Simple Summer Pleasures

Designer Nancy Boughton transforms “that house” into a cherished family retreat.

By Stacey Marcus | Photos by Lori Steigerwald

Designer Nancy Boughton loved her home in Andover. The classic Colonial built in the 1940s was the heartbeat and nexus of family activity for her husband, Nat, and their daughters, Bailey and Wyllie. As their girls grew and life got more hectic, the Boughtons talked about acquiring a summer home where the family could escape, unplug and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Lightweight rattan chairs add a beachy feel and can be easily moved outside.


“My dream was to find a family getaway where we could beach, board, bike, golf, boat, play tennis and host friends and barbecues. The goal was to have a place to build memories and for future generations,” says Boughton. With features like a charming downtown, water access and views, and easy accessibility, Chatham was a natural choice for the family.

“Our patient Realtor from William Raveis Real Estate showed us house after house in beautiful Chatham. None of them spoke to us until we found the house best known in the neighborhood as ‘that house.’ It was the one that had been uninhabited for three years, except by a family of raccoons, the one with a Japanese strangling vine that took over the garden, the one that had brick and brown and green and yellow decor,” Boughton remembers.

Keeping with the seaside theme,
this bedroom, one of four, is bathed in
coastal hues and includes beach-inspired artwork.


The Boughtons commissioned architect Craig Gibson to draw up the master remodel and hired a framer, electrician, plumber and sheetrocker.  “Their need for more sleeping space outweighed their requirement for more storage, so we were able to transform the garage into a master suite with a sitting room and bath,” says Gibson. “The garage door, a large gaping hole that looked like a smile without teeth, was re-imagined and filled in with windows, trim and shingles. It was an easy and economical transformation that improved the curb appeal significantly,” says Gibson.

Boughton galvanized her family and made the second-home renovation a communal project with shared ownership. Each family member contributed to the remodel. “My daughters stripped wallpaper and painted ‘anything that didn’t move’ white. My husband, father and uncle framed and tiled the new master suite. My mom and sister painted furniture. The garden was designed by our talented niece and planted by everyone,” she recalls.


When it came to decorate the interior of her home, Boughton employed the same approach she uses with clients: “Choose one thing you love and build around it,” she says. Her inspiration in the master bedroom was the fabric of a decorative pillow with a vertical plane. Boughton used both the vertical plane and the color palette of the pillow to create a unified, coastal look. The beach vibe is carried throughout the home, with details like a painted compass in the bunkroom that lends a playful, graphic element that is nautical and affordable.

Durability was important for the beach home’s new decor. Boughton chose Sunbrella fabric for pillows and slipcovers, bleachable white fabrics for bedding and towels and washable faux leather (marine vinyl) for ottomans and bedroom headboards.

A playful, hand-painted chest perched by
the entryway welcomes family and friends to the coastal retreat.

Indoor/outdoor rugs from Dash & Albert combine style and color with durability, while rattan furniture, selected for its texture, light color and weight, complements the light oak floors in the living room. The white Corian countertops in the kitchen were also chosen for their light color and promise of longevity.

At the Chatham home, Boughton’s refuge for creativity, she constantly tinkers with the décor, adding inspired personal touches. Pops of blue and green and the use of natural materials impart a fresh and cheerful vibe. Other creative and budget-friendly details include a hand-painted, beach-inspired chest of drawers, whale-shaped coat rack created by her mother, hand-painted kitchen cabinets and a colorful backsplash. Filling her second home with local art is one of Boughton’s signature trademarks. “I love to support local artisans. It is always such a joy to find a piece that has been created locally that brings the perfect spirit to a space,” she says.

“Our summer home in Chatham has become the place where friends come to visit and play, and we never tire of showing off the lovely views of Lighthouse Beach or Chatham Bars Inn. It will never be the biggest house in the neighborhood,” says Boughton, “but it is filled with sunshine, laughter and love.”

Charming outdoor shutters add a touch of whimsy to the sitting room.

Pops of blue and green impart a fresh and cheerful vibe in a bedroom.

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