the second-floor hallway (above) has custom railings and
wooden orb pendant lights strung from the ceiling with black
cords. The first-floor living area (top left) features a U-shaped
sofa, upholstered in raw linen, that faces the fireplace and TV.
The walls are plaster, hand-troweled to a smooth finish. The
interior stairway (top right) acts as a screen in front of the
windows to obstruct views into the house.
a new four-bedroom structure, with the proviso that “we converted the
red house into an accessory residential structure,” says Kildea, which
essentially meant its kitchen had to go.
O’Leary also contacted interior designer Jill O’Shea of Jill O’Shea
Home Design in Westport, Connecticut, who had helped her refresh her
apartment in New York City. “I told her I was talking to a builder [on
Block Island], and she had a whole vision in her head,” says O’Leary.
“She has a head full of brilliant ideas.” Designer O’Shea suggested
a structure that looked like a barn, so it wouldn’t compete with the
existing gingerbread-style home. Clad in Alaskan yellow cedar, the
3,200-square-foot house, begun in fall 2015 and finished in spring 2017,
features a screened porch, a large deck, four bedrooms, and a walkout
lower level. O’Leary credits O’Shea with drawing the plans, furnishing the interior, and taking care of details, including specifying plants
for the landscape.
“This is really for my children and my grandchildren,” says
O’Leary, who consulted with family members on the design. “One of
them said, ‘Please, let’s have a screened porch.’ Another said a fire-
place, then an outdoor shower. The deck was another thing. Everyone
wanted a deck.”
“From looking at the outside, you wouldn’t guess what’s going on
inside,” says O’Shea. “The exterior character has the functional sim-