Name: Antena and Miles David
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
Size: 1900 square feet
Years lived in: 11 years; owned
When Miles and Antena bought their Newport home eleven years ago, they loved the bones of the traditional Victorian structure, but envisioned a transformation that would infuse the 1892 building – filled with drab colors, floral wallpaper and period decor – with the bright coastal charm of a seaside cottage.
Over a decade later, the David home has a casual, all-American charm that welcomes visitors like a breath of fresh air. Past a white picket fence, a waving grand old flag, and a classic cast iron eagle plaque, guests enter a sun-drenched vestibule with a simple teak bench. Streaks of morning light accentuate the beauty of a shiny brass clamshell knocker and a heavy front door made of warm, rich wood. Streeter, a camera-loving yellow Lab, is ready to welcome a newcomer like an old friend.
The view from the foyer makes it immediately clear that this home is much more than an apple pie cliche. Wood salvaged from a Vermont barn covers the living room ceiling, which had a popcorn texture that proved impossible to remove. White walls, glass-paned pocket doors and custom built-in shelving provide a refined counterbalance to the rustic ceiling, which feels unexpected yet perfectly at home with the laid-back furnishings throughout the house. A peek into the dining room reveals a Smith and Hawken teak patio set complete with Sunbrella fabric-covered cushions. It is another unpredictable, yet fitting, choice that adds to the home’s easy coastal vibe.
They named the house Foghorn. The idea came to Miles, who works in the marine industry, when he heard the familiar sound one night in Newport Harbor, which is just a few blocks away. Foghorn has become an evolving labor of love to the Davids, who are inspired by their passion for design, art, and the sea.
“Buying our first home in a coastal town, we were drawn to local artists and really focused on the boats, beach and marine life,” says Miles, “After a few years, our taste changed considerably, and we now are drawn to the unique art of our friends, abstract art of our kids, and taking a few stabs at it ourselves.” The framed artwork of the Davids' young daughters hangs proudly throughout the house, which is filled with a vast and growing collection of art books. Miles' penchant for painting bullseyes has turned the familiar graphic into a recurring theme in their decor. “There is something soothing to me about a bullseye,” he explains, “I also tend to say ‘keep your eye on the prize’ when I reference them. When I put Bullseye Revisited in our den, I really felt it belonged there.”
Miles can always feel when something is out of place, and isn’t afraid to keep changing things until he gets it right. “This seems to be a theme in the house: tweak, tweak, remove, etc.,” he explains. The butler’s pantry he turned into a bar went through several changes until he finally settled on a varnished cherry counter finished off with an edge of brass nailheads. He made wood tracks to create wine storage, installed wainscoting in the liquor cabinet, and carved a "bar" sign. On a whim, he decided to cover the narrow hall with cedar shingles after testing out many colors, patterns and stripes; the added texture turned out to be just what the room was missing. “The pantry, now bar, connects the main house, built in 1892, and the den, built in 1936, so the shingles are rather fitting considering that used to be the outside of the house,” he says, “Many great conversations take place in that narrow space.”
It seems there are few things that have been untouched by Miles’ handiwork and the couple’s shared vision for maximizing space in a clean and beautiful way. The barn board ceiling in the living room, sliding pantry door in the kitchen, and custom built-in shelving throughout the house were all designed by Miles and built by custom woodworker Ben Wilcox. Antena, who works as a Student Outreach Coordinator for newportFILM, adds her creativity to the space with the curtains, pillows, bench seats and duvet covers she sews. It isn’t unusual for her to come home and find that her husband has started a new project, adding wainscoting to the second floor or working on one of the new lamp designs he hopes to manufacture. “Yes, this house has really lit the passion for design,” he says, “(I have) a passion to improve (my surroundings) and a mild case of ADHD. Put the two together and you’re walking around the house with a tool belt and measuring walls and floor space for the next idea.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, tbd…
Inspiration: All things design.
Favorite Element: Peacock by Whitney Kreb.
Biggest Challenge: The small rooms.
What Friends Say: Where is this from… I love what you did with this…
Biggest Embarrassment: Painting the exterior deck black — we stripped it shortly thereafter.
Proudest DIY: The bar area (countertop/shingles/wine storage).
Biggest Indulgence: The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Leather Club Chairs.
