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The Salisbury beach house couldn’t have a better location: It rises above an undulating sand dune at the head of the beach and gazes at the endless ocean beyond.

The structure itself was another story. While the site is glorious, the turn-of-the-20th-century frame house was sinking when the current owners bought it three or four years ago. Originally built as the summer home of John Tener, the president of the National Baseball League and the governor of Pennsylvania, years of heavy use and a damp seaside location had rendered it structurally unsound. Also, it had been built for an earlier sensibility, when views and access to the outside were not considered essential in a vacation house.

The owners shored up the structure with steel beams and reconfigured the interior to turn surrounding verandas into rooms. Now, living areas that were shaded by deep, one-story porches are filled with light and water views, and the first story has gained close to 50 percent more square footage. In keeping with today’s preference for open floor plans, the kitchen, dining room, living room, and sitting and game areas open to each other in a circular layout that flows around the central fireplace.

The space was carefully designed for maximum function and beauty by a team that included South Hamilton kitchen designer Andrea Avery, interior designer Lori Scholz of Marblehead, and lighting designer Patty Svirsky of Lucia Lighting & Design, located in Lynn. Together, they created an interior that suits the specific needs of the homeowners.

“They wanted multiple cooks in the kitchen,” Avery says about the expansive new kitchen located directly inside the front entry. Showing off its former incarnation as a covered porch, part of the kitchen has a slanted ceiling, now lined with white wide boards. The kitchen cabinets, too, are white.

“We kept the colors very soft so as not to compete with the view,” says the kitchen designer, pointing to a white and sand-colored Carrara marble backsplash and a neutral-toned polished granite counter stone called “Fantasy Brown.” Walls and upholstery colors, too, take their cues from the outdoors; walls wear gentle tones of sand, blue, and white, and while the furnishings echo those hues, albeit with stronger patterns.

“As part of our goal to keep the interior low maintenance, we did not use any rugs,” says Scholz. Instead, the oak floorboards have a pickled finish, texture, and color eminently suited the beachfront location. Scholz especially enjoyed framing and hanging the art, which includes 26 pieces of evocative photography by Salisbury artist Heather Fritz.

A former side porch, now enclosed, is home to a vintage 21-and-a-half-foot long shuffleboard game. In the living room, comfortable seating furniture clusters before the fireplace; other seating areas make for TV watching or informal dining. Most of the activity, however, takes place beyond the windowed wall looking out to sea. French doors lead to a porch and to storage for towels, beach chairs, and water toys. As delightfully easy as the interior is, the main event is outside.

Andrea Avery


Your Decor by Lori Scholz


Lucia Lighting & Design