Some things are worth the wait—like a corner cottage in Rockport, Massachusetts, that Anne Kubik had eyed since childhood. "When I was a little girl, we lived up the street, and we'd walk and bike past it," says Kubik, who grew up spending summers in the beach town about an hour from Boston.
2 of 7Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler
"I remember seeing the home's previous owner sitting in his rocking chair, observing the town's daily happenings from the porch." Now that she is the happy owner, she realizes more than ever that life in this attention-grabbing home is all about community—friends pop in for an impromptu barbecue; neighbors stop by to rinse off in the outdoor shower on their way back from the beach. "I can let my kids roam around here because everybody knows everybody," she says. "It's a really special place."
3 of 7Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler
But while the house's inviting, eclectic charm was still intact all these many years later, the same couldn't be said for the rest of the house, so Kubik dove headfirst into a complete remodel. She knew she wanted a cheerful home with an easy flow between the indoors and out, and unfussy interiors capable of withstanding the wear and tear of a big family.
The house would have to hold up to her four children (ages 7 to 15) and a steady stream of visitors bustling back and forth from the beach, but also maintain a bit of sophistication and edge, and take advantage of the water views available from nearly every room. So Kubik picked a design team up for the challenge: architects Charles Myer and Don Knerr and interior designer Andra Birkerts.
Get the look: In the kitchen, the cabinetry is painted Light Blue byFarrow & Ball; the island is painted Ground Paprika byValspar. The stainless tiles are by Charles Myer.
4 of 7Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler
Laid-back Living Room
Because the family spends a majority of its time outside, the first order of business was to craft an open layout for the home's ground floor, uniting the living and dining areas with the kitchen while allowing the rooms to remain easily accessible to the outdoors.
Birkerts filled the spaces with furniture in varying finishes, proportions, and heights so that the pieces could be moved and rearranged to accommodate guests without looking mismatched or out of place. "They wanted to retain the casualness of a day at the beach—coming in with sandy feet, making sandwiches, and playing games," says Birkerts.
5 of 7Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler
Playful Bunk Room
That sense of low-key fun continues upstairs in the bunk room, where Birkerts and Myer dreamed up a camp-like haven for the Kubik children. Steel boat ladders access built-in beds with drawers for storage. Retro ceiling fans, nubby quilts, and bright printed throw pillows add a sense of whimsy. "Kids love places that invite them to use their imaginations, and that's what this whole house does," Kubik says. "It has nooks and crannies. There are always blankets being hung up and forts being designed."
6 of 7Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler
Kubik, however, doesn't have to build a fort to take a break from the rest of the world. Birkerts created a peaceful master bedroom that lets in the surrounding sea thanks to an expansive wall of windows. Soft white walls reflect the flooding light, while floors painted a subtle, light turquoise channel the waves right outside. An oversize ceiling fan with blades reminiscent of boat sails hums overhead, circulating ocean breezes throughout the space.
7 of 7Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler
What started, for Kubik, as a monument to the past has become more and more like home. While she still fondly recalls the house's previous owner and his trusty rocking chair, she is busy filling each room with new memories: shells the children brought home on their last trip down to the water, or the new green door that welcomes passersby who end up becoming friends.