“John and Suzy wanted a house that was unassuming, that didn’t stick out,” explains Miao. He says the home celebrates the indoor/outdoor interrelationship, a palpable Japanese antecedent. The focal point of the entry is an interpretation of a sunken Japanese garden with traditional statuary surrounded by pebbles. Miao says the design also incorporates Japanese tea house elements. “It’s a whole different scale, but the joy of it, the relaxation, comes in—just like how we take off our shoes. It’s a Japanese tradition that you leave the dirt and stress of the world behind,” he says.

A thoroughly modern kitchen with white cabinetry, high apsed ceilings and Blue Pearl granite countertops blends into an open floor plan, where a sitting room includes beloved pieces: a desk where John’s father, a clergyman, once wrote his sermons, as well as a pair of handcrafted chairs the couple commissioned when they lived in France. Crisp white walls and rich shades of blue are carried throughout the furnishings and accessories, like a hand-woven rug (which Suzy designed), couches and a sitting area, adding a decidedly nautical aesthetic.

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Andrea E. McHugh, a former editor at Newport Life magazine, is a freelance writer living in Rhode Island.

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