HOME TOUR: Charlestown

After coveting a property for decades, a couple builds a home on Ninigret Pond with an eye on sustainability and spectacular views


When Patty Higgins’ parents bought a beach cottage in Charlestown in the ‘80s, little did they know they were sparking a lifelong love of the area in their then-teenage daughter. Today, with three grown kids of her own, recent retiree Patty and husband Bill live in a house they built just over a year ago on property she admired for quite some time, just a stone’s throw away from that original summer place. “I like to think of my parents, now deceased, as having a major influence on our living on this beautiful piece of land on the Ninigret,” she says.

The Higgins were already living a few lots away when they purchased their current property in 2019 from the previous owners who had lived there since the ‘80s and had known Patty’s parents. Mindful of FEMA’s flood elevation requirements, Patty and Bill decided to build fresh. “We worked with Lisa Carlisle, our architect, and Ken Nelson, our builder, to create a home that would care for the land, take advantage of south-facing views, and meet our desire to share this special location with family and friends,” she explains. 

With water surrounding the property, the Higgins take their responsibility in helping to protect Ninigret Pond seriously. The home – deemed “the lookout” by Carlisle – has been equipped with a state-of-the-art septic system, permeable outdoor surfaces, and an extensive rain garden that filters runoff from the house. “We have expanded the plant material on the property to create a habitat to attract butterflies and birds and to rejuvenate the over-50-year-old blueberry and shade trees,” notes Higgins.

The main floor was designed so the couple could live on a single level while also having ample space for entertaining, and features a floor plan that has access to the outside deck from several egress points. The upper floor has three more bedrooms; one of which has its own deck and is outfitted as either an office or bedroom, and another doubles as an art studio. Walls throughout the main living areas are a neutral soft gray, and furnishings and accents in a range of deep blues take their cue from the coastal location.

“My priority is always comfort and spaces that encourage gathering and relaxing with an uncluttered feel,” Higgins says. “The unobstructed view of nature right outside the windows and from the decks doesn’t need dressing up. We love having the space to welcome loved ones and to continue building memories that began when my parents first brought us to Ninigret Pond.”


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