Picture this: you walk into a neighbor’s house, expecting to be greeted by the coastal charm a Rhode Island home is known for. But instead, as you open drawers and scour the pantry unannounced in a desperate search for coffee syrup, you’re met with an unfamiliar feeling—a slippery generic round knob. Nothing to grasp, no anchor-shaped drawer pull to greet your hand. Just an off-the-shelf signal that there is no love here.
German-born architect Mies van der Rohe famously said, “God dwells in the details.” He may not have been a Rhode Islander, but that sounds like a man who’d put celery salt on his wiener. In this haven of oceanic beauty we call our home, it is unfathomable that some fail to reflect the beauty surrounding us in every detail that make an abode shine.
It reminds me of the living nightmare that was last summer. I rented an Airbnb for my family’s summer vacation in Jamestown. I was the first to arrive, and as I stepped into the bathroom for the first time, I made an awful discovery. There was not a single seashell-shaped soap dish in the place. I couldn’t even find a ship in a bottle. Here we are in this northeastern seaside paradise, and we’re essentially staying in some barren hostel. Needless to say, I canceled the vacation and demanded a refund.
Rhode Islanders understand that good design is more than a beautifully renovated kitchen you can find on any HGTV remodel. Good design is the authentic detail you decorate your life with. It can be as simple as a well-placed Monroe Dairy box on a classic New England front porch. It can be picking a timeless serene blue and sandy neutral for your nautical-inspired garage paint job. It can even be the jute rope figure-eight knot curtain tie-backs that adorned your grandmother’s home. You recall the thrill of hiding behind those drapes, moments before scaring the everloving shit out of your cousins, and savoring the tribute to your family’s maritime roots.
Amidst the sea of cookie-cutter houses and faux beams, it’s vital to remember what truly imbues a home with love. It’s the genuine accents that evoke our roots and remind us who we are. A house without these heartfelt touches is like a quahog without its pearl—an empty shell of what could have been a proper home