The first time Susan Appleby saw what would become her family’s second home, it was covered in six inches of fresh snow. In fact, Susan, husband Bob, and their three sons made several treks to the Matunuck property from Manhattan, each time in inclement weather. “The day we finally saw it in the sunshine was the day we signed the papers,” Susan recalls.
Situated near Potter Pond in South Kingstown, the expanded Cape looks out onto Matunuck Oyster Farm. Of the location, Susan remarks that it offers the perfect combination of saltwater pond and ocean access. “We were always mesmerized by the beauty of the water outside the large windows. We love kayaking and boating on the pond, and the town beach is a short walk away. We also enjoy the wildlife that returns to the pond after the summer season.”
One element that Susan was not so fond of was the existing interior. “There were chickens and birds everywhere! In the toile wallpaper, hidden in wrought iron chandeliers, and in the window valances,” she says. “We wanted the house to reflect the coastal location and be a bright, comfortable beach house. Nice, but very livable. I didn’t want any fancy rooms that were off-limits.”
Susan called Kim Peterson of KEP Interior Designs of East Greenwich, who got to work transforming: switching out chicken motifs for oceanic, and warm shades for a cooler range. “We like color, and Kim is very comfortable working color in” says Susan, who gave Kim a house key, allowing the designer to update spaces while the family was in New York.
Adding to the mix, Kim brought in textiles with graphic punch ranging from pillows to bedding to window treatments. Waterside accents in rooms go from subtle – a driftwood table stand – to bold – a school of silver fish that seem to float along the dining room wall. Taking a cue from the oyster farm outside, the dining room features a round mirror framed in shells and fabric valances have a swirly oyster-like print.
While furnishings are new, the home also has many personal artifacts. “There’s a watercolor painting of the house my father grew up in; an old hurricane oil lamp from my family’s farm in upstate New York; and several needlework pieces that I have created over the years have found a home here. I like that mix of old and new,” says Susan. “The pace of life is very different here! A sense of calm serenity comes over me every time we turn down the road off the highway.”