appliances from Thermador. These new products embody the quality, craftsmanship, incredible design and exceptional innovation that is the hallmark of the Thermador brand.
According to Lisa Sienkiewicz and Gail Parella, sisters and co-owners of Gil’s Appliances, customers in the luxury market are looking for innovation and personalization in the kitchen. “They want appliances that are both beautiful and functional that will enhance their home cooking and entertaining experiences. The Thermador collection of appliances fits the bill.”
New for Fall of 2018, Thermador introduces a collection of ovens, induction cooktops, and refrigeration that gives home cooks more options than ever before. Also new is the Thermador Connected Experience by Home Connect, an industry-exclusive app that connects the consumer to exclusive personalized content, unique partnerships and customized product guidance, allowing them to get the most out of their Thermador suite.
Thermador Professional Series wall ovens can be configured with the side-opening doors to create the perfect layout.
New Thermador convection, steam, microwave and speed ovens cater to a variety of culinary endeavors, from roasts to soufflés. A multitude of preset modes helps perfect even the most adventurous recipes. The Masterpiece® Series appeals to those looking for a modern, sleek and refined look, while the Professional® Series makes a grand statement. Both styles fit seamlessly into any kitchen design and can be configured with side-opening doors to create a layout that is perfect for any culinary suite.
The new Freedom® Induction Cooktop touts the largest fully usable cooking surface on the market within its class. Available in 30” and 36”, the 30” cooktop boasts 48 induction elements, while the 36” cooktop has 56. This intuitive cooktop automatically recognizes the size, shape and position of cookware on the surface. The groundbreaking Liberty Induction Cooktop features 11 oval inductors divided into 3 cooking zones, with each zone able to accommodate pots and pans from 4 inches to 10 inches, as well as teppanyaki grills that can measure up to 16 inches long.
Personalization is possible with Thermador’s lineup of refrigeration, freezer and wine columns, part of the Freedom® Refrigeration Collection.
In addition, Thermador takes the preservation experience to an all-new level with the completely redesigned Freedom® Refrigeration Collection, which includes a lineup of refrigeration, freezer and wine columns that feature first-of-its kind innovation, thoughtful design and personalization. “The many configuration options,” says Sienkiewicz, “allow you to really personalize your space.”
For more information on Thermador’s full suite of products, visit Gil’s Appliances, a family owned and operated appliance store serving RI and SE Mass with trust, integrity, and value since 1961.
Flexibility is at the core of Thermador’s Liberty Induction Cooktop. Three extra large cooking zones allow space for larger cookware.
For more than a century, Lake Winnipesaukee has been one of America’s most beloved playgrounds. People come from around the world to enjoy its unmatched scenic beauty and endless list of fun things to do. Then they fall in love with the area—and vow to return again and again.
The gated community of Meredith Bay was created to give lake lovers a beautiful place to call home. More than just a collection of nice lake homes, townhomes and condos, it’s a community where families and friends gather together to enjoy all kinds of fun activities—and to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Meredith Bay residents enjoy breathtaking lake views, along with all kinds of wonderful amenities and activities. There’s tennis, swimming in the lake or swimming pool, a community garden, and a fitness center where weekly classes are held. You can even make your own maple syrup in the community’s own “Sugar Shack.” And of course, Lake Winnipesaukee and the entire Lakes Region are right at your doorstep. So boating, fishing, skiing, antique shopping, fine dining and much more are always just moments away.
In Meredith Bay’s Akwa Vista neighborhood, you can choose your own home site and build the custom home of your dreams—or select one of the beautifully crafted move-in-ready homes. Many home sites offer sweeping views of the lake, and there are a wide range of home styles to choose from.
In the Townhomes at Meredith Bay, high-quality construction and a low-maintenance lifestyle add up to more time for doing the things you love. Situated overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, these 2- and 3-bedroom residences offer stunning views of the lake, islands and surrounding mountains.
