In the heart of the picturesque Birdneck Point neighborhood, the Watkins family has carved out their own piece of paradise. Meet Carrie, Jeff, Blake, and Crew, a tight-knit family who adore each other's company and have successfully branded their fully renovated rancher as a hub of endless good times.
A Cherished Neighborhood Connection
"We were not looking to move at all. We loved our old neighborhood and neighbors in Bay Colony, but one day we were coming to visit my parents and saw this." The Watkins' home is just a stone's throw from Carrie's childhood home. It's a serendipitous proximity to the kids' grandparents that wasn't part of the plan but has turned out to be a blessing. Family gatherings are a breeze, and the sense of generational connection is palpable.
Minimalistic Elegance And Achieving A Certain Flow (Despite All Odds)
The moment you step inside, you're greeted by an open, sleek, and minimalistic design. The house boasts modern archways for every doorway, creating a seamless flow from room to room. Massive windows usher in copious natural light, bathing the interiors in a warm and inviting glow. "We took an older house and gutted it to the studs, so we had the opportunity to add many features we love." For Jeff, one of the key features of their renovation was the ability to engage in conversation from room to room so that nothing felt closed off and no one felt separated. The result? A massive back patio that feels like an extension of the living space, complete with a convenient serving window from the kitchen for easy food and drink sharing during parties. Carrie's design philosophy was clear: every space should be usable and liveable, with nothing collecting dust. The house embraces a minimalist palette with white walls, exquisite wood floors, tulip wood cabinetry, and a stunning oversized island beneath lofty ceilings. The simplicity of design is reminiscent of a chic minimalist aesthetic. It's as if you've walked into a space curated by a design guru. Ahem, Michelle Fox of Golden Egg Design.
When they acquired the home three years ago at an auction, it was a fixer-upper in every sense, with falling ceilings and water damage. The traditional layout with closed-off rooms was a far cry from what they envisioned. But, just as they've done with previous homes, Jeff and Carrie undertook the monumental task of reimagining the space. "We learned what is involved in evicting squatters, managing life as a busy family of four and a design/build with a less than stellar contractor. But my true hero was the help I received from my friend and fabulous designer Michelle Fox! It was hard and I don't want to do it again. But it was worth it, and this house is now our HOME - it's exactly what we've always wanted."
A Statement of Art for the Best-Ever Blank Canvas
In the heart of their home, next to the breakfast table, you'll find one of the more modern-looking Roxy Hall originals. "I wanted the piece to harmoniously tie together the large space with warm neutral tones, making a statement without overshadowing the home's natural elegance. The piece is simple from afar, but as you get closer there's a lot of nuance in each of the main color sections. While I was painting, images of a patchwork quilt kept appearing in my mind - and also an overhead view of two patches of land. Once I got to know Carrie and the family better, I realized either concept is very fitting."
Now, To Tell the Kids...
Carrie and Jeff bought the house while the kids were away one summer at camp. "When they came back and we broke the news to them, they were not happy" Carrie laughed. "The place was falling apart so they looked at us like we were crazy to have them leave their friends for this." But as the renovation slowly came along, the kids started to see the vision and got on board.
Blake's room has hints of her passion for horseback riding all throughout. She adores her creamy neutral-toned cowhide rug, a rare colorway, which she stumbled upon from a vendor at a Montana gas station. I came to realize that Blake is a lover of animals of all kinds. She loves to spend her time at home playing fetch with the dog and watching their cat "Goose" explore the backyard. Notably, on her bedroom shelf, there's a cheeky custom piece by local artist Sam Clayman that showcases the family dog and their previous pet lizard, both riding a horse. Blake's plan is to have the cat added next.
Crew, whose room is located on the opposite side of the same hallway, is overflowing with personality. He's a water enthusiast, and his room reflects it. His walls proudly don a cherished photo of his dad surfing in Indonesia and a painting of fish framed in wood salvaged from a lobster pot, which he was eager to showcase. He played the role of the ultimate video director's wingman during the home tour, contributing ideas for new scenes and assisting with B-roll footage including activities like climbing trees and fishing off the family dock.
The Watkins renovation is a testament to their vision, creativity, and, above all, their goal of creating a space aimed at togetherness. Now that we have Nora, Dave and I are starting to get our first taste at adding another schedule to the mix. What I really love about The Watkins home is that all four of their schedules can coexist- and even though they're all on separate timelines, the openness of the space allows them to do it all side by side.
all photography by Mal Terranova @dust.and.light.photo
ps- if you haven't yet, check out some of the other home tours! Les and Tyler's Mid Century Modern Marvel and A Colorful Worldly Bohemian Home with Vanessa Bertini.