Beach House Decorating Ideas from a Massachusetts Home
When educational consultant Bill Daggett travels for work, his wife, Bonnie, does not putter aimlessly around the couple's Albany home. Instead, she heads to their 100-year-old vacation house in Chatham, Massachusetts, and sends up the bat signal summoning her friends—a chummy band of women who've coached one another through everything from child rearing to retirement. By the carload, the ladies arrive at the five-bedroom retreat, clad in Capri pants, with "their paraphernalia, pocketbooks, and knitting bags," says Bonnie. Plus wine. "It's a party for three days," she adds.
In this photo: Bluestone pavers and a profusion of Shasta daisies—Bonnie Daggett's favorite flower—lead to the front door of the 100-year-old cedar-shake house.
The setting inspired Bonnie to take a casual approach to decorating. A beachy, barefoot quality—underscored by a Capel braided rag rug, deliberately mismatched seats (by Stanley Furniture), and a pair of oars leaning in one corner and painted a color similar to "Treasure Isle" by Olympic—defines the breakfast area.
Bright Idea: A crate full of glass bottles offers a foolproof way to arrange flowers.
After a yearlong renovation by architect John DaSilva—aimed at preserving original details while maximizing the oceanfront location—the views from the Daggetts' getaway rival those of any ship. "The people who lived here before preferred privacy," Bonnie says, "but that prevented them from seeing out as much as others seeing in." Now, an open floor plan enables visitors to spot the Atlantic the moment they step inside.
In this photo: In the family room, a melon-colored coffee table by Seabrook Classics pops against neutral Lee Industries chairs. The faux-coral table lamp is from Pier 1, and the walls are painted "White Dove" by Benjamin Moore.
Bright Idea: A vinyl coating (applied by a professional fabric-treatment firm) protects the sofa's upholstery from wet swimsuits.
"My theme was 'sun, sea, and sand,' and I love painted furniture," Bonnie says. She envisioned lobster-red Adirondack chairs, gray-blue nightstands, and a melon-bright coffee table, but choosing the right shades proved difficult. The yellow she originally picked for the kitchen morphed into something "too ugly to describe," says her friend and interior designer Denise Maurer, who recommended white wall tiles and celadon cabinets instead. "The natural light in Chatham is different than in most places," Bonnie explains, since the water shifts from gray to cerulean throughout the day. "Artists come here because of the way color is reflected and perceived."
In this photo: Cape Cod artist Tim Dibble custom-carved the kitchen's slate apron-front sink to incorporate local icons: a windmill, whale, lighthouse, and the word riptide. Wood-Mode cabinetry stores Bonnie's collection of Fiestaware. The cabinets are painted a color similar to "Green Crystal" from Olympic.
In the master bedroom's sitting area, a pair of chairs covered in cotton matelassé swivel to face the harbor. A model sailboat from Chatham's Tale of the Cod sits atop a reclaimed-wood table found at Midsummer Nights, also in Chatham. The walls are painted "Icy Morn" by Benjamin Moore.
Designed by architect John DaSilva, the foyer columns nod to classic Greek pillars. The blue walls are painted "Buxton Blue" by Benjamin Moore.
Master Bedroom with a View
The bed, dressed with a linen Pandora de Balthazar coverlet and shams, and the matching nightstands are by Seabrook Classics.