Once Overshadowed by its magnificent setting, an Ocean State home is redesigned to rival its scenery.
The views would be beautiful from any house. But when Tim and Lynne Nyman found their home overlooking a 60-acre horse farm on protected land a half-mile from Moonstone Beach in Matunuck, Rhode Island, they knew it needed to be made special.
“The farm is part of a land trust, and it can never be developed,” points out Tim. Although the house had the perfect location, its uninspired interiors fell flat against the spectacular landscape. “We had to open up the house so you could take in the pastoral setting, with the views of the farm and the ocean in the distance.”
They turned to Sweenor Builders in Wakefield, Rhode Island, with whom they had worked on a previous renovation, and Kristen Martone of Graceke Design in Narragansett (“Our builder showed us another home she designed, and we fell in love”) to reinvent the house as the serene retreat they envisioned. They began by removing the walls between the living and dining areas, creating a ceiling beam and adding crown molding to define the space. “The woodwork gives the house character,” says project manager Douglas Blaine. Overlooking the farm, a newly added expanse of windows fills the interiors with light, framed by an arch that further opens the views.
In the kitchen, Martone took inspiration from the surroundings to create a soft palette of “Fantasy Brown” granite countertops from Shoreline Stone and handmade glass tiles in aquamarine. The kitchen island was custom-built with farm-table legs. “The perimeter of your kitchen is the work area, but the island is where people sit. It’s open. We used granite that has an amazing graining with grays and greens and a little bit of browns—it has a movement that people love,” says Martone. For a vintage feel, a tin ceiling above the island casts subtle shimmer, while a tile mosaic in grassy hues recalls the views. “It’s all about adding conversation pieces that showcase your home,” Martone says.
Throughout the first floor, pine ceilings with a V-groove finish give the interiors a clean, cottage touch. White oak floors in an espresso stain were specially treated to bring out the grain of the wood. “I like to mix light and dark contrasts to make the house look more dimensional and richer,” Martone says. Against the lush landscape, tailored furnishings in cool neutrals enhance the sense of openness, while the Fantasy Brown fireplace surround and trestle dining table handcrafted by local furniture maker Matt Johnson in butternut and black walnut, unify the dining and living spaces. “Granite and tile are where I advise my clients to spend the most money, and then you can layer color and texture with fabric, woods, lighting and accessories,” Martone says. “It’s sophisticated, not complicated.”
For the master bath, Martone created an accent wall in the open shower with a mosaic of iridescent tiles from CB Tile, Inc. in misty greens and silvery neutrals. A polished marble floor and quartz countertops offer a sleek finish, while Swarovski drawer pulls catch the light. The bead board tub face adds country warmth. Throughout the home, Martone drew from her years spent working aboard yachts to bring in nautical details that speak to the coastal setting. On the first floor, the powder room features a ship-style floor, and a signature compass rose inlay at the base of the stairwell includes the home’s latitude and longitude coordinates.
The soft, clean interiors seem to make the views of farmland, sky and distant ocean glow. “We always wanted to live in southern Rhode Island,” say the Nymans. “Kristen and [Sweenor] did an amazing job to bring all the elements together to take in the natural beauty. It’s very peaceful and magical.”