A Connecticut Home Where Summer Never Ends

The forecast always calls for a laid-back vibe in this Connecticut home featured in HGTV Magazine.

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Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

The House


Not many people put as much thought into designing a home as Michelle Hogue did. In 2013, when she and her husband, Curtis, decided to build a house by the beach for their family in Westport, CT, Michelle, a designer, meticulously planned the details, like a fireplace surround that’s painted to look like a sunset over the ocean, a wall of folding glass doors for seamless indoor/outdoor living and a free-flowing layout that doesn’t waste an inch of space and makes entertaining a breeze. “Curtis and I are from Virginia and have lived in North Carolina, so we wanted to create a modern farmhouse as a nod to our history in the South,” says Michelle. “But at the same time, our home is on a road that leads straight to the beach, so we thought it should reflect that, too.”

The biggest decorating decisions, which she made with help from Wade Ehrlich Studio, include classic summertime elements, like extra-wide cabana stripes and a shades-of-blue color palette, plus some cheeky ones, too, like “p.s. I love you” decals covering a wall and a colorful posse of chairs around the dining table. Michelle describes the house as having “a peaceful energy that gives you the feeling of being on vacation. We’ve even cut trips short by a day or two because everybody just wants to be home.”

Dining Room


“Too often dining rooms become cobweb collectors you dust off for holidays,” says Michelle. To avoid that, she put her dining room front-and-center, between the entrance and a wall of glass doors that leads to the patio — and it’s anything but stuffy. The nearly 10-foot-long table, made of acacia wood, is where the family eats both low-key and special meals, where Michelle works from home, and where the kids plop down for ice cream after playing outside. Two steel light fixtures hanging above it are from Arteriors, and the colorful Eames plastic chairs from Design Within Reach “keep the space from looking stark in the winter,” says Michelle.



Michelle had her eye on these industrial caged pendant lights from The Urban Electric Co. long before the kitchen took shape, and she couldn’t wait to use them in this sunny space. Combining white cabinets and white herringbone subway tile with hardwood floors, raffia and wood barstools (scored at Bungalow in Westport) and a periwinkle striped runner gives the room a casual, seaside feel. Michelle even bought yacht cleats to use as refrigerator door pulls.

Living Room


The fireplace surround was inspired by a coastal sunset on a stormy day. To get the look, a pro used a Venetian plaster technique and five different shades of paint, ranging from white to navy. Even though this is the formal living room, Michelle wanted it to feel easygoing. So she went with a summery blue-and-white color scheme, a mix of natural elements like the bamboo shades and woven ottoman side table and a slope-arm sofa upholstered in striped fabric from Calico. Layering coffee tables perpendicular to each other is a move Michelle first tried in design school — here she did it with a low wood table from Cisco Brothers and a glass one from allmodern.com. 

Reading Nook


This cozy built-in daybed, painted high-gloss Gunmetal by Benjamin Moore, is part of the family room and gets used on a daily basis by Michelle, all three kids and the family’s dog, Coco, a 2-year-old Cavachon. “It’s a great spot for one of the kids to curl up after dinner to read or play on the iPad,” says Michelle. “They can be with us in the family room but doing their own thing.” The letters that spell out “Read” above it are vintage, the mirror (made with pencils!) is from Etsy and the sconce is from YLighting. The wall to the left of the nook is covered in “p.s. I love you” decals from Wall Star Graphics. “We all use that hallway every day, so it’s a sweet reminder,” says Michelle.

Guest Bathroom


Michelle and Curtis host visiting family a lot, but the guest suite above the garage isn’t for out-of-towners only. It’s also where Adalie has sleepovers with her friends. “I wanted it to be fun but still appeal to my mother-in-law,” says Michelle, and with this groovy David Hicks hexagon wallpaper from Cole & Son, mission accomplished. Michelle paired it with two slim teak-framed mirrors, a vanity painted Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore and acrylic pulls purchased at Klaffs. 

Master Bedroom


The beachy feel doesn’t miss a beat in Michelle and Curtis’ bedroom, which includes a fireplace surrounded by wood planks that resemble old driftwood and a coco bead chandelier by Made Goods. Behind the wood and linen bed from One Kings Lane, Michelle hung gray marble-patterned wallpaper from West Elm. “It’s inspired by agate quartz, which reminds me of the ocean,” she says. All the floors upstairs are painted Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball, “to look like the white wood floors in Virginia farmhouses,” she says. To free up space on the slim bedside tables, Michelle hung pendants above them. 

Cal's Bedroom


Since the Hogues have a large extended family, 6-year-old Cal got a queen-size bed, and his room doubles as an occasional guest room. But the color palette is all Cal. “I intentionally gave this room bright colors to match his personality,” says Michelle. The striped orange tent where he keeps his stuffed animals is from The Land of Nod, and so are the comic book–inspired “POW!” pillows and his polka-dot sheets and pillowcases. The patterned yellow-and-ivory wool rug is by NuLoom.

Brayden's Bedroom


The older of the two boys had always wanted bunk beds, and in this house, Michelle delivered. They’re custom-built into the wall, and to give them an authentic nautical look that would impress the 12-year-old, she ordered marine lights online and hired a shipman to splice the rope for the ladder. The woven light fixture with the red cord is from Crate & Barrel on clearance, and the sheets (which match the ones in Cal’s room) are from The Land of Nod. His rug is also by NuLoom.

Side Porch


The enclosed porch has heated bluestone floors, so it’s everyone’s favorite spot to relax all year. “My daughter likes to snooze out there, or I’ll sip a glass of wine on the swing at night,” says Michelle. The custom-built pickled gray Charleston swing is another nod to Curtis and Michelle’s Southern roots. Its cushion fabric is a mini Greek key by Sunbrella, and Michelle topped it with a mix of blue and orange pillows from West Elm, Crate & Barrel and CB2. They can switch out the glass windowpanes for screens in the summer to let in fresh air. “Sitting on the swing and feeling the warm breeze makes me feel like I’m on vacation in the Carolinas,” she says. 



The pool area off the porch, complete with lounge chairs from YLiving and striped umbrellas from CB2, is bustling as early as May. “The kids and dog practically live out here all summer,” says Michelle. She had the diving rock, a hunk of granite, installed by a landscaper. “I went to my friend’s place for a pool party and saw she had one and I thought, That is so cool.”

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