Best Advice: Don’t listen to advice; go with your gut.
Dream Sources: Design Magazines, Art Museums, Art Books
Resources of Note:
- Sherwin Williams Black Porch Paint
- Walls Sherwin Williams “Snowbound” semi-gloss
- Molding by Wilcox Custom Woodworking LLC
- Teak Bench by Smith & Hawken
- Brass Door Knocker by Michael Healy
- Nautical Light Fixture, Brass Onion Lantern
- Chevron Rug by Ballard Designs
- Cork Lamp, Ebay
- Walls Sherwin Williams “Snowbound” flat
- Bookcases Designed by Miles and built by Wilcox Custom Woodworking LLC
- Palm Trees by Whitney Kreb
- Custom VT reclaimed barn board ceiling designed by Miles and installed by Wilcox Custom Woodworking LLC
- Bluefish and Rainbow Trout by Miles
- Bullseye by Miles
- Teak coffee table by Lands End
- Leather club chairs by Mitchel Gold + Bob Wiliams
- Pink Fish and Butterfly by Eleanor David
- Walls Sherwin Williams “Snowbound” semi-gloss
- Peacock by Whitney Kreb
- Pendant Lamp by Ballard Designs
- Old bookcase from local estate (so they say)
- Duck Decoy collection from various sources
- Teak Table/chairs by Smith and Hawken
- Custom Sunbrella cushions by Antena and Cheryl DiGennaro at Clear Yacht Interiors
- Curtains made by Antena with "Essence" fabric by Waverly
- Custom Cherry Countertops
- Boos Block butcher block
- Sliding Barn Pantry Door designed by Miles and built by Wilcox Custom Woodworking LLC
- Herb shelf by Miles
- “October Sunset” by Kacyn Fisher, Fisher Gallery
- “Butterfly” by Gately David
- “Bullesye Revisited” by Miles
- Burgees from various yacht clubs
- Cow rug by The Cowhide Store
- Couch slip cover in Sunbrella Suntan and reupholstered by Cheryl DiGennaro at Clear Yacht Interiors
- Builtins designed by Miles and built by Wilcox Custom Woodworking LLC
- Crock Lamps by Miles
- “Owl Eyes” by Miles
- Half Hull of “Gleam” built by owner’s great uncle
- Window Seat Cushion in Perennials by Antena
- Old trunk painted white and finished with large brass nailheads by Miles
- “Red Row Boat” by Whitney Kreb
- Brown/Black mix paint by Benjamin & Moore
- Black ink drawings by Porter, from North Dakota
• White cedar shingles by Miles
• Custom Burgee Art
• Custom Cherry countertop with brass nailheads by Miles
• “Allie” the Alligator was found years ago and a treasure
• “Whisper” transom by Miles
• Custom carved “BAR” sign by Miles
BATHROOM (1st Floor)
• Wallpaper unkown
• Wainscoting by Miles
• “Ring-Necked Pheasant” and “Brook Sucker” lithographs by S.F. Denton
• Shower curtain by Antena
BATHROOM (2nd Floor)
• Chalkboard Paint
• Rug by Serena and Lily
BATHROOM (3rd Floor)
• Shower Curtain by Serena and Lily
• Antique fridge is a family piece
• Wainscoting by Miles
• Walls Sherwin Williams “Pure White” semi-gloss
- Paint “Dutch Tile Blue” Sherwin Williams
- Art by various sources
- Lacquered Blue Shingled Lamp “The Madaket” by Miles
- Gun mounted on wall is a Browning .22, was a parting gift from Sports Afield magazine to Miles' uncle, who was the publisher
WALK-IN CLOSET (3rd Floor)
• Walls Sherwin Williams “Pure White” flat
• Closet space designed by Miles
• Shelving units by Hold Everything
• Owl necklace and beaded necklace by Haarstick
• Octopus cuff by Perry Gargano
• Other beaded jewelry by Heidi Bruggeman
- Walls Sherwin Williams “Pure White” semi-gloss
- Jute Rugs by Ballard Designs
- Art by children
- Armoire is a family piece
- Twin bed from Pottery Barn, Duvet cover made by Antena
- Bunk beds from a friend, bedding by Serena & Lily
Thanks, Miles & Antena!
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(Image credits: Jacqueline Marque)