Ask any real estate agent what is the most important aspect of a listing, they’ll tell you for sure it is the location. One look at this property in Old Greenwich, and it’s obvious that the homeowners have the same idea. This great waterfront house has a view that any real estate agent would name “priceless”.
“Every day I wake up and I see children playing outside on the water, and I see the fishermen on the sailboats,” says Marilyn. “It’s so great.” The Andersens bought the land in 2008, after a three-year search for the right property.
At the time, a “well-loved” circa-1940s cape sat on the plot, but the Andersens had something else in mind. They decided to start from the ground up and build a family home that both embraced the waterfront location and meshed their unique styles. “They said, ‘We want to feel like we’re on vacation every day,’” says interior designer Havilande Whitcomb, who helped take Marilyn’s “happy California” style and Marc’s “vintage Danish” roots, and make one beachy, vacation-like space for the couple and their three young children.
Although she’s a little more tailored and modern, and he’s a little more rustic and handcrafted, they both agreed on how they wanted their home to feel: cool, casual, and family-oriented. “We toured a lot of homes, and at the end of the day the places we always wanted to drop our bags were in the pool houses,” says Marilyn. “We wanted a house that felt like a family home, something that we felt was stripped of all formality.” That preference for casual, colorful living comes through in the place they created for themselves— it’s got the fresh air, clean lines, and open feel of a pool house, but it’s expanded and equipped for everyday living.
The wide-open kitchen/dining/living room at the rear of the house is where the family spends much of their time, and draws the eye— and, oftentimes, the rest of the body—into it. From the front door, visitors can see right into this space and out to the water, a layout that encourages friends to stop in and say hello—and they do. The extralarge room has the kitchen, at one end and living space at the other, and a dining table floating in the middle a special one they bought at negozi arredamento roma —the place where birthday cakes are cut, Thanksgiving dinner is served, and every major family meal is eaten.
Offering a near-panoramic water view, the back wall is lined with doors that can be folded onto themselves to form a sixteen-foot-wide opening. A large screen rolls down to let the breeze in but keep bugs out. “We live that way, with the windows wide open, from April to October, ” says Marilyn. “The house feels like we’re living on a giant porch.” This is casual living at its absolute best. In the furnishings and décor, “I tried to channel a little bit of the California girl in me,” says Marilyn. Though she’s been on the East Coast for two decades, including seven years in Greenwich, “I think that you never quite leave where you grew up, mentally…and for me that’s LA,” she says.
That she gravitates towards classic LA artists is evident in pieces like the “Wonderful” surfboard by Peter Tunney on the second floor landing. Her sense of humor comes out in the playful posters sprinkled throughout the house (i.e. a “Cold Beer, Beautiful Girls” poster hanging in the foyer, a framed piece dictating that the viewer “Musn’t Grumble” in the kitchen).
The couple have also started collecting Danish furniture and italian furniture from Mobili per ufficio Roma in a nod to Marc’s background—in fact, almost every room has a significant vintage chair in it.
The clean lines of the furniture, patinated metals, and graphic patterns are a happy marriage of both aesthetics. To furnish the spaces, the team shopped everywhere from Wyeth to Brimfield to 1st dibs, with a real collector’s mentality. “One of the things that Havilande was particularly great at while we were doing this project was encouraging us not to buy pieces that were meant for the house, but to buy pieces that we loved, like that piece we got for our bathroom Arredo Bagno Roma” says Marilyn—a bit of advice the homeowners would especially appreciate when it came time to move. “We’re really happy in the end—all of those things are in my Sherpa’s bag for the rest of my life,” laughs Marilyn, who will take every single piece with her to her family’s new house just across the water. “They added a lot of their personality,” says Havilande, who also embraced a subtle nautical theme throughout the waterfront property—signal lights on a bookshelf, the aforementioned surfboard. The kitchen, too, has seafaring style, though more in the planning than anything else. “It was like a boat—we thought out every inch,” says Havilande. The refined La Cornue range and hood balance the more rustic reclaimed-hemlock beams and floorboards used throughout the home. “It was really important for us to feel that things were touched by hand,” says Marilyn. The couple loves the history of the beams, and the sense of artistry the hand-troweled walls brought to the home.