A little TLC and stylish design turn an oceanfront home in Rehoboth Beach into the perfect place for company.
By Brielle M. Ferreira
1 of 8Photographer: Rick Lew, Stylist: Loren Simons
Designed for Company
When the future owners of a Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, retreat first toured the 1980s-style house, they weren't sure it was the right fit for their entertaining-centric lifestyle, but that all changed the moment they caught the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The family reached out to designer Patrick Sutton and a talented design team. Forgoing anything too precious or prissy, Sutton developed a blueprint for the house that would take its cues from what drew the homeowners to the spot in the first place: its waterfront location.
2 of 8Photographer: Rick Lew, Stylist: Loren Simons
In order to create a seamless relationship between indoors and out, though, Sutton knew he would first have to do some heavy lifting. In conjunction with Baltimore-based Penza Bailey Architects, the designer crafted a plan to both knock down old walls (opening up the main living area for better flow and lighting) and put up new ones (enclosing former screened-in porches on the main and second floors).
"There's an easiness to the house that stays with you," says Sutton. "Before, there weren't any spaces where the family could sit to just watch the weather coming in over the ocean." Now, those areas are part of almost every gathering space.
4 of 8Photographer: Rick Lew, Stylist: Loren Simons
Creating Casual Elegance
The designer carefully curated super durable furnishings with sophisticated silhouettes, paying special attention to scale and comfort. "I didn't want to do a stereotypical beach house," he says. "I wanted it to be relaxing, but I also wanted it to be elegant."
5 of 8Photographer: Rick Lew, Stylist: Loren Simons
Sophisticated Meets Durable
The best example of Sutton's unique design perspective is the ornate table at the entrance of the home. "It's incredibly intricate and rustic," he says. "It's a definite showpiece, but it's also masculine and a little rugged. If you dropped something on it and dinged it, you wouldn't even notice. That's what we wanted."
6 of 8Photographer: Rick Lew, Stylist: Loren Simons
Easygoing Gathering Place
Because the homeowners wanted to be able to accommodate friends and extended family at a moment's notice, they needed the house to be low maintenance and capable of multi-tasking. Downstairs, Sutton accounted for a potential influx of guests by creating a variety of different seating groupings. Upstairs, in addition to five bedrooms, a large loft area is outfitted with beanbags and boat-shaped beds for impromptu sleepovers.
8 of 8Photographer: Rick Lew, Stylist: Loren Simons
With all the hard work done, the homeowners are finally enjoying the home. "When I did the grand reveal, the wife came in first, and she burst into tears," Sutton says. "There was an immediate emotional connection. They wanted it to be the kind of place where they could spend time with those they care about most, kick off their shoes, and recharge their batteries, and that's what it is.