Then there are the Lodge Condominiums. There’s nothing else like them anywhere on the lake—or in the entire Lakes Region. Situated on an idyllic hillside overlooking the lake and islands, these 2- and 3-bedroom units offer a rich list of features, including lakeview decks, heated underground garage parking, and elevator access directly into your unit.
On a hillside covered in multicolored foliage and blossoms, a waterfall is integrated into the ledge area for a naturalistic look.
For the Arnolds of Cohasset, the story was obviously the spectacular view of Little Harbor and the marsh the family enjoyed from the large front windows of the grand house perched on a sloping half-acre lot. “We get beautiful birds, hawks and so much wildlife!” exclaims homeowner Helen Arnold. The home’s interior colors reflect the subtle hues outside: the sage green of marsh grass, the blue of sky and ocean. Saying, “I didn’t want to be weeding all the time,” Arnold wanted a low-maintenance landscape that was natural and beautiful, yet a design that wouldn’t compete with the view.
Martin didn’t disappoint. A landscape designer for the past 15 years, Martin creates gardens and landscapes that respect nature and sustainability. A design begins with a visit to the home, to get a sense of the family who lives there and translate that sensibility outdoors. She firmly believes the design improves with collaboration. Homeowners are encouraged to collect photos of designs they like on Pinterest, for example. Martin first develops a vision board with photos of suggested plant species and then, eventually, a computer-rendered design.
“To manifest an idea, a vision, and bring it into form for the improvement of people’s lives and the good of the earth is deeply gratifying,” she says. “You’re creating a design that is its own ecosystem, and you’re the caretaker of that.”
A simple composition of boxwood, Blue Star juniper and verbena creates a soothing foreground to the front porch.
Martin arrived on the scene shortly after the Shingle Style house was built, in 2016. The hardscape had been installed: a driveway, walkways and stone walls. A rock ledge towered along one side of the lot. Martin, in determining a color palette, took into consideration the warm beige of the house’s façade, although the stunning setting dictated many of her choices.
That high ledge proved to be a major issue for her design, as rain and melting snow cascaded down the wall and pooled into the front of the property. Martin rectified the soggy situation with storm-water drainage leading to a rain garden that captures the water from the downspouts into a crushed stone reservoir, topped with pea stone and punctuated with plantings and planters. “This prevents water from flowing down the driveway and out into the street, as well as ice build-up in the winter,” she explains.
Plantings here include native clethra alnifolia, rhus aromatica and anemone canadensis, “which happily drink up the excess water and create a healthy ecosystem of biodiversity,” observes Martin. A tall birdhouse and a terraced seating area make for a delightful garden room with a view of the marsh and harbor.
The front slope is deeply textured with swaths of miscanthus grass, hydrangeas and roses.
Evergreen boxwood and blue-star juniper provide an interesting contrast of shades of green and textures all year round, while majestic, tall grasses with airy fronds swaying in the sea breeze lend a beachy feeling. These three elements are repeated throughout the landscape. While Martin’s design is mostly a subtle palette, she chose red shrub roses as an accent here and there. “I wanted a strong, rich red with the neutral color of the house,” she says.
Other repeating elements include swaths of spring bulbs, lavender and Solomon’s seal. “There are whole waves of plantings,” is how Arnold puts it. Specimen deciduous and flowering trees and shrubs add further interest and texture: birch, cherry, magnolia, dogwood (a particularly unusual variegated species called “Wolf Eyes”), Japanese dwarf maple, witch hazel and hydrangea. Perennial salvia and geranium and perennial woodland ground covers like winterberry and hellebore fill in any “holes” in the landscape, along with Russian sage, also a perennial. Huge container plantings are changed with the seasons.
Over the years, the landscape has matured and blended comfortably and beautifully into this coastal setting, becoming part of the view. However, for Martin, landscape design goes beyond creating a beautiful space. “We’re constantly editing depending on what affects that ecosystem, such as diseases that impact the plants’ health, or something invasive that disrupts the landscape,” she points out. “But my goal is to make the space meaningful, not just beautiful.”
Landscape designer Amy Martin created “waves” of color and texture with planting choices.
