Bringing the Beach Home
September 13, 2011
Text by Stacy Kunstel Photography by Laura Moss
Tucked amid hydrangeas and boxwood along a quiet Southport street, the white clapboard colonial sits, elegant and unassuming, behind its white picket fence. It’s a fair jaunt to the ocean a few miles away, but at this home life’s a beach the minute you walk in the door.
A sea of soft blue covers the living-room walls, and chunks of coral and bleached starfish decorate the tables. On the wall opposite the fireplace, a large painting by the artist Charles Miesmer seems to provide an endless horizon view. Underfoot, the woven apple-matting rug evokes Harbor Island hideaways, and a mirror-top coffee table from Lillian August reflects a large sea-foam-green vase. “I think of it as a beachy farmhouse with artsy and sophisticated rooms in it,” says interior designer Lynn Morgan, who helped this young family pull together a cohesive look with contemporary art, antiques and new pieces.
“I love to fish and my husband grew up fishing, too, so there’s a bit of a nautical theme to the house even though we’re not on the water,” the wife says.
The painted floor in the entryway heralds the casual, shoes-off atmosphere. It’s a home for children—two, ages six and eight—and two dogs as energetic as the kids. “There’s nothing really fussy here,” says Morgan. “It’s all pretty casual, especially the simple family room off the kitchen where the whole family tends to crash.”
After purchasing the property a few years ago, the couple found Morgan, whose office, Lynn Morgan Design, occupies an enviable perch above the water in downtown Rowayton. A former editor at House & Garden magazine and a frequently featured designer in a number of national publications, Morgan specializes in using color to evoke a beachy sense of happiness.
“They’re a young couple. It’s not a huge house; we just needed to inject a lot of color and a lot of love into it,” says Morgan, who replaced dark hues and layers of floral wallpaper in the three-story home with a palette of oyster, turquoise and lavender on the first two floors and a jolt of orange and navy (the sons’ favorite colors) on the third floor.
At one end of the first floor, the media room—which serves as a second family room and library—started off with black walls and mahogany shelves. Morgan quickly suggested lightening it up. “We put up grasscloth as an alternative and then painted the bookshelves,” she says.