Fine Features

Strokes of color infuse high style in a single-level Saunderstown home


Norman Ramos loves being at the beach so much that two years ago, he decided it was time to move. The biggest item on his wish list was being within a 15-minute drive to the ocean. “Mine is the typical answer from anyone who grew up here,” he says, “the best part is always being close to anywhere you want to go.” Ramos figured a condo would be a good idea but after nearly a year of looking, still wasn’t finding the right place. On one of his searches he noticed a piece of land for sale in Saunderstown that was both 15 minutes from Newport and Narragansett. “It just seemed too perfect to pass up so instead of buying a condo, I built my dream house,” Ramos says with a smile.

Once the home was finished, Ramos enlisted the help of Michelle Lee Parenteau, a local and lauded interior designer and artist who specializes in both commercial and residential spaces. “I left the colors up to my decorator,” says Ramos. “The best decision I could’ve made.” While Ramos gave direction on certain rooms like the master suite – which he wanted to feel like a favorite vacation resort he’d visited – he completely left other rooms like the kitchen to Parenteau.

Known for her bold use of pigment, Parenteau offers, “I am fascinated by all the colors in nature and creating vibrant warm and inviting environments. I find myself spending a good amount of time at the beach deriving inspiration from the sand and shore.” The inside of the ranch style house indeed reflects the palette of the coastline. Everything from the stylish blue glass kitchen backsplash to weathered gray bathroom flooring contributes to the waterside feel of the home.

Furnishings from chairs to flooring are at once stunning and forgiving because after all, this is a home meant for casual living. Says Parenteau, “The location absolutely had an influence on decorating. Being not far from the water, I wanted it to have an open airy relaxed theme.” Standout features include the fireplace, done in small mosaic stones and with shiplap paneling above. “Those two combined design concepts with the driftwood mantel give the fireplace an ocean look and feel,” she explains.

Nearly two years in, Ramos is enjoying life at the beach in his custom digs. “It is so inviting, everyone that has visited feels so relaxed when they’re here,” he says. “I always have something to eat and drink and keep the place clean as living here means last-minute company is always a potential!”


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