URI Sweethearts Turn a Westerly House into Their Dream Home

The couple drew design inspiration from the ocean nearby

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It’s that old Rhody Ram love story of Westerly boy meets Connecticut girl at URI, they marry, and keep driving by this house in his hometown for two years… “At the time it didn’t speak to us so it was simply a drive-by,” says Tony Degiacomo. Wife Aerilee chimes in, “We had even purchased a piece of land to build on but decided to take one last look at the house.” But this time the couple walked the property and fell instantly in love with the location.

While the area was the main draw, the house itself was essentially an exterior shell with framing on the inside. “It was an open canvas. We were excited about the challenge of completing the project,” says Tony of the over 4,000-square-foot structure. “The whole house was basically a DIY project and we attempted to use as many local vendors as possible. Whether it was sourcing materials or talented skilled contractors, we never ventured outside of our local community and family members.”

In addition to structural work, the Degiacomos completed all kinds of smaller projects, which contribute not only personality but sense of place throughout the home. “Our sunroom coffee table is literally a log that got washed up to shore in Watch Hill,” explains Tony. “I was doing a landscaping project and there it was just sitting in the sand, standing up, just like it is today in our sunroom.”

Tony and Aerilee describe their style as “luxury beach house” and explain that the ocean is a big part of their lives. “Our two young daughters spend their summers on the sand almost daily,” says Aerilee. “We took some of the color palettes and design choices of a typical beach cottage and made it into a full-time home.” For main rooms, neutral and light colors were selected for a timeless, calming feel, while the couple got more adventurous with secondary spaces like the sunroom and powder room. “We wanted unexpected pops of color and pattern.”

With the hard work behind them, what’s the best part? Tony’s eyes light up as he says, “Seeing our family enjoy all the spaces we’ve created. We have some great sitting areas where you can just look out at all the views… golf course, nature, distant water, rolling hills in the lawn.”

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