the staircase to the the master bedroom and tower (left)
features stylized Arts and Crafts balusters. Sliding the rough
lumber barn door shut creates a hall, while an outdoor snack
and drink counter (below) is created by simply sliding back the
kitchen’s folding windows. Brackets add a whimsical vacation-cottage touch.
and travels the world constantly, and his family.
The house, built on four levels, emphasizes easy living. The main floor has a single, open living/dining/kitchen
space, with views on three sides. There is also a small guest
suite with its own entrance, porch, and outdoor patio. The
lower level has three guest rooms and baths. The master
suite is on the upper level, while the platform level is the
culmination: the tower.
The couple’s three grown sons can bring friends to
a separate building designed to look like a barn. Inside,
stained unvarnished lumber gives the space the feel of a
rustic camp. Three generations come and go here now, and
there will be a fourth generation soon, all regarding Block
Island as their special place.
The barn theme carries into the downstairs guest
quarters, where the walls in each room are finished with
wooden boards in vertical, horizontal, or diagonal configurations. Recycled denim was used inside the walls as innovative insulation and for sound deadening. In the spirit of
summer simplicity, space saving, and a clean look, there
are no closets in the guest rooms, so wire baskets are used
for storing towels and the guests’ belongings.
The ground floor is concrete, with radiant heat to
ward off the damp. In a gesture typical of the couple’s
free-spirited aesthetic, they wanted the floors to look
like an aerial view of the ocean. They added Miracle-Gro
plant food and dyes to get the colors they wanted, and then
before the concrete set, created swirling patterns by walking across the floors with golf aerator shoes.
Such design élan is typical of the wife, who handled
the interior design. “Jeremiah understood my vision,” she
says. “He respected that, and we worked well together.”
As the house progressed, “I saw it in my mind, and I would
set out to find the right materials, the right furnishings.”
Among them are three vintage copper downspouts, used as
wall decorations in the living room, found at the Brimfield
Antique and Collectibles Show. Flea markets and barn
sales provided the funky metal baskets and used office furniture that evoke a vacation atmosphere. In the concrete
countertop, she embedded a map of Block Island and then
inserted a tiny green Monopoly house, a playful gesture to
mark their place on the island.
But decoration is trumped by the view. The main living area looks out to and becomes part of the landscape.