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Not Your Grandma’s Beachside Bungalow

Donna Elle Sconset cottage

The whimsical sky-blue beadboard emphasizing the hip ceiling is a detail that only Donna Elle could have dreamed up.

Elle was able to take the spectacular antique aspects of this home and turn them into something not only beautiful, but also meaningful. The excavated beadboard became the main material for many of the ceilings, painted a striking sky blue, and hip ceilings tied the whole look together in a way that is both artistic and respectful of the original history of the home. “The thing I look for in a designer is someone who can listen to what I want but also bring their own creativity to the project. That was so important to me, especially doing this project at a distance, and something that Donna Elle definitely brought to the table,” says Forgaard.

Elle cultivated her passion for design at a young age, moving furniture around in her bedroom. She quickly turned that curiosity and eye for beauty into a successful life path. Today, she is a talented interior designer whose success is due largely to her affinity for, as she puts it, “translating the client’s persona in the third dimension,” a feat which she has undoubtedly accomplished with Forgaard’s ‘Sconset bungalow. She has truly captured Forgaard’s personality and reverence of authenticity in every aspect of the home, all the way down to the finish on the walls.

“This home resonates charm,” says Elle. “It’s so unlike what you see in building today, and everything about the house—the scale, the nuances—has real heart.” Rather than tearing apart the home to simply replace it with something more contemporary, Elle created an unpretentious space, unique in its grounded, laid-back feel that beckons visitors to enjoy the home, and clearly marked by its detailed attention to the interplay between old and new. “It’s exciting and rewarding working with the old and blending with the new,” Elle says. “You get to salvage a lot of the history, and it turns into little nuggets of ideas.”

“I feel like I resonate with every part of this home,” she adds. “I was so in tune to Julie’s lifestyle, and I connected with her vibe in such a way that allowed me to execute her concept of authenticity and keeping the home old-fashioned.” Elle describes how she went about “recreating the past with the future, honoring and working in harmony with the history of the home.” They saved the boards from the walls and the ceilings and reused them throughout the house, always striving to maintain a coastal color palette to complement the beadboard ceilings and open stud walls. The black wrought iron doorknobs display an attention to detail that truly brings the past to life within the confines of this coastal cottage.

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