Harborside Whimsy

Vibrant colors and bold patterns brighten a North Shore home.

By Rachel Arroyo • Photography by Eric Roth

Beautiful stately homes with grand views of the harbor line the streets of a tony neighborhood on the North Shore. In 2010, while in the process of purchasing one of these homes for her family, another property just down the street went up for sale, prompting a quick change of plans for the mother of three boys. “We wanted something we could move into immediately,” without having to make many updates, says the owner about the modern, five-bedroom, almost 7,000-square-foot home.

To make the home truly their own, the owner hired Siemasko + Verbridge, a full-service architecture, interior design and landscape design firm with locations in Beverly and Chatham, Massachusetts. “The prior owners had a more formal lifestyle approach and didn’t take advantage of the ocean views and the ocean light,” says Jean Verbridge, principal at Siemasko + Verbridge. For the busy household, “We came in with the homeowner and made it much more casual and much more fun.”

“I knew I wanted a lot of color,” says the owner, who, as the design process progressed, became more daring  with her choices, opting for bright colors and bold patterns with just a touch of coastal flair. “After a while, you realize your own style,” she says, which she would describe as a bit whimsical.

Splashed in chartreuse wallpaper with a large-scale pattern, the grand foyer sets a whimsical tone. “We wanted to make a statement and of course the wallpaper makes it,” says Verbridge. For a grander entryway, the staircase was redesigned to have a curvier balustrade that spirals outward, making room for a larger, rounded final tread. “It gave it a little more grandness at the bottom,” says the owner. At the top of the stairs, Siemasko + Verbridge redid the ceiling design, adding a coat of orange paint and rounded trim to create a unique architectural detail.

The bold mixing of colors and patterns is on full display in the living and dining areas.

Originally awash in shades of beige, the living and dining rooms were revamped for a look Verbridge describes as “useful vibrancy.” The living room, she explains, is the adult room “but is not meant to intimidate the kids.” Furniture selections, such as a pair of Dennis & Leen Ascot chairs covered in Cowtan & Tout “Goodwood Stripe” fabric that flank a walnut game table by the window, set a more formal tone. Meanwhile, a pair of French canopy chairs by Artistic Frame in pink, and custom window treatments and accent pillows made of “LULU” patterned fabric in Delft blue from Raoul Textiles add pops of color.

The dining room, like the living room, was updated making only small, cosmetic changes. Wainscoting was installed three-quarters of the way up the wall and the fireplace was reworked for a simpler, less ornate appearance. But it is the furniture and lighting selections that really enliven the space. PP Erevan wallpaper in Delft blue by Pierre Frey, dining room chairs in Brasilia Piscine fabric by Boussac and a pair of Odalisque chandeliers by CX Designs inject a splash of color and whimsy.

More in-depth remodeling was done to the homeowner’s favorite room in the house: the pink sitting room. To make the space feel more open, airy and light, the walls between the pink sitting room and the living and dining room areas were removed, creating more of a connection between all of the living areas while also affording better views of the harbor. “Because I have three boys, I wanted a room for me,” says the owner about the room’s feminine decor. A playful mix of patterns and pinks are used in everything from the Harlequin “Anetta” patterned wallpaper and “Gemma” Madeline Weinrib area rug to the curtains made from “Sari” fabric from Raoul Textiles. “The house has a slightly masculine vibe with lots of blues,” says Verbridge, “and it was fun to have a pink, feminine suite amidst all the blues.”

The youngest son’s nautical-themed bedroom.

The youngest son’s nautical-themed bedroom.

Each of the homeowner’s sons, ages 13, 15 and 17, had a hand in designing their own personal retreat. For the oldest son (a fan of the Indianapolis Colts) and the middle son (a fan of the Green Bay Packers), each has a sports-themed room. A nautical-themed room, with signal flags acting in place of window treatments, was designed for the youngest son’s room. “We wanted to add some flair,” says Verbridge, about the playful window treatments.

The cheery master suite is bathed in buttery yellows and warm-toned hues. “The ocean can look so cool and the sky can be so gloomy and gray,” Verbridge explains about the palette, “so to have it warm on the interior makes a big difference.” The wallpaper and the textured wool rug have similar, softly curved patterns that complement each other without being an exact replication. “It is compatibility without duplication,” Verbridge explains. For continuity between the master bedroom and the side sitting room, the same white and yellow fabric for the bedding in the bedroom is used in reverse for the window treatments in the sitting room.

Along with updating the interior of the home, Siemasko + Verbridge also attended to the outside as well, designing a landscape that incorporates a pool, patio area, rolling lawns and verdant plantings. “The design needed to take full advantage of the picturesque views of the harbor while retaining a sense of privacy,” says Thad Siemasko, co-principal at Siemasko + Verbridge. Placed in the rear yard, the spa and sizable pool are sheltered by plantings for a private oasis at harbor’s edge.

“They are very passionate about what they do,” says the owner about working with Siemasko + Verbridge. “They very gently but consistently lead you through the process.” The owner was so happy with her new home that she is already working on another project with Siemasko + Verbridge—a teardown in Rhode Island.

Siemasko + Verbridge applied their design talents to the outside as well, creating a private, backyard oasis at harbor’s edge.

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