Inside The Most Charming East Coast Homes From Our Pages
The East Coast is known for its wealth of natural beauty, from stunning shorelines and rugged coasts, to sweeping views of the mountains and quaint harbor villages. Taking cues from the breathtaking landscape, East Coast style is equally as charming. Browse through these East Coast homes from the H&H archives that perfectly balance serene palettes, natural materials and personal touches that evoke a sense of coziness and relaxation.
Food writer and blogger Lindsay Cameron Wilson in her historic home’s kitchen. “Our home dates back to the early 1850s. It survived the Halifax Explosion of 1917 and housed many families and tenants after the Second World War — I didn’t want to be the one to ruin it.” The kitchen was in a tiny room tacked on to the back of the house and Lindsay’s husband James kept walking through the big dining room that was often empty, wondering out loud why they didn’t just move the kitchen into this room.
Lindsay wanted to create an “invisible kitchen” so she panelled the fridge and dishwasher in the same color and used a muted Caesarstone countertop in Frosty Carrina for the backsplash behind the sink. She kept the fireplace as a focal point. “I often feel that we’re just stewards of this home, taking care of it until the next family comes along.”
The painting over the kitchen’s original mantel is by Toronto artist Andrew Rucklidge, and it informs their color and furniture choices for Lindsay’s kitchen.
Homeowner and architectural designer Nicholas Lewin never thought he’d end up in the coastal town of Black Harbour in Chester, Nova Scotia. Originally from Montreal, he “thought this was the last place we would want to live,” he says of his family’s deep grey abode. Now, he can’t imagine living anywhere else. “As a family, we’ve become much closer here.”
Drawing on the comfort and ease associated with seaside living, Nicholas opted for beamed, 18-inch ceilings that impart an airy feel to the kitchen.
A wooden dining table adds warmth against polished concrete floors in the dining room, while ample windows and doors can be opened up to let the ocean breeze in.
Floor-to-ceiling shelves provide storage space for the family’s impressive book collection in this guest bedroom. The colorful spines pop against the room’s white envelope.
A striped blue rug punches up the principal bathroom’s clean white and wood aesthetic. An ornate baroque mirror is an unexpected choice.
When designing his East Coast home, Nicholas opted for clean, pared-back lines indoors and continued the feeling outside. A rectangular pool contrasts the wild and organic tumble of the garden plantings.
At her quaint home in Taymouth, New Brunswick, Maritimer Kelly Anderson (pictured) grows herbs and perennials in a greenhouse built from lumber and windows salvaged from demolished buildings. As the designer and owner of Refreshed Designs, Kelly coaches clients on how to live beautifully while reducing their eco-footprint.
With shades of blue, a reclaimed-wood bench and touches of greenery, the porch is a beautiful bridge to the outdoors. Maritimers rely on screened porches from May through July to keep out black flies and mosquitoes.
All-natural materials like jute, wood, linen and cotton abound in the living room. Kelly used leftover paint to create the graphic artwork above the sofa.
Kelly claimed the light-filled former principal bedroom as her studio. She created the shiplap doors from scrap lumber — with help from her brother and father — enclosing a formerly open closet.
Natural light pours through the skylight into the functional galley kitchen. Open storage and white walls keep the look bright and airy.
Multigenerational family gatherings are an easy fit around the oversized dining table that Kelly’s brother Luke made from reclaimed bowling-alley flooring.
This Maritime log cabin outside of Saint John, New Brunswick, has been in designer Fenwick Bonnell’s family since the 1950s. It was carefully renovated to maintain the charm that has made this spot a treasured family hub. Fenwick made concept drawings for the cottage’s new addition, which was designed by architecture firm Fellows & Company. The updated exterior is shingled in white cedar shakes and black corrugated steel to blend into the landscape.
