Redesigning a vacation home for family gatherings and the retirement years
A designer daughter brightens her parents Marion summer home, where they plan to retire.
When interior designer Emily Condon’s parents, Leslie and Harrison Condon, asked her to work on the family’s summer home in Marion, her goal was to make their lives easier. “It was important that everything function well, since they will likely retire here,” Emily Condon says. “I also wanted the decor to stand the test of time.”
She sketched ideas for enlarging the modest Cape, which her parents bought about 25 years ago, and they hired New Bedford-based architect Anna Surma to hone and draw the exterior plans. Additions included a first-floor master bedroom suite and study, an eat-in kitchen, a three-season porch, and additional bedrooms and baths on the second floor. “It’s more than they envisioned, but it works really well,” says Condon, who concentrated on the interior layout, finishes, and decor.
Leslie Condon, a former decorative painter, loves color. Before the redo, the walls were painted highly saturated hues meant to balance out the heavy wood wainscoting. Aiming for an airier feel, her daughter advised a less intense approach. “She suggested we do a neutral base, bringing in color through accents,” Leslie says.
Emily deployed the bright colors and patterns her mother loves throughout the house, taking care to reflect her parents’ personalities without overwhelming the spaces. In the mudroom, beadboard lends a cottage feel, while blue paint picks up color from the bench cushion. The scallop-patterned fabric, like most of the textiles, came from Griswold Textile Print, a mill in Westerly, Rhode Island, where Emily bought designer-fabric remnants at a deep discount.
The kitchen, which now encompasses a dining nook nestled into a bay window, is the family’s favorite gathering place. “My parents’ kitchen in Wellesley is very closed,” Emily says. “We wanted the family to hang out and cook together here.”
Zippy coral armchairs from Ballard Designs add a burst of color. White cabinets are topped with honed Barroca soapstone chosen by Harrison Condon, and the tile backsplash is reminiscent of sea glass. A beachscape passed down from Harrison’s parents hangs over the new gas fireplace, which has a live-edge wood mantelpiece. “We’re used to wood-burning fireplaces, but we love flipping this on at dinnertime,” says Leslie.
In the adjacent living room, a pair of marble-topped side tables painted dark teal set the tone. The Stark antelope rug, a secondhand deal bought from another designer, followed. Amid florals and stripes, a stylized block-print pattern in punchy orange enlivens the pillows. A curule stool refinished in robin’s-egg blue was a castoff from a client who was downsizing, and rattan tables add texture and a hint of the beach.
Beyond Harrison’s study, which features deep-blue built-ins, is the new master suite, where the jumping-off point for the design was a vibrant tropical print fabric chosen by Leslie. Pale pink walls counterbalance it, and a pair of coral-colored mirrors in the bath echo an accent color on the curtains.
Emily carried the greens and blues upstairs, complementing the existing green bed in the former master bedroom with a turquoise toile roman shade and an armchair covered in a linear geometric print. In Emily’s bedroom (“it has the biggest closets”), the turquoise-and-navy palette was inspired by mini seascapes she picked up in Provincetown.
The family settled in last summer. This year is sure to bring adjustments and plenty of guests — Emily will be married at a nearby club this fall. “We’re so glad the house is done for that,” Leslie says. “Emily loves what she does, and it shows.”