Country Ease in Eastham
Colorful touches like playful bold fabrics and rustic country-style decorative accents add pizzazz to classic Cape-style interior and exterior spaces…
Interior designer Kelly McGuill’s concept for an Eastham Cape is a simple, yet elegant reflection of the love that the designer poured into creating a charming oasis for a family of six.
“The homeowners wanted something worry-free, not pretentious or overwrought,” explains McGuill, whose firm is based in Walpole. “Our main goal was to create a space that would be comfortable with a traditional country-style that would blend harmoniously with the outdoor surroundings.”
McGuill teamed up with North Eastham architect Peter McDonald to design the home’s interior and with West Harwich’s LaBarge Homes to build a spacious porch addition. “We focused on creating a space that was extremely livable, clean, and uncluttered—with four young children and a dog, the last thing anyone needs is a lot of stuff,” McGuill explains. “When the surroundings are neutral, individual pieces have the chance to stand out.”
The renovation of the first floor allows each space to open smoothly into the next, from the dining room and kitchen to the living room, and out onto the ocean-side porch. With the renovation, McGuill imagined a unique floor plan with the family’s needs in mind. “The front door used to open into a family room, as in most homes. Changing that space to the dining room, which opens into the kitchen, just made sense for this family. There are plenty of places to sit in the home, but the dining room is where the family can gather, eat, relax, play games, and have guests—we wanted that to be front and center,” the designer explains.
McGuill chose a simple, custom farmhouse-style dining table, bench, and chairs created by TheOleCraftsman that pops against the bright white of the room’s walls as does the antique plate rack that McGuill decorated with colorful beachy knick-knacks. The front room’s fireplace also received a new look. “The fireplace used to be a dark, heavy brick,” McGuill says. “We painted it white and added a simple mantle, which is an inexpensive way to really transform a fireplace. I found the mirror at the Brimfield Antique Fair and put it above the fireplace—a detail like that can make a ceiling seem higher and a room more spacious.”
A large screened-in porch completed the home’s transformation. With almost as much space as the home’s first floor, the porch provides a place for the family to play, enjoy the outdoors, and entertain guests and friends. McGuill designed several seating areas at each end of the space, all with comfort and ease in mind. “Indoor/outdoor furniture was especially important for the porch,” she says. “I say bring on the wet bathing suits and sandy feet! The furniture and floors will only look better with wear and time.” The porch’s nautical theme adds to the ocean-friendly feel, and another dining area at the opposite end of the space gives the opportunity for casual, sunlit meals with friends and family.
With simplicity in mind, the home’s whimsical country style details are a reflection of McGuill’s mastery of color and texture. “I focused on using low maintenance, high performance fabrics like leather and linen for the furniture,” McGuill says. “We wanted all the items to withstand wear, especially on the porch and in the sitting room.” Guests, friends and kids can run from the outdoors to the indoors without staining the room’s well-worn leather couch, easy linen chairs, or the jute rug, layered with an antique rug to add visual interest.
Other simple, but inspired details include the choices of wall art and other hanging pieces, some of which belonged to the homeowners, and some of which McGuill found at the Brimfield show. The designer kept it airy and light, yet engaging with one or two statement pieces in each room—such as the plate rack in the dining room, or the lifesaving rings in the bedroom upstairs—reflecting the family’s unique personality without overwhelming the home’s relaxed rustic ambiance. “Creating a soothing, clean interior was my priority. But simple doesn’t have to be bland,” says McGuill. “I like to add and mix interesting textures, which can be eye-catching without adding clutter.”
The same casual country style gives the bathrooms a homey, rustic look, with aged wooden farmhouse-style vanities from Restoration Hardware as each bath’s statement piece. “The baths are small, so I wanted to use a diminutive vanity, but one that would still embody the homeowners’ spare style. The floors are porcelain, so they’re durable and easy to clean, but look like a more traditional stone,” says McGuill. The window treatments were especially important in bringing light to the small spaces. “Plantation shutters add architectural interest, let light in, and allow for privacy. I didn’t think the baths needed major window treatments, which can be lovely, but often clutter up limited spaces,” the designer adds.
On the second floor, McGuill left the walls plain, choosing nautically inspired details and durable beadboard accents. “We took a nod from the beauty of the surroundings, especially the water,” McGuill says. “The blue tones mirror the water and the beige reminds us of sand. Then we added color in the wall decorations and the bedspreads.” Like the downstairs, the bedrooms consist of low-maintenance pieces that are both dog- and kid-friendly; fun, colorful decorations and washable, low-care linens. The master bedroom incorporates pieces that reflect the country casual design of the dining and living rooms downstairs—the high mirror, rough wooden basket, and red striped pillows—all of which contribute to the home’s flow from room to room, and from downstairs to upstairs. McGuill also chose indoor/outdoor rugs in the bedrooms to add pops of color without adding to the fussiness of the space. In addition to the three main bedrooms, the home’s bunkroom has additional space for extended family and guests to stay.
“In the end,” McGuill explains, “we all wanted this home to be a unique, carefree place for the family to spend relaxed time together, to focus on each other instead of on the care and upkeep of their home. They’re such a kind, warm, loving family, and I wanted their home to reflect that.”
McGuill, whose firm was recently voted Best of Houzz 2015 for Design and Customer Service, believes strongly in customizing designs for her clients with patience and care. “This wonderful couple and their children were definitely dream clients,” she says.
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