The great room’s 15-foot-high, trussed-wood ceiling has always been a grand feature of the cottage. Fenwick had the leather ottoman custom made with legs from his old cottage bed. Even in the summertime, temperatures on the coast can be quite cool. Here, Fenwick’s brother-in-law, Wayne Burley, stokes the fire.
The simple white bedroom in the new addition was designed with ceiling-height built-ins that maximize storage. The blanket chest at the foot of the bed was moved from the original part of the cottage, while sunny yellow accents brighten the space.
A traditional ladder-back rocking chair and two watercolor paintings by Fenwick’s mother create a classic cottage vignette. He found the damaged chair in the trash in Toronto and sent it to his sister, Suzanne, who fixed up the frame and re-wove the paper rush seat herself.
Black-oiled, rough-sawn oak flooring keeps the new streamlined kitchen from feeling too contemporary. Open to a sitting area, the room features a stained-oak island and white lacquered cabinets.
Fenwick’s parents brought the mahoe wood coffee table in the great room back with them after a trip to Jamaica. Many of the furniture pieces and accessories preserve the cottage’s history.
Architectural details visually link rooms. For instance, the white V-groove panelling and frieze band on the sun porch repeats in the dining area. The rattan sofa and chair were reupholstered and paired with wire chairs for a modern twist. Fenwick’s late mother, Lois Ramsay (pictured), bought the coffee table on a trip to Vancouver in the ’60s and Suzanne restored the top.
The cottage’s original log cabin frame opens into a quaint dining area. A contractor replaced the windows and redid the exterior walls with painted V-groove panelling, while Fenwick added floor-length linen drapery to dress up the space.
One of the three small bedrooms holds twin beds. Fenwick designed the headboards and the night table and refreshed the other two bedrooms with identical furnishings.
Gardiner Museum CEO Kelvin Browne refurbished this quaint 1780s saltbox in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The two-bedroom home was in rough shape, but it was set on a magnificent, if untended, 1¼-acre property overlooking a pond and with access to the Pamet River. It also came with a stable-turned-cottage with two bedrooms and a kitchen-living room area that would be perfect for guests or to rent out in the future.
Modern icons — like lights by Isamu Noguchi and George Nelson and a glass and metal coffee table by Warren Platner — offer a striking contrast to the rustic wooden structure in the living room. An antique carpet found in Marrakesh injects more warm color.
Kelvin upholstered the guesthouse’s sofa and chairs in summery and washable white Sunbrella to contrast the dark, rough wood walls. The painting on the mantel depicts the nearby dunes in Provincetown and dates back to the ’50s, while the herons are pieces Kelvin has had for decades.
The Danish teak dining set and sideboard feel like a natural fit with the exposed hardwood beams. The sideboard houses three contemporary metal pieces from India and a ceramic lamp bought in the nearby town of Wellfleet.
The high ceiling in the completely rebuilt kitchen is a welcome change from the coziness of the lower ceilings in the rest of the main floor. Stainless steel countertops and a slate floor infuse a contemporary spirit that works well with the simple, traditional cabinetry and classic double kitchen pantry — the left side for food and the fridge, the right for dishes and the bar.
The guest house kitchen was pushed from the middle of the main room to one side. The cabinets were reused from the main house and ooze cottage charm.
A peaked ceiling makes the principal bedroom feel larger and introduces subtle texture against plush linens. Blue-painted hardwood floors are original to the home and give it a relaxed, vacation-villa vibe.
Designer Sarah Richardson and her team brought coastal charm to this Prince Edward Island beach house, perched at the edge of a cliff on the Northumberland Strait.
A steel roof and hurricane-strength windows can withstand Atlantic weather. The decks and cedar shakes were specially treated to prevent blackening.
Sarah used a classic, coastal-inspired palette in the living room. “The home is so beautiful and commanding that the rooms needed a sense of simplicity,” she explains.
A blue beadboard backsplash brings an element of the landscape indoors. The smoky shade lets the homeowner’s collection of Eva Zeisel ceramics pop.
