Rhode Island newcomers embrace a little imperfection in their beach house design

After sampling several shades of blue paint for the front door, the team decided 
on Benjamin Moore Soot.
After sampling several shades of blue paint for the front door, the team decided
on Benjamin Moore Soot.
Read McKendree / JBSA

Anne Chessin’s clients asked her to make their new house look old. “They wanted it to feel like it had always been there,” the designer says of the shingled new construction located half a block from the beach in Weekapaug, Rhode Island. The couple, who live in Westchester, New York, with their four kids, fell in love with the community’s family-friendly vibe after renting there for a few summers. Chessin’s charge was to create no-fuss interiors that felt in sync with the surroundings.

The designer started by putting up painted knotty pine boards with uneven edges almost everywhere. “The contractor brought in sample after sample and the owners would say, ‘No, they have no character,’” Chessin recalls. “He couldn’t believe anyone would use these, but she loves how the knots bleed through.” On the upper levels, Chessin painted the floors white for an old-timey feel; on the main level, she used engineered, wide-plank oak boards that look reclaimed. “It was important that the floors stand up to the sand from the beach, four kids, and two cats,” Chessin says.

Four-panel doors with enamel knobs punctuate the house, along with other New England-style features such as bookcases built around windows and a painted tumbled-brick chimney. The kitchen, with its navy cabinetry, floating shelves, and handmade glazed tiles, is of the moment, but also has a nautical feel. The island’s oiled teak countertop, which will gradually develop a patina, emphasizes the effect.

Throughout the home, Chessin mixed furnishings and finishes that channel various eras to achieve an easygoing, curated-over-time comfort. In the dining room, which is all about the ocean view, woven leather chairs that are sure to show their age after several seasons of damp swimsuits surround a 19th-century farm table. A vintage metal bed brings a guest room with mermaid wallpaper back to dry land, and, in the kids’ bath, an industrial utility sink hangs above geometric, concrete floor tiles. The overarching theme, Chessin says, is, “This is just a beach cottage.”

While daytime is for the beach, dinner happens on the covered porch — cocktails are sipped on the second-floor deck that looks out to Block Island — and there are spots for escaping indoors, too. The expansive attic with a 15-foot U-shaped sectional and four built-in queen beds is particularly popular with the kids for sleepovers and on rainy days. The home “works so well for their family,” Chessin says. “It has everything they need.”

RESOURCES

Interior Design: Anne Chessin Designs, annechessindesigns.com

Builder: Gardner Woodwrights, gardnerwoodwrights.com

Architecture: Arnold Design Group, arnolddesigngroup.net

Decorative Painter: Deux Femmes, dfemmes.com

MORE PHOTOS:

Cherry and ash stools by New England furniture maker Thos. Moser line the island and Urban Electric Co. pendants hang above it.
Cherry and ash stools by New England furniture maker Thos. Moser line the island and Urban Electric Co. pendants hang above it.Read McKendree / JBSA
The guest bedroom’s Hygge & West mermaid wallpaper and Arteriors natural raffia pendant, with its sea-inspired shape, are both playful and sophisticated.
The guest bedroom’s Hygge & West mermaid wallpaper and Arteriors natural raffia pendant, with its sea-inspired shape, are both playful and sophisticated.Read McKendree / JBSA
Designer Anne Chessin enlarged the primary bedroom by replacing a walk-in closet with a smaller closet beside the chimney.
Designer Anne Chessin enlarged the primary bedroom by replacing a walk-in closet with a smaller closet beside the chimney.Read McKendree / JBSA
Anna Spiro wallpaper from Studio Four NYC covers the lounging end of the attic, where a 15-foot U-shaped sectional wraps a wall across from the TV.
Anna Spiro wallpaper from Studio Four NYC covers the lounging end of the attic, where a 15-foot U-shaped sectional wraps a wall across from the TV.Read McKendree / JBSA
A sofa and armchairs by Serena & Lily are upholstered in performance fabrics for durability, and the Circa Lighting library sconces above the bookshelves have saddle leather shades.
A sofa and armchairs by Serena & Lily are upholstered in performance fabrics for durability, and the Circa Lighting library sconces above the bookshelves have saddle leather shades.Read McKendree / JBSA
Chessin commissioned Connecticut-based decorative art firm Deux Femmes to paint a faux runner on the stairs.
Chessin commissioned Connecticut-based decorative art firm Deux Femmes to paint a faux runner on the stairs.Read McKendree / JBSA

Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]

Next Post

what to do and what not to do

Fri Jun 25 , 2021
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Look around your neighborhood, we’re sure you’re seeing it – home projects big and small. Plenty of people are planning out home improvement and landscaping projects. Right now, contractors are swamped. WBTV is on your side investigating what you need to know before signing a home […]
what to do and what not to do