Project Reveal: Watch Hill Coastal Classic

How do you define “home”?

For our clients in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, home is more than a physical location — it’s a space where multiple generations can come together and make memories.

As long-time residents of the picturesque seaside community, a couple wanted to purchase a nearby property for their two adult children and grandchildren.

When the opportunity presented itself to buy an aging home next door, the couple did so with the intention of demolishing the existing building and creating a seaside oasis in its place. They also retained their property, allowing them to establish a family compound overlooking the ocean.

A Design To Suit the Scenery

Watch Hill is known for its shingle-style homes, and project architect Shope Reno Wharton dreamed up a property to exemplify the aesthetic, which builder Parker Construction brought to life. In designing the interior, we sought to complement their work and pay homage to the coastal location.

That began with a palette that echoes the sea, sky, sand, and dunes seen outside the home’s windows. Textures like knobbly woven upholstery and rattan furniture add depth to the design, alongside custom millwork in rich jewel tones.

The little details make all the difference. Wood paneling on walls, ceilings, and inset on bookshelves make the 9,100-square-foot home feel more like a cozy seaside cottage than a sprawling estate. Wave-shaped scrollwork climbs the entry hall staircase and evokes the rising and falling tides.

A Kitchen for Gathering

As is often the case in modern homes, the kitchen in our family’s Watch Hill property is more than simply a place for preparing food. While the generous island in leathered granite, ample storage, and oversized range make cooking a delight, the true joy of the kitchen is in its versatility as a gathering place.

We like to imagine the family flanking the island for an informal weekend brunch or coming together around the kitchen table, custom-built by the master artisans at Saltwoods, for a casual weeknight dinner.

Inviting Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

When you’re fortunate enough to live in a home perched by the sea, you must find opportunities to embrace outdoor living.

Landscape architecture firm Sudbury Design Group created a variety of well-defined al fresco spaces at our family’s Watch Hill property. An afternoon sunbathing by the pool can easily transition into an evening meal by the built-in grill and a late night enjoying the warm breeze, nestled into the sofa in the outdoor living room.

When the summer rain begins to fall or the cooler months arrive, the family has a range of communal indoor spaces to choose from. 

Perhaps they’ll engage in friendly competition in the game room. Or they may retreat to the library for quiet reading and contemplation from the window seat that looks out to the Atlantic.

Game table in library of coastal home

The formal dining room is an ideal location to host larger meals. When dinner is served at the sweeping wooden table, there’s ample space for all generations of the family to assemble.

Practical Touches for an Extended Family

A home for two families needs a plan to house twice as many things. The well-programmed mudroom in the Watch Hill property provides all extended family members with storage for an array of outdoor gear — from tennis rackets to rain boots to beach totes.

The home also takes a whimsical approach to sleeping arrangements for the cousins. The built-in bunk beds and hanging chairs make for a fanciful retreat, ideal for sleepovers.

Hanging chairs in coastal bunk room

In contrast, the two primary suites — one for each adult sibling and their partner — are thoughtfully situated at either end of the home to allow for maximum privacy and comfort.

The bedrooms’ soothing blue-gray and warm ecru palettes make the spaces feel like true retreats. One can imagine sinking into the cozy bedding in the evening, drifting off to the gentle sounds of waves lapping along the shore.

We feel fortunate to have played a role in creating this intergenerational compound. With the new property’s timeless details and focus on communal spaces, we hope it remains a place for this family to gather for many decades to come.

If you’d like to see additional photos from the project and learn more about the teams that brought it to life, visit our portfolio page.