A pale blue palette and the fresh sea air makes this P.E.I. bedroom conducive to a tranquil sleep. Dark wood twin headboards, bought at auction for $60, feel light and airy with a coat of white paint.
Unadorned glass windows let natural light stream into the dining room. Minimal decor prioritizes the view.
Bunkbeds are a practical choice in a vacation home or whenever space is tight. Sarah accented this children’s bedroom with plush blue pillows and blankets that suggest a seaside theme without going overboard.
Sarah punctuated ceramic shower tile with striped limestone bands for a budget-friendly, modern touch.
A nook at the top of the stairs is a favorite spot for kids to read or play. The Tom Dixon light fixture is a crisp, modern choice.
Despite being a new-build, designer Philip Mitchell’s Nova Scotia coach house was designed to capture the beauty of the past. Divided windows, an Enviroshake roof reminiscent of authentic cedar and trim details are true to the period of the main cottage, which was built in 1795. Pretty hydrangea bushes keep the coach house totally private.
With views of the Atlantic ocean visible from guesthouse bedroom, it’s no surprise Philip felt inspired to use a coastal palette. “It’s fairly neutral, but we’ve thrown in some turquoise and blue accents, which pick up on the fact that the guesthouse is on the ocean,” he explains.
A gallery wall filled with maps of the East Coast nod to the home’s location and pick up on the sitting area’s blue, white and brown decor.
In the stairwell, a rope handrail pays homage to the sea. Paintings of sailboats play up the nautical vibe.
Philip maxes out space with clever storage solutions. Along one wall of this narrow hallway, he installed a bar with fully stocked cabinets, a mini fridge and sink.
In the bathroom, Philip modelled the floor after a 1940s lavatory, using practical black grout to give the space a vintage vibe. The tub deck is antique Labrador brown granite.
Striking black shutters are what give distinction to designer Deb Nelson’s Nova Scotia home in Black Harbour. The Woodbox — the home’s moniker — is inscribed over the font door. She spent years waiting to buy this three-storey Georgian Revival beauty.
Deb says a high hedge gives her coastal home privacy. At the same time, “it’s got that secret garden feel, even though it’s right in the middle of town,” she says. Two slipcovered armchairs at one end of the kitchen are a favorite place to chat with guests.
To maintain the home’s history, Deb purchased several antique pieces, such as the ladder-back chair in the entrance hall, which was from the former owners. A rich antique rug anchors the airy front hall.
A richly-hued rug grounds the welcoming white kitchen, while a black door punctuates the space. Brass hardware introduces a warm element.
Plenty of windows keep the dining room bright throughout the day. A combination of benched seating and Wishbone-style chairs prevent the space from feeling too formal.
On the top floor of the home, French windows open up to a breathtaking view of Chester Harbour. Deb whitewashed the space for a laid-back, breezy feel. “There’s so much blue reflected from the water, especially in the summer, that the room could only be warm white,” she explains.
A mod task light updates a grouping of antiques in one of the guest bedrooms.
Natural linens soften the principal bathroom. A kilim rug gives the space a decorated feel.
Deb turned a nook next to the den into a mini library with custom-made bookshelves that fill the wall above an original cupboard. She added accessories that reinforce the home’s subtle nautical vibe.
This quaint fixer-upper cottage is a former home of designer Deb Nelson, also located in the charming village of Chester, Nova Scotia. “I grew up in the Maritimes. The town is really me.”
A sisal rug warms up the black-and-white entryway, while a bouquet of flowers adds a cheery pop of color. A tall window keeps the space well-lit.
A round pedestal table fills an unused corner in Deb’s living room. When paired with vintage chairs and a modern Tizio lamp, it makes for the perfect place to enjoy a game of Crokinole.
Blanched floors and bed frames — painted in a crisp white shade — temper this guest bedroom’s rustic canopy. A wooden chest in between the beds makes for a simple but functional storage unit.