Masses of Red Flower Carpet roses and a bold Japanese maple balance and soften the large stone stairway to the front door.
Nature’s bountiful gifts and a designer’s custom creations make a big impact on a petite place.
Written by Elspeth Hay | Photography by Katherine Jackson
Acrylic and Sunbrella fabrics in various shades of beige and blue were chosen for the living area, eliminating any worry about spills or fading.
Sometimes, less is more at the beach. The owners of this bungalow and their two children spend the school year in their modern 8,000-square-foot home in Newton. But when they started looking for a beach house on the Cape three years ago, they were after something different. “We wanted the opposite,” explains the husband. “My wife and I wanted a place where we don’t need to worry, where we can wake up early and stay up late and bring in kids and sand and just enjoy the beach.”
They settled on a 1,500-square-foot bungalow on the Brewster flats, just steps away from the bay. Built in the late 1960s, the home manages to fit a lot into its modest footprint: three first-floor bedrooms; two baths; an open, split-level living area that flows into a dining room and kitchen; and a large, airy loft that serves as both a sleep and play space for the middle-school age kids and their friends.
Soon after buying the house, the homeowners stumbled upon Brewster home design shop Nautique and hit it off with owner Marsha Malone. “My wife and I basically gave her carte blanche,” the husband says, “and the results have been great.”
To tie in with the relaxed, natural aesthetic of the beach bungalow, Malone used reclaimed wood and four coats of finish and paint to create a dining room table with the appearance of driftwood.
Malone has been in business 18 years, and she says it isn’t often she gets to do a project like this. “I do so many big houses, and they’re beautiful,” she says. “But to me, this is the old Cape, and I absolutely love it.” Malone custom built almost all of the furniture in the house, designing headboards and side tables to fit into bedrooms and in the living areas down to the inch. “It was really a challenge of how to make it livable and fun,” says Malone, “and to get it all to fit.”
Still, despite its small footprint, the house feels anything but cramped. A mirror in the guest bedroom hangs opposite a window, creating a feeling of space. Boats carved out of the headboards of two twin beds sail left and right, pushing the walls away. A large picture window in the living room creates a feeling of merging indoors and out, and beyond it beckon the flats and the beach.
“It’s a totally different vibe here than at home,” says the husband. “Everyone sits on the deck with their coffee in the morning, and the kids run around on the flats.” The Brewster tidal flats are one of the widest such expanses in the western hemisphere, second in size only to a similar area in Brazil. “On a nice day you can walk when the tide’s out well over a mile until you hit water. Six hours later it’s over your head in front of the house. It’s pretty wild.”
Malone used reclaimed wood salvaged from old New England barns and homes and four coats of finish and paint to create a dining room table with the appearance of driftwood, adding to the relaxed, natural feel. She chose acrylic and Sunbrella fabrics in various shades of beige and blue for the living area, eliminating any worry about spills or fading. Wood floors and a natural fiber carpet tie into sand tones in the kitchen and dining room, and lamps made from driftwood and woven rope accent the views of the beach.
“You never know how many friends you have until you have a beach house,” reads a print in one of the guest bedrooms. The homeowners say it’s true—and the family loves it. “When we go down with family and friends, the upstairs becomes a huge kid hangout while the adults relax on the deck and in the two family rooms. It’s very nice, but it’s also comfortable and practical. It’s been great.”
A large picture window in the living room creates a feeling of merging indoors and out, and beyond it beckon the flats and beach.
A bedroom tucked under the eaves features custom headboards and dressers by Nautique.
An upside-down layout elevates this Rhode Island home’s ocean views.
By Jennifer Sperry |Photography by Warren Jagger
SV Design arranged the main living spaces of this coastal home on the second floor to better capture light, views and breezes.
Sometimes a place just gets in your blood. For a Boston-based couple with a blended family of six children (some in their teens, others married with kids), that place is Westerly, Rhode Island. The husband has summered in the quietly chic beach community since childhood, and his wife adopted it as a summer spot as well.
