“It practically feels like you’re on a boat!” When some clients of New York-based interior designer Jenny Wolfe bought a vacation home in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, they became immersed in the city’s nautical history. The 5,000-square-foot main house, one of four buildings on the four-acre property, overlooks the ocean on all sides and the architecture dates back to 1910. “There were lovely old details, including the kitchen in Basement and great old style. Wallpaper that has not been touched since it was built,” recalls Wolf. “It was not a project for the faint of heart.”
Wolf hired APD Architects, out of Southport, CT, to meticulously restore the architecture and Diane Devore to bring new life to the landscape. Wolf’s goal was to make the interiors feel “relaxed and coastal, with some continuing nods to a beautiful home of its era.” The majority of her budget went to great finishes, at the client’s request: European oak floors, Chesneys shelves, perfect period lighting, and the like. “If this was the best thing for home and design, it was done without hesitation,” the designer recalls.
“It was not a project for the faint of heart.”
For the most part, it was a true gut-wrenching restoration—one of the only original details remaining were the wood floors in the attic bedroom. “It was beyond repair due to staining, so we painted it Hardwicke White by Farrow & Ball,” says Wolf. Warm white and sad blue were chosen for the walls of the other rooms where you can see the ocean in almost every room.
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Formal living room, pictured above: “Bi-fold doors open onto a covered porch overlooking the pool,” says Wolf. Grasscloth: Philip Jeffries. Pieces paint: Phillipsburg Blue, Benjamin Moore. Candelabra: Urban Electric. Lamp: Serge Moyle. Sofas: The Habit, The Huntress New York. Rug: Custom Hemp, ALT for Living. Side table: antique. Shelf: Chesneys.
A custom striped stair runner from Woodard and Greenstein pulls the blues into the connecting rooms, while added windows in the staircase make the room incredibly welcoming. “The idea in a house like this was to be able to open the windows in the summer and breathe in the salty air!” says Wolf. Console: Chelsea Textiles. Lighting fixtures: Urban Electric. Rug: sisal.
Located directly outside the kitchen, this gathering space is for the family who wants to hang out with the cook. A vertical wood panel was painted to match the kitchen cabinetry in Shadow White by Farrow & Ball. Mullion paint: light blue, Farrow & Ball. Sofas: custom. Side table: Chelsea textile. Watercolor: Mary Maguire.
There is a stepped island couples bar with ample space for prep, while a Dutch door leads to the adjoining al fresco dining terrace. Countertops: honed Bianca Carrera marble. Backsplash tile: Water plants. Cabinet paint: Shadow White, Farrow & Ball. Lanterns: Gravity. Seating: O and G Studio. Mirror: The home of the mirror image.
Acquired from Crate & Barrel, two white twin beds from Jenny Lind fit perfectly in an architectural niche covered in printed wallpaper. “You feel surrounded by the space,” says Wolf, who also painted the original wood floors (which were beyond repair) white. Bedding: Les Indiannes. Pendant: Electric light barn. Rug: kelp. Candelabra: circular lighting with clear shades.
On request, this owner’s quiet workspace is located and overlooks the pool. Rope chairs and pendant light: vintage. Office chair: Charles and Ray Eames. Pillow fabric: vintage. Paint: Phillipsburg Blue, Benjamin Moore.
Directly outside the living room, this adult entertainment space is painted throughout the Oval Room Blue by Farrow & Ball and accented with old-world antiques. Pool table: custom, weathered oak. Rug: jute, merida. Chairs: Patterned wool hickory chair. Pendant Light: Robert Ogden.
A series of French doors allow the pool to open fully to a raised seating area above the pool. Teak furniture: Kingsley Bates. It offers an outdoor living space overlooking the pool which is great for summer entertaining.
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Amanda Sims Clifford is the Executive Editor at Beautiful house. She oversees the creation of content for the brand on all platforms. Previously held editorial positions at Architectural DigestShe launched the Clever blog focused on the brand’s millennium, and at Food52, where she served as the founding editor for the design department. She resides in New York.