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Home design

A beach-side retreat that’s not too beachy

A gallery wall in the kitchen displays a variety of multi-era prints.Alison Caron

The owner of this home, a Manhattan resident, craved a calm, seaside retreat. She found what she was looking for at Heritage Sands, a new cottage community in Dennis Port. Homes are clustered around verdant greens, and crushed shell paths wind toward the 600-foot private beach.

“It’s like a little village,” says interior designer Marc Hampton. “Very serene. The sea breeze rustles all around — it’s lovely.”

Hampton, who runs the New York firm Hampton Ford Design with Ford Skoglund, was charged with creating an aesthetic that didn’t exude the typical beach house vibe. “The homeowner wanted something a little more special than anchors and sailors hats,” says Hampton.


A light color scheme centers on grays, blues, and whites, and furnishings reflect a mix of casual and luxury. Custom touches abound. Beadboard wainscoting was installed throughout the main living spaces, and the stairs to the second level are painted blue with a ticking stripe that was made to resemble the look of a beach towel, says Hampton.

In the living room, a mix of prints and textures gives the eye much to enjoy. An ample chaise from Restoration Hardware is paired with a custom chair upholstered in a Kravet houndstooth fabric; a leather ottoman is also custom.

In other areas there are DIY touches, including mirrors above the nightstands in the guest room. Homegoods finds, Hampton painted the mirrors and added nailhead trim to give them a look that recalls ship portholes. The headboard, nestled under the angle of the roof, is upholstered in a green and blue Kravet fabric. Blue velvet throw pillows are West Elm.

Brass and gold finishes are used throughout the house. A gallery wall in the kitchen holds a fascinating array of prints from various eras.

“While the décor is a little unexpected for a beach house, it doesn’t feel too precious,” says Hampton.


There’s a casual feel to the furnishings that might feel different in a city apartment, he adds.

“No matter where you are in the cottage, you can see or hear the ocean, so you always know you’re at the beach.”

A mix of prints and textures enhance the look of the living room.Alison Caron
Mirrors above the end tables in the guest bedroom are tweaked to look like ship portholes. Alison Caron

Jaci Conry can be reached at