Name: Jane, Dan, Georgia and Lily Wright
Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned
The temperature is in the mid 20’s and the ground is covered in a layer of snow that crunches with each step when I arrive at the Wrights’ Jamestown studio on a weekday morning in early February. Jane, a painter and printmaker, welcomes me into the tranquil space where she spends her days working. After shedding my heavy winter layers near the wood-burning stove, it isn’t long before I am settling in with a warm cup of Earl Grey.
Crisp light pours in through large windows, casting long, geometric shadows on the white walls and grey wash floors. The organic modern space, set back from the family’s home of 15 years, is at once a soothing refuge from the harsh elements and a harmonious extension of the natural surroundings. “The minimal design helps to keep me from getting distracted,” Jane explains, “It’s really nice. It frees me to do my work.”
The Wrights spent many years dreaming of having a multifunctional space, separate from their home, where they could work, accommodate guests, and hang out with friends. Jane was ready to stop renting studio space and work near home, and Dan, an attorney and musician who plays in three bands, wanted to have a place to edit and record music at night without worrying about waking up the rest of the family. Two years ago, they finally decided to make it happen. “We couldn’t just think about it forever,” says Jane.
To bring their dream to life, Jane and Dan turned to Newport architects Estes Twombley, whom they have long admired for their distinctive designs that feel modern and traditional at the same time. Jane has nothing but praise for the end result. “The architect did an amazing job of coming up with a design that was able to serve multiple purposes, while keeping the project within space and budgetary constraints,” she says.
Jane worked closely with the general contractor and managed construction of the space. Clean lines and the airy feeling of high ceilings, large windows, and a sleeping loft created the perfect canvas for her new interior design firm Roost Modern to execute their vision. “We tried to make it feel Scandinavian, but also like a New England farmhouse, and contemporary all at the same time. We chose the floor and wall color, lighting fixtures, Scandinavian wood stove and super simple and affordable cabinets and bathroom fixtures accordingly.” Jane feels the project provided the final piece of experience she needed to be ready to take on other construction projects with design partners Sue McNally and Misi Narcizo.
Jane and Dan have created a perfect setting for art and happiness to flourish. The couple’s collection of simple, mid-century modern furnishings are just right for the casual living room, which feels like a peaceful getaway right in their backyard. Plush hides draped over the back of chairs invite visitors to sit back, let out a deep sigh, and take in the artwork. The space affords Jane and Dan some precious time alone and provides a relaxing place to unwind with friends over wine and hors d'oeuvres. For their daughters Georgia and Lily, the studio offers the privacy that teenagers appreciate. When he's not working in his recording room, Dan enjoys the opportunity to have a session, with band mates or by himself, in the inspiring space. “It seems like every time I get a chance to really relax there, something positive happens, including a few tunes I don't think I would have written otherwise.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A contemporary mashup of old, new, handmade, and manufactured.
Inspiration: One source is Terence Conran and his aesthetic of contemporary, functional design adapted to historic buildings/neighborhoods. Love his books.
Favorite Element: The natural light and especially the oversized window.
Biggest Challenge: Decorating without filling the space with every cast-off piece of furniture from our house.
What Friends Say: It’s a getaway in your own backyard.
Biggest Embarrassment: The lack of landscaping – we’ll get to it!
Proudest DIY: Designing the interior with my Roost Modern partners.
Biggest Indulgence: Going forward with the building.
Best Advice: Hire professionals for the biggest expenses as your budget allows; that way the construction will stand the test of time.
Dream Sources: Consignment stores, antique stores, artists and artisans, along with manufacturers of all the great design happening right now.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Benjamin Moore White Dove on trim and walls
- Benjamin Moore Fireball Orange in Dan’s studio
- Woodstove: Morso
- All furniture except as listed below: either Salvation Army, craigslist or local consignment stores
- Rug: West Elm
- Artwork: Thomas Todd (big painting), Duxbury, MA; two monotypes on either side of big window: Jane McNally Wright; ram print by Jane McNally Wright (available from Empire Delicious); round painting by Anne Tait of Providence, RI
- White lamp: Ikea
- Bird lamp: Homegoods
- Leather chair: Mitchell Gold
- Ceramics: Jane McNally Wright
- Beds, duvets, bookcase and lamps: Ikea
- Rug: Target
- Table: estate auction in Newport, RI
- Artwork: Mary McNally, Newport RI
- Painting: Josy Wright, Jamestown, RI
- Shower curtain: Homegoods
- Sconces: West Elm
- Mirror, shelves & vanity: Ikea
Thanks, Jane & Dan!
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(Image credits: Jacqueline Marque)