Step Inside a Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Condo with a Neutral Palette
December 19, 2023
An interior designer takes a minimalist approach on a coastal retreat without sacrificing comfort and warmth.
Text by Clinton Smith Photography by Jared Kuzia
The Aquidneck Club in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, is a magical place in a bucolic setting overlooking picturesque Narragansett Bay. For one Boston couple who have been longtime members, it has served as a weekend respite from the hustle and bustle of their busy weekday lives in the city. So when one of the club’s coveted condominiums hit the market—a rare occurrence—the duo snatched it up.
Then they called Blair Moore, creative director and principal of Moore House Design based in Warren, Rhode Island, to come to the rescue. The club’s majestic shingle-clad facade is quintessentially New England; the residence’s interiors Moore initially encountered were not. “The space didn’t reflect the outside of the building, which feels warm and inviting,” says the designer. “Inside, it felt void of detail and craftsmanship.”
Working with builder Christopher Pettit of Pettit Construction, Moore and the couple embarked on a complete renovation that included new paneling and lighting, entire kitchen and bath reworks, and new flooring, tile, and plumbing. No detail was overlooked.
In the meantime, Moore and her team devised a design scheme that would honor the building’s architectural heritage and coastal sense of place, along with her clients’ desire for minimal, calm spaces and a lack of clutter. The designer’s less-is-more approach melded sculptural furniture with contemporary silhouettes (many from her new furniture line, Roweam) while also incorporating vintage and antique pieces to retain a sense of warmth and coziness.
When it came to selecting—and editing—furnishings, lighting, art, and accessories, Moore maintained a hard line on what made the final cut.
“Don’t put anything into your space unless it adds character, value, and conversation,” says Moore. “And if it doesn’t, why do you need it? You don’t need it. If I’m adding something, it has to add value to the story of the house and to the story of the clients.”
For these lucky homeowners, Moore’s acute eye and edited approach allows every special piece to contribute its own narrative to a decorative tale that seamlessly blends old and new with a nod to the present and future. It goes to show that, when done right, minimalism can make a maximum impact.
Interior design: Moore House Design
Builder: Pettit Construction