Sandy and Paul Fredette lived in Connecticut for more than 15 years, raising their two children in a historic-style home. Once their little ones flew the nest, Sandy and Fred knew it was time for a radical change. Paul, who was working outside of Boston, had an apartment in nearby Newton where the two lived while considering their next step. Just before they were about to make a home in Wellesley, the couple decided to entertain living in Rhode Island. After all, the two were both born and raised in the Ocean State, so it couldn’t hurt to take a look.
“This was the very first home we looked at and we quickly put in an offer,” says Sandy of the three bedroom, four bath condominium perched grandly on the 12th hole of the greens at Quidnessett Country Club. “What we were going to get for our money here was much more than in Wellesley. It needed some TLC as it had been rented for years, but the owner had put the very best in here. We knew the changes were just cosmetic.”
Sandy says she and Paul decided well before they found the condo that they wanted a whole new aesthetic at their next address. “We had everything from when we were married 31 years ago, so we were ready to get a new look,” she laughs. Though they had never enlisted the assistance of a professional interior designer, the couple knew they needed an experienced professional and one who could work quickly and efficiently.
“Sandra first contacted my sister-in-law, Tara Mernick of Re:design RI, an East Greenwich based design firm,” says designer Lee Chartier of Inside Style. “Tara called on me to assist as it was a very large project that the client wanted to complete in a short time. Sandra showed us an empty condo and a few photos that had inspired her to strive for a very light and neutral look, which was a complete change from her former home. She wanted this new space to be uncluttered and airy but still comfortable and inviting.”
Sandra says the condo offered a lot of natural light but the dark and dreary walls were camouflaging one of its best assets. “We knew we could brighten them up,” says Sandy. “Lee knew I wanted a muted palette but still very warm.”
“Like many homes we work on, [it] had an open floor plan with very high, cathedral ceilings. This meant that it was critical that each room needed to flow seamlessly,” explains Lee. At first, Sandy suggested a white-on-white palette to achieve the spa-like vibe she sought. Lee cautioned monochromatic white would be too clinical, and instead swayed Sandy to embrace muted tones throughout that would allow each space to function individually but all the while fitting into a cohesive greater living area.
They chose a light, neutral color palette consistently throughout using varying accents, textures and treatments to distinguish areas. “The grass cloth we chose for the foyer was the same color as the great room walls, but the grass cloth had an added brushed silver tone as well,” explains Lee. “We used a torn paper finish on the dining room ceiling that complemented the color but added yet another texture.”
The synergy between the two women was undeniable. “Lee and I really clicked. I like proportion and details; she loves textures and sophistication. She is the epitome of class but very modern, straightforward and adventurous. She has no problem telling you how she feels about something,” Sandy says with a laugh. But Lee did exactly what Sandy was hoping someone would. “She really pushed me out of out of my comfort zone.”
Like any home, Sandy and Paul’s condo came with a unique set of challenges. Being located on the expansive fairways at the country club is stunning with rolling green hills and a captivating water view, but players on the course can be within close proximity of the home. The dynamic trio of Sandy, Lee and Tara devised a stylish window treatment solution: subtly hued, remote-controlled woven shades that added texture and warmth were mounted so privacy could be maintained without compromising the natural light.
“Another challenge was to incorporate some antique family pieces to which Sandra had particular attachment,” reflects Lee. “For the most part, everything was new, but we were able to incorporate those most loved parts of her family history.”
Toward the end of the project, Sandy says she was calling Tara and Lee “the dream team.” For the designers, the experience was about much more than making a home beautiful.
“Tara and I do a lot of listening when we’re with our clients,” reveals Lee. “We want to know what they like and what they don’t like, but more importantly, how they live, how they entertain, what rooms they spend their time in, how much cooking they like to do, et cetera. This helps us to create not only spaces that are beautiful showplaces, but also spaces that fit the lifestyle of the client. We want their favorite place to be their newly designed homes.”