Now that the property is complete, owners Janice and Lee head home in early spring to escape the heat of their permanent home in Texas. Visitors will start arriving and the games will begin. “We play Wiffle ball on the lawn. Horseshoes. badminton,” she said. Guests leave with memories of the private beach. “Our beach is full of sea glass. We bought small jars, so everyone [our visitors could] go hunting for sea glass. It’s their parting gift. The house has so many wonderful aspects… Of all the places we have lived I think [we] I understood this one well. —Robert Rorke
Impactful patterns abound in Maine
“Have fun with gingham! said one of the owners, a new grandmother, of her family’s most run-down beach house in Maine. She was offering direction to Connecticut-based interior designer Lilse McKenna, who immediately summoned a mental image of Gloria Vanderbilt’s 1970s Southampton bedroom, swathed in pink tile. Although McKenna is known for her “big-millennium” style, she considers her remixes of classic patterns like chintz and patchwork a “fresher take on Americana.”
Luckily, the renovation of the 30-year-old shingle-style house during the pandemic era required just that, especially since the grandkids – that new generation of snowbirds who paint the beach, play tennis and flip burgers that will eventually take over the joint – recently entered the fray. “I could tell this house was important to them,” McKenna says. “It had been well loved for several decades, but needed renewal to keep up with the growth of the family.”
Before an overabundance of gingham could be unleashed, the designer needed a clean slate. To that end, the original dark fir panels that smothered the interiors have been painted white, turning the walls into a bright and suitably seaworthy strip. Other architectural updates were completed with an eye toward more communion with the wooded landscape of red oaks, pines, a scourge of bittersweet vines and, as the grandfather clarifies, “No hedges!” It’s not the Hamptons. The shore is only 50 yards from the beachy hiker’s front door. —Leilani Marie Labong
A hilltop home with a breezy vibe
For a New York couple with a grown daughter, a weekend home in northwest Connecticut had long been a quiet retreat. As this brood added a son-in-law and welcomed plans to have a grandchild, the family decided to expand their nest. After hearing rave reviews from a neighbor about a recently completed lakeside project by AD100 Carrier and Company and architect James Dixon, they invited the two studios to come together and turn their hilltop Colonial into a family heirloom.
The furnishings are a mix of existing possessions and Carrier and Company introductions. For these selections, the interior design firm leaned toward materials like wicker and painted wood that exude informality. Their finds also include a pair of 1940s Danish chairs that encapsulate, in Carrier’s words, “our approach to making a home feel like it’s been collected over the lifetime of the owners.” Here we had two lifetimes of things to consider.
A palette of blues is the common thread between renovation and top-to-bottom construction, formal and informal, parent and child, or between a familiar object and a newcomer. “It wasn’t necessarily our pitch,” Carrier says of the overall hue. “On the contrary, it was something the family could always agree on, and often their vision was more powerful than mine. It was just beautiful to see it all fall into place. —David Sokol