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On Cape Ann, a summer home to retire to

For now, this cheery house serves as a family’s seasonal retreat, but it’s designed for year-round life, too.

WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT, residents Diane and Kevin Connolly and their two children have been retreating to Annisquam — a small village in Gloucester — during the summer for many years. Until recently, the house where they went to decompress was an “old, lightweight, single-story beach house,” says Tim Thurman of Rockport-based Treehouse Design Inc., the design/build firm the Connollys hired to create a lasting, durable home. Because the Connollys plan to retire to Cape Ann eventually, the house needed to be ready to withstand a wind-whipped North Shore winter, but it also had to be fun and casual enough for summering. So Thurman’s team collaborated with Watertown-based designer Sarah Wainwright to create interiors with a relaxed, beachy feel and to incorporate plenty of local materials.

1 > THE PROPERTY HAS “a narrow-view corridor to Ipswich Bay,” Thurman says, so he staggered the rooms in the 2,800-square-foot house and positioned large windows so that most of the rooms could take advantage of that view.

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2 > COLORFUL THROW PILLOWS, upholstered cushions and chairs, and painted furniture add plenty of levity and warmth to the living room’s predominantly neutral palette. 

3 > THE FIREPLACE is large yet unassuming, made from local fieldstone with a hearth of granite from Oak Hill Quarry in Maine. “The color of the granite from that particular quarry matches Cape Ann stone nicely,” says Thurman. “Cape Ann was known as a quarrying community, but no actual stone is being cut today, so we used granite from Maine.” 

4 > MAPLE FLOORS from Vermont Plank Flooring are country grade, which means more contrast between light and dark, according to Thurman.

5 > A CAESARSTONE QUARTZ COUNTERTOP that homeowner Diane found and loved in a vivid green shade known as “apple martini” had a big influence on the home’s colors, says Thurman. It’s so bright and cheerful that they needed to balance it judiciously with other hits of intense color around the house.

6 > THE FARROW & BALL “CITRON” PAINT on the kitchen cabinets is a strong but not overwhelming counterpoint to the hot green.

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