Three years ago, the pair decided it was time to make their relationship to the nostalgic destination permanent and purchased a lot just one house back from the beach. “We’ve worked on houses I’ve lived in and houses he’s lived in, but this house we finally did together,” explains the owner. “We really made it our own.”
A built-in bar separates the kitchen and dining area and provides easy-access snacks and drinks to those on the back deck.
Over the years, the pair used one design firm, Siemasko + Verbridge (SV Design), consistently for their house projects, and this new venture was no different. The first consideration was, with the house set back from the water, how best to capture the views. The agreed-upon answer: an upside-down layout, with the main living spaces plus a master suite above and guest bedrooms plus a second master suite (for their children with kids) below.
“It’s something that’s very commonly done on Nantucket,” explains SV Design principal and lead architect Thad Siemasko. “The primary reason for an upside-down design is the views, followed closely by being able to better capture both breezes and light. It also allows the common areas to have more interesting ceiling shapes, and guests can enter their lower-level rooms without disturbing the family life happening upstairs,” he continues. “There are a lot of rationales.”
One caveat with the upside-down decision was that the owners didn’t want their front entry on the lower level. To mitigate the steep approach of a second-story front door, and the required stairs, SV Design tiered the land against the house with hardscaping. “This trick makes you feel like you are on level ground until you get to the base of the wooden stairs, which are extra wide and generously proportioned,” explains the architect.
Using the language of Shingle Style, Siemasko achieved a look that he calls “Southern New England coastal,” observing that “it’s very beach oriented.” The gambrel roof and shingle details, including occasional diamond punctuations and a wave pattern on the gable over the front door, are all common to the beach community’s historic architecture. “We didn’t invent anything that wasn’t there already,” he contends.
The interior checks off one of the owner’s musts: lots of sunlight. “I am a huge proponent of light; the running joke is I would build a glass house if I could,” she admits. But it also represents a departure from her previous preference for big, bold color schemes: “This time I desired more simplicity; I wanted to just walk in and relax. We also spend a lot of time in the Bahamas,” she continues, “where interiors are typically white with splashes of color, and that’s the look I wanted here.”
Embracing simplicity and a Bahamian feel, the living room blends neutral colors, warm wood tones and woven textures, including light pendants by Moooi and a wall mirror from Made Goods.
“There are lots of neutrals, textures and natural woods, with pops of color here and there,” describes SV Design’s Shelby Littlefield, ASID, who collaborated with the couple on the décor. But the interior has its playful side too, including a 12-foot-long “bubble” chandelier streaming down the front stair. “It’s by California-based Studio Bel Vetro; we picked the ocean blue colors and the glass balls are hand-blown,” says Littlefield. Other whimsical strokes include a bunk room (complete with miniature door to the bathroom), surfboard bench in the mudroom, and synchronized swimmer wallpaper by Dupenny in the powder room.
Perhaps the most amusing flourish of all is the slide running between the upper and lower decks for the grandchildren. “It was in the back of our minds from a past home project, and we couldn’t resist finally incorporating it here,” notes the owner. Siemasko’s idea to connect the guest cottage and main home with a bridge is another travel courtesy: “It wouldn’t be very hospitable to make guests walk down then back up again,” the architect contends.
Even the owners’ initial hesitation—the property’s distance from the water—ended up working in their favor. “We’re surprised by how much we love it,” they say. “It’s quiet and you feel like you’re in the treetops. The beauty was not that far away after all.”
With a busy home regularly filled with family and friends, the owner wanted her kitchen to feel quiet and serene. Textured subway tiles shift in tone from light to dark blue, while quartz countertops mimic the look of marble without the maintenance.
Design details like Benjamin Moore’s “Violet Mist” on the walls and woven bed from Made Goods pay homage to the master bedroom’s coastal setting.
Sleepovers are encouraged n this whimsical bunk room, complete with kid-sized “mouse” door leading into the adjoining bathroom.
In the entry, hand-blown glass balls in coastal hues stream down this 12-foot-long “bubble” chandelier by California-based Studio Bel Vetro.