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A seasonal second home becomes a year-round escape

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Pamela Fatone is well versed in interior design. As a New York-based designer, she escapes the demands of a hectic client schedule and the frantic Big Apple pace in her home just steps from the crashing waves of Misquamicut Beach. More than a year ago, Fatone and her husband embarked on ambitious home remodel that included a spacious addition, new exterior and ample parking for guests who visit often (as anyone with a home by the sea will attest to).

“It took a whole year,” she says. Building began in February 2011 and the family celebrated a barebones Thanksgiving as construction was still in progress come November. “It wasn’t anywhere near 100-percent. We could only use the upstairs.” Despite the limitations, the family reveled in the peace and serenity that Westerly affords in the quieter months. “November at the beach? No one is here,” she says with a laugh. By President’s Day, they were already entertaining and enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Builder Alan G. Hill of nearby Charlestown, who had worked on commercial projects for the family, oversaw the renovation. Hill’s challenge was to merge the homeowners’ vision and needs while working within an existing footprint and the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council’s regulations. “It was more than a cottage as it was, but there was a lot of wasted space,” says Fatone. “What we tried to do was make more space by reconfiguring. It was a nice house, but not laid out well at all... it wasn’t conducive to having a lot of people [over].”

The resulting design more than doubled the floor space of the home. The first floor underwent the most drastic change, which includes much needed area for the children to relax. The new and improved layout capitalizes on the nearly 360 degree views of the Atlantic. Each element was chosen not just for style but for function and practicality. Fatone chose engineered flooring imported from Germany that combined durability and elegance. “Their graphics are spot on,” she notes. “There’s a beautiful Tigerwood... It has these dark grains that run through it.”

One dual-use space features a Zoom-Room, an electronic, remote-controlled, guest bed solution that maximizes space; it’s similar to a Murphy bed but is stored in a practical wooden cabinet that is just 24-inches deep. The restrooms include Geberit Duravit in-wall concealed tank systems, a toilet system known for its sustainability and radiant heating, found throughout the home (including the showers).

The same commitment to smart and stylish design continues to the exterior. Invisible, stainless steel deck railing is modern and ensures clean, uninterrupted ocean views. While the home once featured traditional cedar shingle siding, the wood weathers quickly in the elements, so after carefully reviewing the options, they selected resilient fiber cement shingles with a wood grain-like finish. Though synthetic, Fatone says the look is unbelievably identical to cedar.

While Fatone was instrumental in making decisions throughout the renovations, once the infrastructure was complete she was able to really work her magic. As the founder of PFNY Designs, Fatone has her finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest fabrics, furnishings and design elements of interior spaces. “My specialty is color,” she explains. The children delighted in choosing colors for their rooms on their own, while Fatone selected cool blues and greens throughout the first floor that were inspired by the sea. Upstairs, Fatone looked to fashion an elegant but approachable aesthetic. She started with a warm yellow color palette to set the tone, a shade she describes as “sunny.” Looking to continue her coastal vision, bedrooms feature diagonal, natural wood ceilings with a white-washed stain for a charming coastal ambiance. “They feel very beachy, very cottagey,” she describes. Furnishings, draperies and accents include pieces by Kravet, Robert Allen and luxury lifestyle designer Barclay Butera.

Fatone says the once seasonal second home has quickly become a year-round escape, and friends and family who were familiar with the original home can’t stop gushing over the completed redesign. “We’re very happy with the outcome,” she says simply.