Ocean Hideaway

A classic back cottage on the New Hampshire coast is transformed into a darling guest retreat
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Designer Jennifer Myers of Weekender House reimagined the guest cottage with an eye toward shoreline simplicity. With an arresting framed print of a heron as its focal point, the living room, opposite page, brings in soft blues and natural fibers.

Tucked within the state’s roughly 18 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, the town of Rye is a picturesque hamlet perfect for summer living and entertaining. Kerry and Matt Glance relish the beauty and warm-weather pace here, and having space for visiting family and friends was exactly the reason they decided to renovate the cottage at the back of their Ocean Boulevard property.

“My clients remodeled their beach house on the water in Rye about five or six years ago, and left the little cottage that sits behind it untouched,” says designer Jennifer Myers of Weekender House, an interior design store in Portsmouth. “More recently, they decided to spruce up the cottage and use it as a guest house. Originally, the plan was just to paint and do some small modifications, but somewhere along the way it turned into a full remodel.”

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The comfy dining banquette doubles as a spot to read a book or gaze out at the ocean.

The two-bedroom, one-full-bath renovation was expertly handled by Cochran Custom Builders. Owner Tom Cochran and his team installed a completely new ducted mini-split heating and cooling system, and also helped to redesign the layout to meet the client’s new vision for the space. A very small, practically unusable bathroom was eliminated and the other, larger bathroom improved upon. The resulting 1,200-square-foot cottage comprises two reconfigured bedrooms, a full bath, a laundry room, living/dining space and a full kitchen, all on one level. “We also redid the basement, and it is now an incredible home gym,” explains Cochran.

Linda Cloutier, of Linda Cloutier Kitchens & Baths, with whom the Glances had worked before, was brought in to design the kitchen and the bathroom. “It’s a lovely cottage, like a little dollhouse,” says Cloutier. Smaller projects like these, she says, “can be just as challenging as the larger-scale ones.” Her goal was to achieve the best design in the minimal space available while adapting to certain limitations. For instance, the window placement couldn’t be changed, so she had to work around them. “There was only one standard-sized spot available for the refrigerator,” Cloutier elaborates, “but it all came out beautifully, and the homeowners were great to work with.”

For the kitchen, Cloutier and Kerry Glance together chose muted blue tile for the stove backsplash and white cabinetry and countertops. “Kerry is very nautical,” says Cloutier. “And the kitchen fits in perfectly with being on the seacoast.”

Similarly, Myers wanted to design the small space with an eye toward shoreline simplicity. “The homeowners wanted it to reflect the oceanfront location, with a coastal, casual feel,” says Myers. “So there are lots of soft blues and natural fibers.” Choosing from the substantial supply of beautiful interior products at Weekender House, Myers outfitted the cottage with comfy chairs, sofas and window seat cushions. An arresting framed print of a heron takes pride of place in the living room. “It was something Kerry saw and loved, so we made him a focal point in the space,” says Myers. “We just went big and bold. When you walk in the door, it’s the first thing you see. It lends itself to the location, and it definitely tells a story.”

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Designer Linda Cloutier created a lovely, fully functional kitchen in the minimal space available.

Another selection by the homeowners was adding the pair of striped easy chairs that sit alongside the modern, textured blue sofa in the fireplace living area. A popular item at Weekender House, the chairs became a jumping-off point for the aesthetic in the cottage. “Kerry adored those little swivel chairs with the stripes,” says Myers. “I had already put one in her front house, and I told her that as long as you understand that everyone on the Seacoast has one, we will bring them into the cottage as well.” Glance had no qualms about employing a favorite piece of New Hampshire seaside furniture. “In the end, it is clear that they really complement the space and work very well with the other furnishings,” notes Myers.

Despite its diminutive size, the cottage has an aura of spaciousness. “My clients wanted a place where a lot of people could hang out together, and even though it was limited square footage, having a big, open sitting area makes it feel larger,” says Myers. While Cloutier crafted a fully functional kitchen, there wasn’t room for a separate dining room. “We did a little window banquette in the main room and tucked the table in there for times when they want to sit down and eat or gather to play games,” says Myers. “It is a good-sized living space for a small house.”

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A serene space for sweet dreams, this bedroom is decorated in shades of blue, sand, and white.

The two charming bedrooms, each decorated in shades of blue, sand, and white, are positioned off the main living area, and the vanity in the full bath was chosen by Cloutier to complement the rest of the home. The cottage turned out so splendidly that the Glances are tempted to move into the newly finished guest oasis themselves. “They absolutely love it, “says Myers. Having worked with the Glances on the front home, Cloutier is amazed by the transformation. “When I was doing her main home, that cottage was more like a storage area. Honestly, the whole thing was a bit cluttered and outdated,” she says. “But now, after the renovation and new design, the cottage is just perfect.”


Cochran Custom Builders

Linda Cloutier Kitchens & Baths
(603) 964-2959

Weekender House
(603) 427-8658

Categories: Architecture and Interiors