Stylish New England Homes
Take a peek inside these East coast homes for classic inspiration from preppy décor to shingle style exteriors.
The idiosyncratic, off-center entry to the Caulkin family’s house overlooking Penobscot Bay in Maine was built in 1902.
Interior designer Ramey Caulkin was smitten with the house when she learned it had once been decorated by design legend Sister Parish. The needlepoint rug inspired her pink-and-green palette in the dining room.
Kitchen That Cooks
Vintage details such as beaded board cabinets and traditional faucets and sconces give the working kitchen a timeless feeling.
Breakfast with a View
The Caulkins enjoy a view of Penobscot Bay from the breakfast table thanks to the French doors. The table opens to accommodate eight for larger gatherings.
Room for Living
The pink-and-green palette of the living room reflects the preppy style traditional of Nantucket visitors. The peachy accents in the room were inspired by Sister Parish wallpaper that once hung above the wainscoting.
Sister Parish was known to be fond of English Country style and developed a flair for using color in inventive ways. Ramey Caulkins used a Sister Parish design trick of layering lots of patterns in one color to great effect in the bedroom. Visit sisterparishdesign.com for shopping info.
New Old House
Looking like a relic from early last century, this brand new house on an island off Nantucket combines the best of classic architecture with cutting edge technological advances. Behind the scenes, nature powers this house, with wind and sun power routed to batteries in a shed disguised as a boathouse.
The porch door opens to a wide lawn of scrubby dune grasses. The varied grays and browns of the cedar-shingle siding add character to the porch.
In the living room, the star of the show is the bow-beamed ceiling, designed to look like a whaling boat’s hull. The mahogany ping-pong table in the foreground converts to serve as a dining table.
A local craftsman, John Doyle, constructed the stone fireplace with a mantel made from a piece of washed-ashore driftwood.
Nautical sconces provide task lighting above the cooking area with its great green tile backsplash. Bracket-less open shelves seem to float against the green wall.
Window screens along the wall of windows swing into the room and hook to the ceiling when they’re not needed.
A neat daybed placed beneath a window on the porch provides a great spot for reading and gazing at the sea, or extra sleeping space for overnight guests.
Tradition with a Twist
Nautical elements, plaids, and cottage furnishings take on a fresh look at designer William Diamond’s weekend home. Lighthouses, vintage sailing photos, and wicker furniture appear in many New England style houses, but topped with a blue lampshade, framed in groupings, and cushioned with an eye-popping plaid, they seem completely modern.
What's Old is New
Antique furniture gets a makeover with bright cushions. A striped runner creates a graphic design going up the narrow staircase.
A glossy red floor distinguishes the porch. Black and white accents create a fresh take on an historic color palette.
Antique chairs, a table, and transferware pitchers are all period-appropriate to the house, but they get a modern treatment with a round sky blue braided rug underneath, and exaggerated wood grain-painted floors.
Designer William Diamond is a master of mixing prints. Here gingham, quilts and trompe l’oeiul painting all blend into a surprising beach house bedroom. Shiplap paneling, popular in New England style houses, is a classic look.
Built in the late 19th century, the Victorian-era shingle-style home has been moved several times due to hurricanes and dune erosion in its Fire Island setting.
Blue-and-white is a sure-fire win in a New England-style kitchen. Beaded-board cabinet fronts and ceiling add historic charm.
The warmth of wood is a characteristic shared by many homes in New England. Here, paneled walls frame a water view, and rattan furniture with cheerful blue-and-white cushions creates a cozy game corner.
Passing sailboats off Casco Bay on Bailey Island, Maine provide the view from a sunporch in this waterfront house.
Window boxes and a blue front door added charm to the simple shingle-style facade.
In the small sitting room, exposed beams, wood paneling, and gleaming wood floors create an inviting fireside retreat.