A mother and daughter team up to create a relaxed, sophisticated style in an old Cape on Bass River.
With three grown daughters, five grandchildren, and their five dogs visiting at any given time, most women might give up on trying to create a home that has an air of sophistication. But Lu Farrington is not that kind of woman. After 11 years of cosmetic touches and one kitchen remodel, her year-round home, which she shares with her husband, Paul, is both welcoming and stylish. “My mother has amazing tastes and great vision,” says Lu’s daughter and interior designer Kelly McGuill. “But above all, my parents knew the house had to be dog- friendly and kid-friendly.” Lu wanted to create a home that could accommodate all her family and friends as well as give a sense of her personal flair.
Kelly and Lu began working together choosing fabrics and materials that could stand up to frisky canines and active little children. “There can be 30 people staying at the house at one time, says Kelly. “Leather (as a comfortable, tough fabric that is easy to maintain) can really be your friend.” Along with leather, Kelly introduced sturdy indoor/outdoor fabrics for a “no worry” home. “The home is full of natural light and really just needed to be freshened up,” says Kelly. A black-and-white check cloth covers the sofa and love seat in the living room. Vintage end tables in crisp whites and a large mirror found at a flea market give the room charm as well as a relaxed feel. An oriental rug gives the room a punch of red. Country porcelain pitcher topiaries and clay pots placed along the mantel give the room a country feel.
The kitchen, designed by Classic Kitchens in Hyannis, is the perfect spot for large dinner parties. The center island’s wooden countertop offers ample space for food prep. The state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances can handle cooking for large crowds. “We can fit 16 around the 10-foot dining table,” says Kelly. The rustic farm table is surrounded by red ladderback chairs. “Red is my mother’s favorite color,” says Kelly. “We used it as an accent color throughout the kitchen. The toaster, trash can, and even the sink, are red!”
Another favorite motif is the rooster. Several can be found around the kitchen. White cupboards come from Kelly’s own furniture line called Kelly McGuill Home and hold a variety of white plates and platters as well as red bowls and cups. “We use everything on the shelves,” says Kelly. The sideboard on the adjacent kitchen wall is surrounded by country wicker baskets (also by Kelly McGuill Home) while a vintage window backed in mirror rests on top.
In the formal dining room, Kelly and Lu chose a durable sisal rug and brown white paisley fabric to cover the dining chairs. The brown fabric is offset by a wall of blue-and-white Staffordshire and Spode platters and plates. The dark wood dining table is lined with 12 glass candlesticks that Lu has collected over the years. “Displaying like items together gives a visual impact and also adds a level of sophistication to the design,” notes Kelly. Topiaries add a sculptural natural element to the space. The design duo also chose to use topiaries in the screened porch along with groupings of votives placed in a neat row on the mantel. Multiple terracotta pots brim with white geraniums. “The effect is visually stunning,” says Kelly. White wicker pieces from Kelly’s furniture line are placed on the porch and continue the relaxed look.
Bedrooms are relaxed and colorful with casual quilts that can be run through the washer. There is a large wooden sign, which reads “Dew Drop Inn,” mounted over the master bedroom to remind Lu and Paul of the inn where they first met. “Everything in the house means something—the décor is filled with Lu and Paul’s personality,” says Kelly. “These touches make the home truly special.”
This home is so welcoming—it’s a place where you can come, put up your feet, and be surrounded by casual sophistication. “We were thrilled with the outcome,” says Kelly. “It really is a place the whole family can come to over and over again to create Cape Cod memories.”
Nancy E. Berry is a freelance writer who lives in Yarmouthport.
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