“The first date Jeff ever asked me on was to go surfing with him at 5am and watch the sunrise,” says Brandelyn Romanek of her courtship. Jeff spent his childhood going on day trips from New York with his dad and grandfather to surf Narragansett at the Point Judith Lighthouse. As an adult he continued the tradition, heading to Rhode Island even on weekday mornings from the couple’s Connecticut home whenever there was a report of a swell. Says Brandelyn, “He’d get up at 3am to be at the Point Judith lighthouse by 5am, surf, and then immediately change in the parking lot and drive straight to work.”
The Romaneks had been tethered to NYC for their jobs, but when COVID hit it became clear very quickly that working remotely changed things. Brandelyn relays that with their very young children not yet in the school system, the pair figured it was an ideal time to finally move to Rhode Island. “The same way golfers dream of living on a golf course, this was Jeff’s dream to live on a wave!” In April 2020 they bought a house in Narragansett and took their “quaranteam” to the Ocean State. That first summer was spent settling in, decorating, exploring their new town, and “of course, surfing!”
The house is a single-level modern cape walking distance from the Point Judith Lighthouse. Brandelyn has outfitted the home in a surf-meets-boho chic style. “White everything with driftwood accents seemed like the perfect way to honor the house’s proximity to the sea,” she begins. “The simplicity of this style allows you to focus on what’s most important: the bright blue ocean right outside your window,” says Brandelyn, who notes that there are water views from every window.
“Everything about our decor has tried to honor our ideas around ‘living locally’,” says Brandelyn, pointing out wall art which includes a surfboard on the master bedroom wall from Warm Winds Surf Shop, black-and-white photos of nearby surf spots taken by local surfer Cate Brown, even paddles in the guest bedroom from West Marine. “We have glass jars of white sea rocks on the shelves that our kids collected from the beach and reeds in ceramic vases cut from the seagrasses behind the house,” she says. “We have a big telescope in the family room to admire the Point Judith Lighthouse or the Newport Bridge, depending on which way you point it. Being so close to the Point Judith Lighthouse is special for Jeff since he has shared so many memories with his grandfather there.”
A little more than a year after relocating, the Romaneks continue to be enamored with their life by the sea. “We love how low-key and family-oriented Narragansett is,” says Brandleyn, who originally hails from South Carolina. “It makes me smile to think about how all those years ago Jeff asked me to go surfing with him before we were even dating, and now here we are happily married with two children living in a surf town on a surf break.”
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