It was the opportunity of a lifetime. When the neighboring home went on the market, they knew they couldn’t pass it up. The potential was to own two homes—both overlooking Chatham’s Stage Harbor—on abutting properties with one shared driveway. Once combined, the two sites now form an enviable family compound, where friends and extended family always have room to stay.
For this serendipitous addition to their Cape Cod lifestyle, the owners envisioned a coastal-inspired interior that communicated elegance without compromising durability. “We wanted a casual and comfortable beach house with a different look and feel than our main house,” they explain. “We also wanted furnishings and fabrics that would hold up to both a quiet family dinner and something as formal as a New Year’s Eve celebration for 30.”
Blending the old with the new
Due to a recent renovation, the newly purchased home did not require immediate changes in structure, materials, or lighting. It also came with a sampling of furnishings that challenged Malone to strategically refresh what was there while supplementing with new choices. Thanks to the artist, carpenters, and craftspeople on staff at her home décor store, Nautique, the designer was able to redo older furniture pieces using anything from slipcovers to new upholstery to hand-painting. “That’s the beauty of having your own workroom—I was able to use what was already owned rather than buy everything new,” she says.
On the first floor, guests enter into an open living space that contains the kitchen, dining area and living room. “The space was very monochromatic,” observes Malone. “The kitchen was very neutral and the wooden dining set blended into the wood floors.” She livened up the living room with sofas and club chairs in two distinct fabric patterns: a yellow-and-blue stripe and a striking blue basket weave. Both fabrics are water- and fade-resistant acrylic, which is durable for children as well as beach-goers. A navy area rug delineates the space.
Malone decided to err on the side of durability once again in the dining area, choosing to create a custom floorcloth for underneath the dining set. “My design echoes the patterns and colors in the living room’s fabrics,” she describes. “It was hand-painted onto canvas and treated with many coats of urethane, making it beautiful yet practical and easy to clean. It is very family friendly, which is exactly what the owners wanted.”
For the first-floor family room, Malone chose a palette of soft blues and coastal-inspired fabrics. She reinvented the sofa with a khaki slipcover and paired it with two chairs slipcovered in a whimsical shell fabric. Instead of a traditional coffee table, Malone was inspired by her own Coastal Collection furniture line at Nautique and opted for a custom piece. Built to her specs by her carpenters, it features hand-painted designs that echo the room’s fabric motifs. Four custom ottomans fit neatly underneath. “It’s a great space saving trick,” she says of the design. “The family can play a game there or use the ottomans for extra seating during cocktail hour.”
Fun, functional and fabulous
The spacious upstairs includes a generous bunkroom for kids. To complement the bunkroom’s existing red-white-and-blue color palette, Malone added a set of navy bureaus; one sports a hand-painted compass rose and the other a succession of “mates” for each drawer. Additional custom touches for the owners’ youngest residents include hand-painted crabs in the kids’ bathroom as well as a pair of hand-carved great white sharks affixed to the top of two custom headboards.
Whether it is delighting children or welcoming adults, the updated interior invites guests of any age to enjoy each thoughtful customization. “Marsha’s attention to detail pulled this project together,” assert the owners. “She has an uncanny knack for blending old and new. She transformed our house into everything we wanted—now we finally feel like it’s home.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dan Cutrona
Interior Design: Marsha Malone of Nautique
**As seen in Southern New England Home magazine’s 2012-2013 print edition.