New England Classic

We found a stunning site on the coast of New England, a development company dedicated to preservation, and one of the country's most talented interior designers. Then we brought them together with a common goal: Build a home that inspires us. Wow, did they succeed!

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Lynn chose luxurious, sophisticated materials for the master bath. Thin borders of pale-blue glass tile frame subway tile around the tub. A pair of custom-made wooden vanities look like treasured family heirlooms, and both sinks and the tub are crowned with slabs of gleaming Carrara marble.

Design Tip: Keep it serene. Louvered fabric blinds close for privacy, yet diffuse soft light. A silent ventilation system guarantees you'll hear ocean, not hum.

Bunk Up
People with beach houses can expect lots of company. Twin beds are a must for at least one guest room. Lynn brought cottage style to this feminine space with whitewashed beds accented with bright quilts. This and the other two upstairs bedrooms have balconies, providing friends and family with private retreats.

Design Tip: Pick one type of material and use it to unify all parts of a room. Here Lynn chose cotton quilts, cotton pillow coverings, and a cotton rug for a look that's soft and natural.

Sail Away
Classic navy and white set the tone for a guest room any sailor would love. The bed nods to shutter style while the quilt calls to mind cotton madras shorts. A pond yacht and sailboat painting add extra nautical appeal.

Design Tip: Decorating themes work best in private spaces such as this boy's room. Here, schooners and Adirondack chairs establish a coastal look.

Artful Advice
Lynn offers these tips for choosing art to hang throughout any house.
• Work in harmony. Whether you chose artwork or furnishings first, be sure to select pieces and colors that complement each other.

• Settle on a theme. All of the art in this house―paintings, photos, and prints―reflects Newport's coastal heritage.

• Consider scale. Find pieces that fit your space. Be sure to measure before making a purchase. Many galleries offer consultations and lend pieces on approval.

The garage apartment, decorated with painted furniture and bright accents, provides a secluded getaway for guests. Ask your own friends: They'll agree that nothing's more appreciated than a private bed and bath plus a counter and sink where you can brew your own coffee in the morning.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect Marcus Gleysteen turned to iconic New England architecture for the 2006 Idea House. "It was very important for the house to fit in. We wanted it to look like it has always belonged, like it was here before anything else," says Marcus.

Sited to capture views of Narragansett Bay, the house embraces its site with all rooms pointed to the sea. "It's as though a magnet was pulling the house toward the ocean," he says.

The spaces are purposeful and livable. "This is a big 'small house,'" Marcus says. "Though we looked to the region's historic vernacular, it has all the advantages of a contemporary home."

Though the Idea House celebrates classic shingle style, our builders and architects incorporated technological advances to make it unabashedly modern.

Garage storage and surfaces: Easy-to-clean wall panels support adjustable shelves. Flooring made of polypropylene tiles is stain resistant.

Music: A sophisticated sound system runs through the house. Download all your CDs and customize playlists.

Climate control: The energy-efficient heating and cooling system also removes dust and particles from household air.

Security system: A flip-down screen above the kitchen desk displays a clear image of the front door, so you'll know you have guests even before they knock.

Housekeeping: A central vacuum makes cleaning easier. Fiber cement shingle siding: "It looks like the real thing and will hold paint longer than real wood," says builder Michael Behan.

Exterior trim and beaded board: The builders appreciated the versatility of PVC composite board. "You can heat it and bend it to fit different forms," says Lou Frederick, project superintendent.

Decking: A composite made of reclaimed wood and plastics, this decking doesn't deplete forests like wood products do. And it won't split, rot, or warp.

Get Outside
A generous porch overlooks the bay and connects first-floor rooms to the outdoors. "This is a three-season house. The interior and exterior relationship was a very important consideration during planning," says Landworks' Matt Mrva.

A side yard and putting green let homeowners get in a practice shot before heading over to the club's Scottish links-style course. Designed by Donald Steel, the course was ranked No. 3 in Rhode Island by Golf Digest.

Special Thanks: We are proud to showcase your products in our magazine. Thanks for being such an important part of our project: Andersen Windows, Laurie Bell, Andrea Bonfils, Builders' Supply CT LLC, Caron's Beach Cottage, Chatham Sign Shop, Circa Lighting, Elizabeth Eakins Inc., GarageTek; Grohe, Harvest of Barnstable, Anne Jayson, Michael Kahn, Kitchen & Bath Details, Kramer & Dey, Linda and Pedro's Tailoring & Alterations, Ocean Offerings, Tjasa Owen, Pub Sign Shop, Karen Robertson, Seashell World, Seaweed Designs, Inc., Shearwaters, Sherwin-Williams, Sunbrella, Swift Morris Interiors, Valerie Wall.

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