Anne Chessin’s clients have asked her to age their new home. “They wanted it to feel like it’s always been there,” the designer said of the new shingle construction located half a block from the beach in Weekapaug, Rhode Island. The couple, who live in Westchester, New York, with their four children, fell in love with the family atmosphere of the community after renting there for a few summers. Chessin’s task was to create simple interiors in tune with the environment.
The designer started by laying painted knotty pine boards with uneven edges almost everywhere. “The contractor would bring sample after sample and the owners would say: ‘No, they have no character,’ recalls Chessin. “He couldn’t believe someone would use them, but she loves the way the knots bleed.” On the upper levels, Chessin painted the floors white for a yesteryear feel; on the main level, she used wide-plank engineered oak planks that appear to be salvaged. “It was important that the floors resist the sand of the beach, four children and two cats,” explains Chessin.
Four-panel doors with enamel knobs punctuate the house, along with other New England-style elements such as bookcases built around the windows and a painted rolled-brick fireplace. The kitchen, with its navy blue cabinets, floating shelves and handmade glazed tiles, is trendy, but also has a nautical feel to it. The island’s oiled teak worktop, which will gradually gain a patina, accentuates the effect.
Throughout the house, Chessin has mixed furniture and finishes that channel different eras to achieve relaxed comfort that has been taken care of over time. In the dining room, which is all about the ocean view, woven leather chairs that are sure to show their age after several seasons of wet swimsuits surround a 19th-century farmhouse table. A vintage metal bed brings a guest bedroom with mermaid wallpaper back to dry land, and in the children’s bath, an industrial utility sink hangs over geometric concrete floor tiles. The general theme, says Chessin, is, “This is just a beach cottage. “
While the day is spent at the beach, dinner takes place on the covered porch – cocktails are sipped on the second-story patio that overlooks Block Island – and there are also places to escape inside. . The expansive attic with a 15-foot U-shaped sectional and four built-in queen beds is especially popular with kids for sleepovers and rainy days. The house “works so well for their family,” says Chessin. “He has everything they need.”
Interior design : Anne Chessin Designs, annechessindesigns.com
Manufacturer: Gardner Woodwrights, gardnerwoodwrights.com
Architecture: Arnold Design Group, arnolddesigngroup.net
Painter and decorator : Two women, dfemmes.com
Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to Globe Magazine. Send your comments to [email protected]