louise girling designed the dining table (facing page, top) and then
surrounded it with classic Tolix metal chairs. The sitting room (facing
page, bottom) is appointed with a saddle leather chair by Garza Marfa
and accented by antique Indian exercise clubs on the mantel. The
19th-century farmhouse with its 18th-century barn (above) sits high
above Friendship Harbor. Wide pine-board floors add warmth to a
bedroom (top), which, like the rest of the house, is lightly furnished
with an eclectic mix of antique and contemporary objects.
It’s not a summer colony for the
yacht-club crowd but a working
port where every other house
has boats, buoys, and stacks of
lobster traps in the yard. The
dominant aesthetic is whitewash and weathered, and fishing boats outnumber sailboats
in the harbor.
Daphne Howard’s family
has been summering in Friendship for four generations, ever since her great aunt and uncle co-founded Camp Friendship, the venerable children’s camp that still
operates on Crotch Island just off the eastern shore. The summer
community here is a modest settlement of longtime seasonal residents whose idea of a big soiree is the Saturday night cookout that
draws every canoe, kayak, powerboat, and sailboat in town over to
A former QVC buyer who now co-owns a television marketing
company, Daphne lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband,
Rob, an insurance executive. But this hardscrabble fishing village is
where they wanted to create their home away from home.
“My goal,” says Daphne, “was to own my own house in Friend-
ship. I looked for 10 years and couldn’t find anything. Then we found
this place. It was in terrible shape, but I just had to have it.”
Perched on a hill on Bradford Point, “this place” is a 19th-century
farmhouse with an 18th-century barn attended by an ancient horse
chestnut tree, great stone slabs, and broad lawns that sweep down to
the harbor. When the couple purchased the farm in November 2013, it
was dark, dingy, and uninviting, but Daphne knew her childhood friend
Louise Girling — who had helped renovate the Howards’ home in Penn-
sylvania — would know how to brighten up the place.
“Louise knows me so well,” says Daphne. “She knew we wanted
open space. Friendship is all about entertaining family. We go up in the
winter as well as the summer, so we wanted something open but cozy.”
Girling, whose firm, lbgdesign, is based in San Diego and Marfa,
Texas, describes the interior renovation as “Swedish modern farmhouse.” To create ample open space and invite in lots of natural light,
the designer, whose firm works in architecture, landscape, and interiors, removed various inside walls. Minimal furnishings, textured textiles, sheepskins, white walls, colorful artwork, and white painted-wood floors add a casual barefoot aesthetic.
The kitchen and living area are located in the long ell between
the barn and the house proper. Just one room wide, the space receives
natural light from banks of windows on both sides. In the kitchen, the
focus is not so much the island and food-prep area as it is the broad
daybed nook that allows family and friends to lounge, out of the way,
while meals are being prepared.
The white oak island was custom made by local cabinetmaker Jeff
Walsh, but the cabinets are off-the-rack IKEA boxes with doors from
Semihandmade, a design company specializing in aftermarket doors
for IKEA case goods. “A lot of my colleagues’ clients spend hundreds of
thousands of dollars on kitchens,” says Girling, “but I’m a huge IKEA
fan. The cabinets are really well made.”
The first floor progresses from the 1740 barn through the ell, where
there is also a pantry and laundry room, then into the 1860 main house.
Here, the dining room, sitting room, and office wrap around the center
staircase. The dining table, designed by Girling and built by Walsh,
IS THE REAL