A Manhattan family creates a charming retreat that’s just as practical as it is pretty.
Writer: Sara Ruffin Costello
1 of 9Photographer: Rick Lew
A Classic Exterior
Classically picturesque, storybook perfect but never prim, this house in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, exudes a happy balance between practicality and panache. The New York-based homeowners needed their beach house to have enough dexterity to handle sun, salt, and sand—plus all the wear and tear an active family can dish out—while maintaining its graceful New England cottage charm.
An Americana mix of blue and white starts outside, with classic white trim, a refined gray-shingled facade, a white fence, and smart navy shutters. That classic style hints at the nautical palette throughout the home's interiors, which met the owners' desire for down-to-earth aesthetics.
2 of 9Rick Lew
The sea-inspired color scheme set the stage for a few decorative nods to maritime life, starting in the kitchen, where a pair of lanterns hangs above a rounded, hull-like breakfast bar. Barstools upholstered in a crisp blue-and-acid green stripe add a jolt of color.
Florida-based designer T. Keller Donovan applied the same shipshape aesthetic in the kitchen to the upstairs family room, where the sofa and banquette are bedecked with yacht-printed pillows. And for window treatments, he used pleated valances to add a touch of style without blocking the ocean.
4 of 9Photographer: Rick Lew
The designer took a no-muss, no-fuss approach to the textiles, opting for sturdy upholstery fabrics that could handle not only children and pets, but also the rigors of coastal life. "Seventy-five percent of the fabrics I used in the house were indoor/outdoor," he says. All of the furniture in the high-traffic areas, such as the living and dining rooms, are covered in all-weather acrylic, woven fabric that can withstand even a red wine spill.
5 of 9Rick Lew
Keller veered away from the navy-and-white palette in the bedrooms, instead playing up a sea glass green shade that's a mere accent in the living areas of the house. In the master bedroom, the walls above the three-quarter-height tongue-and-groove paneling reveal a touch of pale blue, while below, the wood is painted a crisp, glossy white.