Tour an Elegant Beach House Sitting on the Water

A blue-and-white palette washes through a picture-perfect coastal home.
Eg Groton Livingroom 5

Photography by Sarah Winchester

When Interior designer Erin Gates was given the opportunity to work on a project with her architectural designer father—Kevin Tubridy of New England Design— she jumped at the chance. Tubridy had fully renovated the house, combining two waterfront properties to provide room for a three-story addition to complement the renovated existing cottage. “He had given the clients my first book [Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A Life, Simon & Schuster 2014], so when the wife decided she wanted to redo the interior decoration of the home, as well as update the kitchen and baths, she asked if I’d be interested,” says Gates. “It was my first time working on a house designed by my father, which was really special!”

Eg Groton Livingroom 4

Photography by Sarah Winchester

The client requested a bright, crisp and clean look. “She wanted it to flow together and coordinate from room to room with variations on a blue-and-white color scheme,” notes Gates. “But nothing that screamed ‘beach house’ in a cheesy or cliché way. The layout of the first floor was changed to create a more spacious master suite, including a small but spectacular master bathroom. The upstairs guest bathrooms were done in the same finishes to keep things easy and simple, and the kitchen was given a facelift with new countertops and backsplash, fixtures and a fresh paint job.”

Since this is a busy summer getaway spot for extended family, the homeowners needed everything to be kid-friendly. “A beach house by nature should be laid back and comfortable. We had to make sure it wasn’t fussy but still looked elegant and tailored,” explains Gates. “With grandchildren, the beach right outside their door and ample sunlight coming into the house, you have to carefully select fabrics and finishes.

The two blue sofas were a pair the client had and loved, so we reupholstered them in a Crypton-protected Thibaut fabric. We made sure that there were great motorized sheer window shades on all the windows to not only prevent glare but also fading of the furniture and flooring. We used indoor-outdoor fabrics on the dining chairs and barstools, which I see as a must in any home these days!”

The first-floor master bedroom suite was designed as a peaceful sanctuary. “This bedroom is the true definition of a retreat,” says Gates. “The view is incredible, and the layout of the room really makes the most of it with a bank of windows showcasing the waterfront location. We framed these with really showstopping window treatments that added to the ethereal feel instead of adding weight. The horizontal stripe sheers are on motorized tracks layered with motorized blackout shades. And in order to keep this room feeling so peaceful, we helped design a bank of built-ins for ample storage in addition to the walk-in closet space.”

The completed project fulfilled all of the client’s desires. “By reusing the quality items she already had and loved, adding unique and beautiful new pieces to make it feel updated and selecting finishes that are timeless and not trendy, I feel like this new design will last for decades and not look tired or dated,” notes Gates. “The combination of comfort, ease of living and a serene palette all came together into one very special home.”

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Water Colors.
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