is surrounded by bright green Tolix metal chairs that add color to the
otherwise subdued interior. The office, furnished with a pair of daybeds, doubles as a guest room.
The second-floor ell features a long hallway hung with lobster
buoys, as well as bedrooms and baths for the Howards’ three grown
children. The master bedroom is beneath the eaves of the main house.
The only post-renovation complaint Daphne has is that the ele-
gant little Renzo Piano-designed cooktop by SMEG is too small to
accommodate big pots of steamed lobsters, clams, and corn on the cob.
“We love to cook and have a pretty big family,” she says. “We have to
cook the lobsters outside, and the pots all double up on each other.”
Nevertheless, summer days and holidays in Friendship are happy
experiences, and the Howards and their designer are now contem-
plating the next project. “Phase II will be the barn renovation,”
says Girling. “It will be a flexible space with a working
kitchen, sleeping loft, and a big pull-down screen in the
“The barn — yes, Louise and I are in agreement on
what that will look like,” says Daphne. “Perhaps even a
wedding in the barn!” For sure, there will be lots of family and friends
on the guest list.
One of the most felicitous elements of Louise Girling’s
redesign of Daphne and Rob Howard’s vacation farmhouse is
a generous, sunlit lounging nook in the kitchen with a
commanding view of Friendship Harbor. Logic might dictate
that the little bump-out overlooking the side porch would be
the ideal place for a kitchen table, which is what was there
before, but Girling had a better idea.
“I know Daphne intimately,” she says. “I know how she
lives and how she entertains, so it was easy to think about
how she would use the house.”
In an informal era when living and dining rooms are
disappearing, Girling replaced the sliding doors of the kitchen
nook with casement windows and turned the entire space into
an oversize daybed with mattresses, pillows and throws, and
storage beneath. The nook thus took on a life of its own.
When company gravitates to the kitchen, folks inevitably
lounge here to converse while Daphne cooks. In quieter
moments, the Howards curl up here to read or catnap.
“To me,” says Daphne, “it’s best part of the whole house.”
design decision The Nook