"This home, if we were going to live in it, needed some sunshine and brightening," says Trent Lloyd, who bought a Cape Cod-style house in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in 2013. "So to revamp it, we let the words "fun" and "joyful" be our guide."
Today the 1870 home is known to family and friends as The Yellow House. The home is next to her husband's parents' house, which the couple and their three young daughters had visited for two weeks every summer. When the house next door came on the market, Lloyd and her husband decided to take a look. She had reservations about how dark and closed-off the rooms were, and because it had been added onto over the years, the home felt a little big for her family. "But I love having guests, and the grounds were great, with a 100-year-old lilac hedge," says Lloyd, a landscape designer. And then there were the views. "Those views were a huge selling point for us," says Lloyd.
Still, the couple wasn't immediately sure what to do with it to make it feel breezier, lighter, and more open. Then, a few months after they purchased the home, Lloyd's interior designer sister, Alys Protzman, arrived for a visit. The sisters began looking the blueprints over. "Soon, we were pulling out trace paper and pencils and sketching out rooms," she says. A week later, they had a plan for the 3,700-square-foot house.
They removed the interior walls that once separated the kitchen, living room, and dining room in favor of an open living area. And by replacing small, river-facing windows with larger openings, including two sets of sliding doors, the team flooded the downstairs with light and brought in big water views. Lloyd hung a wooden swing in the living room (where Sunny the yellow Lab puppy holds court) via thick cotton rope. "Swings are a symbol of joy," she says. "Plus, they bring the outdoors in."
In the kitchen, they added a quartet of casement windows above the sink and replaced the upper cabinetry with lime-washed vertical shiplap and open shelving. "I wanted the kitchen to feel light and airy," notes Lloyd, pictured here with her three daughters. Lloyd opted to paint (rather than replace) the 1980s lower cabinetry a happy, bright yellow shade (Bright Yellow by Benjamin Moore), which she repeated on the Parsons-style island's stools.
"If I had to pick a color for my sister's personality, yellow is it," says Protzman. "Trent is a Southern, warm-hearted person to the core, and living in Massachusetts—where winters can be long—she wants to enjoy as much sunshine as she can."
So they splashed the vibrant color throughout the downstairs, painting a bright yellow faux runner up the stairs, using it on living room throw pillows, light fixtures, and more.
"I wanted to create vignettes, little surprises of yellow throughout the first floor," Lloyd says. In the downstairs guest bathroom, lemony tiles stripe the shower stall.
In the sitting room, a wooden cable spool found in an Alabama parking lot is repurposed as a coffee table and surrounded by slipcovered chairs from Lee Industries.
Seeking a softer, vintage feel upstairs, the sisters kept the guest room's existing blue sailboat wallpaper and black floors, and added a white spindle bed and vintage jug that Protzman turned into a lamp. "We saw this space as a graceful reminder of the home's history," says Protzman. They turned an old high chair into a nightstand.
The girls' room is set up dormitory style, with five twin iron beds dressed in old patchwork quilts Lloyd had been collecting.
"I wanted it to be easy to welcome our friends and family here," says Lloyd. Her daughters are among the family's 10 grandchildren, nine of whom are girls, so summer sleepovers are frequent at The Yellow House. As are houseguests: The dining table, crafted of 17-foot-long kingwood boards the Lloyds found in the attic, and a collection of mismatched chairs and benches (enough to seat 22) makes it come one, come all.
On the other side of the stairs, a sliding yellow barn door opens to an airy laundry room with fun canvas laundry bins, designed to give guests plenty of space to run a load or rinse out bathing suits.
But a good summer house, notes Lloyd, has to be as kid-friendly on rainy days as when the sun is shining. "The girls like to paint and do art projects," she says, "and I thought it would be cool to have a room where they could entertain themselves and make a mess." So she turned an old tool shed nestled between the garage and laundry room into an "art barn." She and Protzman covered a wall with corkboard sheeting and added a long, enamel-topped table and a yellow barn light.
"I feel like the kids have a lot of freedom here. We used to cram into my in-laws' house for two weeks a year," Lloyd recalls. "It was fun and crowded and chaotic—and fine for two weeks. But now we get to spend the entire summer on the Cape." The mudroom, pictured here, is ideal for storing outdoor gear.
Her husband commutes from their year-round home in Wenham, a suburb of Boston, driving down to the summer house every Thursday night to join the family. On Fridays, he works at a desk in the master bedroom, positioned in front of a window. Every so often, he glimpses his older daughters sailing by on their Optimist sailboat, or on their grandfather's Beetle Cat. "It is a happy place for us," says Lloyd. "Inside and out, this house has good energy."