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A Bonnet Shores Bungalow

A Rhode Island couple comes back home, with a house built to hold generations of family

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Both Jen and Bill Lane grew up in Rhode Island, attended the University of Rhode Island, and summered in the idyllic coastal community of Bonnet Shores, so it should come as no surprise that the Ocean State is where the couple returned after spending three decades raising their family in Massachusetts.

“We spent our summers in Rhode Island with family and friends, and considered it our second home,” reflects Jen Lane. “As my three children turned into young adults and moved on, we found ourselves in our ‘big’ house in Massachusetts [that was] very empty. So a year ago we decided
that we were going to sell our house, downsize, and move to the beach.”

The couple had bought a bungalow in Bonnet Shores 25 years ago and initially hoped to renovate it for full-time living. After hiring an architect to remodel it, they quickly realized their Cape was a teardown. Lane says she spent more than 40 hours online looking for the right builders, but her search was over when she found Heritage Homes in North Kingstown.

Nine months later, the Lanes moved into their new old home, delighted with it. “It was important for us to have our master bedroom on the first floor, a great kitchen for entertaining, and plenty of room for my children, grandchildren, and guests,” Lane says. The second floor features two bedrooms, a bathroom, a family room, and a bonus room/workout area, though the guesthouse may be getting the most workout. “Being near the beach brings lots of company, which we love.”

Lane says she wanted the house to evoke both calmness and casual elegance, so she turned to Lee Chartier of Inside Style in Wakefield to oversee interior decisions, including colors, fabrics, upholstery, accessories, and window treatments.

“Jen [had] already narrowed things down but wanted guidance to make sure that the whole house – which had an open floor plan – would have a cohesive look and feel,” explains Chartier. “We recommended a color palette that included some pale blues and greens that had a good amount of gray in them. The master bed and bath are done in Benjamin Moore Sleigh Bells and Half Moon Crest, which are soft, beautiful tones. We added gold in silver tones in the draperies, bedding, and chair upholstery for a romantic feel.”

As the ambience of their Massachusetts home had been radically different from the Lanes’ new cottage-style stunner by the sea, the couple had to take a closer look at what furniture could stay, what had to go, and what could be reinvented. Chartier set her eyes on the large, traditional dark wood china cabinet, decorated with what seemed to be a white elephant. “We removed the glass doors, painted it inside and out, and changed the hardware. You wouldn’t recognize it! Completely transformed into something they can now use,” she says with gusto. “Older pieces are not only sentimental but they’re often much better made than pieces today. It just takes vision to transform them.” 

Chartier “really helped me achieve my goals!” Lane says. “All the gals at Inside Style are very talented and fun to work with.”

Another critical element in capturing the vibe Lane wanted was lighting. “This was one of my most difficult tasks,” Lane says, “because I believe lighting has to be special to achieve my desired look and feeling.” The homeowner worked closely with Cynthia Lafarier of Harbour Lighting Boutique in Exeter to make purposeful, “illuminating” decisions.

“So Bill and I are ‘back home’ in Bonnet and I can say this is our last stop,” says Lane. “But we have many, many more years of family, love, and happiness as our family continues to grow. We look forward to our kids coming home on the weekends [in] the years ahead and this cycle repeating itself year after year.”