Text by Bethany Adams
Shannon and Tod Leggat built their home on land that has been a part of family history for generations. “Tod’s family has been going there for over 100 years,” Shannon says of the Drakes Island property. Tod’s family purchased the land—and the house that was built on it—in 1975, but after he and Shannon inherited the house, they discovered that it was in need of costly repairs. “And so, down it came,” says Tod, “and we built what’s there now.”
“What’s there now” is an ocean-inspired cottage flooded with bold décor choices and plenty of space for large family gatherings. “[It was] about accommodating all of these people but also letting it be a comfortable, beautiful place to be,” says designer Emily Mattei of e4 Interior Design. Inspired by the home’s proximity to the coastline, Emily opted for a color palette saturated with navy blues and pops of red. A backdrop of white and gray shows off the darker tones’ best qualities and keeps the space feeling as airy as an ocean breeze.
Shannon and Tod agree that the main priority when designing the house was creating a gathering place for their large family. In addition to their three children—Graham, Emily, and Audrey—the home is often a haven for aunts, uncles, and cousins, and Shannon says it has accommodated up to 26 people overnight. Because everyone likes to be in the kitchen, the Leggats wanted a great room that would include the living, dining, and kitchen areas. No matter where you are, Shannon says, “you can hear what’s going on and participate.”
As important as it was for the family to have a place to congregate, Shannon also wanted room for some quiet time. While spaces like the great room and bunk room were designed with large groups in mind, smaller areas like the den and the front room are conducive to cozier experiences. “So, there’s a lot of space to gather, but there’s also a lot of space to go and be quiet,” Shannon says.
Originally intended to be a storage space, the bunk room was created at Emily’s suggestion. “The intention of that space was to create a space for a bunch of cousins to be able to hang out,” she says. The room features pullout trundles in addition to the built-in beds, providing sleeping space for eight. A TV and game table, as well as comfy seating in the form of floor poufs, encourage fun with friends and family.
Building on the foundation of over a century of history, the Leggats wanted their new cottage to be a part of the family story for generations to come. “They wanted it to be really nice, but they also wanted it to stand the test of time,” Emily explains. The design addresses both needs, resulting in a home that is sure to be lived in and loved by many members of the family for the next 100 years.