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Salt Ayr

This waterfront home has been completely transformed into a colorful getaway by drawing inspiration from its every view

Whether it be the sheer magnitude or unpredictability of the sometimes wild, sometimes serene ocean, something keeps a human’s gaze continually returning and searching for the coastline whenever it comes into view. It has a way of situating us, all while instilling wonderment at the vast horizon beyond. To live nestled up to the shore is the dream for many, and sadly the reality for all too few. When the perfect piece of property found one lucky homeowner and her life partner (as opposed to her finding the property), she knew in her soul this was where she was meant to be, relishing the chance to wake up to the sound of crashing waves each day. She made a quick call to her interior designer, Susan Shulman of West Newton’s Susan Shulman Interiors to help her transform the oceanfront charmer into something truly spectacular, but more importantly, a home that reflected the soft elegance the homeowner so naturally exudes.

A city lover at heart, this particular homeowner never saw herself leaving the hustle and bustle of Boston. When happenstance brought her to an open house on the South Shore, she assured her loved ones she would not leave the city. However, it was the moment she looked out the expansive windows onto Cape Cod Bay that she knew this was home, her home. “Some people believe that things happen for a reason, and as a result, you can either view an opportunity as a negative thing that should be ignored or quashed, or as a serendipitous event that should be seized and acted upon. I guess evidence indicates that I am of the latter persuasion. The day I looked at this house, came inside, walked up the stairs, and saw the vista that appeared before me, I felt I had been struck by lightning,” the homeowner reflects. “The idea that I could start and end every single day for the rest of my life with the sounds, smells, and sight of the ocean with all its movement, colors, activity, sea life, and unpredictability right outside my door was intoxicating.”

Resting along Cape Cod Bay on the South Shore, this perfectly placed pearl, known as Salt Ayr can see as far as Eastham to its left and Duxbury Beach to the right. In only two years of homeownership, the homeowner and her longtime interior designer, who is now a close and dear friend, have curated every nook and cranny of the modestly sized home with exquisite works of art. Shulman has over 25 years of design experience in the New England region with a close group of lifelong clients. Her experience, paired with the homeowner’s vision, created a warm and creative home that immediately presents itself as a distinctive destination.

The original building was a small, historic cottage. In 2009, the previous homeowners did a complete remodel, turning it into an open concept two-story home that maximized the panoramic view, while epitomizing oceanfront living. The remodel, however, kept with a completely neutral palette. Enter the homeowner and Shulman: a dynamic duo unafraid to utilize color, texture, and art to establish a highly curated environment. “Over the years, we have developed a unique and symbiotic process of decorating that Susan likes to call, ‘creating a story,’” the homeowner shares. 

After working together for 20 years, their trust in each other is key. Their process begins with the homeowner pulling inspiration from magazines or fabrics, and Shulman turning this inspiration into reality. In fact, that was the exercise that brought the two together over 25 years ago, as the homeowner entered the Boston Design Center with a dog-eared magazine in search of a particular fabric. She was paired with the Designer on Call, and the rest, as they say, is history. For this project, the overall goal was to achieve a level of sophistication with the many existing pieces of art, yet provide a balance for comfort, as it is after all, a beachfront home. “It was really about bringing the ocean in,” Shulman says. “We didn’t want to be obvious, but we placed nods to sea life throughout the home.” The art in the homeowner’s previous residences resonated with her love for the water, but now the goal was to enhance the view right outside her door. “My main goals were to do nothing that obstructed the views and to furnish in a way that reflected and honored the beauty of the ocean, sky, sand, and marsh that grounds the house,” the homeowner and Shulman say in unison as they often finish each other’s sentences.

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