Dreaming of a gorgeous beach house that has everything your family and friends would want for endless days of summer enjoyment? We’ve found it in this remarkable Rhode Island home. In fact, this was built as the Ideas House 2017 for This Old House. Located in East Matunuck in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, the home is a balanced combination of classic oceanside styling, modern convenience and total comfort. And, because it’s an “idea” house, it displays the features and amenities that today’s home buyers want most.
This roomy 3,200-square-foot house was inspired by the iconic New England shingle architectural style. The ocean region’s very recognizable 19th-century architecture generally features a gambrel roof, flared gables, and curving shingled surfaces flanking balconies and windows. The architects on the project, Union Studio Architecture and Community Design, melded these elements with more contemporary additions to fit today’s lifestyles. The result is an expansive home with a variety of outdoor living spaces.
Even before entering the house, several distinct outdoor spaces are visible. The wraparound front porch is typical of this home style but has been expanded to a roomy 8-foot width so that there’s plenty of room to move around even with furniture. Each of the spaces is intended for a different purpose: By the front door, there is a welcoming bench while the center portion has two chairs for relaxing and the section by the backdoor has a planter and porch swing. Even though they are all on the same porch, each area has its own flavor.
Step inside and a refined open-plan living area stretches out through the main floor. The house has multiple levels and all the main living areas are located on the first floor. The color palette is sophisticated yet reflects a casual seaside atmosphere. The range of colors in the palette include blue, cream, taupe, and gray. Furnishings were artfully chosen by Denise Enright Interior Design to include rich fabrics on comfortable pieces that feature washed finishes, which helps keep the mood casual. Enright took inspiration from the color of the exterior window trim and ran with the concept, using different shades of blue throughout the house. She also added pops of other bold colors to keep each area lively on each floor of the home.
The living space is open and airy because plentiful windows and two sets of French doors take up all of the exterior walls. A tall pitched ceiling adds to the expansive feeling of the room. The one partial solid wall is the prime location for a console and television. The color palette of blue and white is often used in a beach house to bring in the feeling of the seaside.
Just off of the living room is a small dining room that is ideal for a family but is not overwhelming for just one couple. Ina beach house, outdoor and casual living space is more important and little formal dining takes place because everyone would rather eat outdoors if possible.
Just as in any other home, the kitchen is the hub of activity, so it includes everything a cook might need along with counter seating for quick meals and snacks. The understated rick blue-gray of the cabinetry adds an air of sophistication to the area and is a natural color extension of the living spaces. Plenty of storage in the form of open shelving as well as closed cabinetry helps keep the space clean and uncluttered. This particular kitchen also shows how the use of mixed materials can be refined and add interest because the island has white cabinetry and a gray top, different from the rest of the countertops.
While no one really wants to work while at a beach house, sometimes it’s unavoidable but this room certainly makes the prospect much easier to bear. Bright white walls and cabinets are accented with cobalt blue and a citrusy green used to highlight the built-in bookcases. Such a pleasant space would also be great for relaxing and reading, away from any family activity that might be taking place elsewhere on the main floor.
Perhaps the most functional mudroom ever, this one includes a dog-washing station tiled with a style that looks like wood and a floor that resembles a pebble mosaic. The hand sprayer is great for cleaning up the pooch or for rinsing sand shoes and toys if there’s no dog in the household. This utility sink area is directly opposite the washer and dryer, which are set into a custom cabinet installation. The entire area has plenty of storage with built-in shelving and super functional cubby holes by the back door bench seat.
More and more homeowners are looking for first-floor master suites so that life can be limited to the main floor while there are no guests or family in the house. This type of floor-plan is also more desirable as people choose to stay in their homes as they age. In this home, the second and third floors can accommodate adult children and grandchildren. Other design features that make it more convenient for older adults are minimal stairs from the garage to main house to outdoor-living areas. Walls of windows let in the maximum amount of daylight, while lever-style handles and a curbless walk-in shower with a seat in the master bath aid mobility. The first-floor laundry and 40-inch-wide hallways are convenient for everyone.
Other than the master suite, the bedrooms are on the second floor with the bunk style bedroom on the third floor. A wall mural is the main feature of the second-floor landing, which includes a small desk and lamp in case guests need to dash off some postcards or attend to a little business. The pink-edged rug is an example of the accent colors used throughout the bedroom space.
Each bedroom is done in a different color palette and style, but all are casual, comfortable and easy care with wood floors and natural rugs. This one has blush pink walls but is not necessarily feminine because the graphic motifs are rendered in bolder colors.
This bedroom follows the blue theme and is a little more luxe than the others, ideal for adult guests. The palette is still blue and gray, but uses more teal tones and texturally rich choices for the bed, rug and bench. This is a really relaxing and serene bedroom!
A nautical theme, beadboard and an old-style washbasin add charm to this second-floor bathroom. Easy-care tile floors and room for a hamper make post-beach showering and grooming handy as well as tidy.
The second larger bathroom has lots of counter space for all visitors’ necessities and a tub/shower combination. Again, the space is easy-care and spacious, making it function for multiple users all cleaning up from the beach.
For the ultimate in convenience, there is another laundry room on the second floor, which means the homeowners don’t have to lug mountains of linens up and down the stairs after guests depart. In fact, some guests might even be thoughtful enough to wash some of their own before they leave!
Up on the third floor, the colors in the space are bolder and more fun, with whimsical touches like the painted oars that decorate the wall. the floor is done in a smooth, bright blue that is durable for teens and children. Bunk-style beds are only on one level but each features built-in shelves and reading lights, providing a cozy space any child would love. The drawers built into the base of the bed eliminate the need for dressers, saving space.
For seating, this hanging chair and ottoman are great for teens who just want to “hang-out” on a rainy day indoors.
Distinctive custom elements like this Chippendale-style railing in a bold style transforms the stairways in the house into a design feature. The same style of railing is also included on the exterior of the house to frame the balcony.
The rear of the house includes more outdoor living and entertaining spaces, the grandest of which is screened-in porch just off of the living room. Combining all the indoor comforts that one might want with the open air feeling of the great outdoors, this space will be used constantly. the handsome stone fireplace helps extend the usability of the space into the cooler seasons.
Outside, a deck and a patio add even more living space. For ease of maintenance and longevity, the deck was built with capped-polymer decking, which is also used for the front porch flooring. This decking looks just like wood-like but is splinter-free and rot- and mildew-resistant. At the bottom of the deck steps, a paver patio and built-in fire pit are steps away from the house. Because the house is near the ocean, it includes an outdoor shower near the rear of the two-car garage to help keep things tidier indoors.