Just as their children chafe at the bit for the last day of school to arrive, so do Leslie Sennott and her husband, Bill Johnston. That’s when the entire family—including Tucker, 15, Katherine, 12, and 11-year-old Victoria—bid adieu to their home near Boston and head for their beach house on the Massachusetts North Shore. “It’s an easy drive [less than an hour] from our year-round house, but psychologically, it’s far, far away,” says Leslie. In fact, Bill, a lawyer, commutes to Boston during the summer season.
The couple purchased their summer place in the autumn of 1998. At one time an inn with 12 bedrooms and only two baths, the century-old oceanside house boasted a perfect location but needed renovation. The Boston architectural firm of Charles R. Myer & Partners Ltd. was hired to do the job, which included gutting and reconfiguring all interior spaces, winterizing the structure, rebuilding the porch, replacing all windows and exterior doors, and adding architectural details consistent with the structure’s age. By August 1999, the place was ready to welcome its new owners with an airy, open-plan layout, a new kitchen, five bathrooms, and six spacious bedrooms (instead of 12 smallish ones). Only the captivating seaside view remained unchanged.
There may be many reasons for owning a summer house, but surely the desire to “hang loose” is of major importance for most. Leslie and Bill’s idea of relaxing means keeping their lives and their surroundings as easygoing and uncomplicated as possible, and to this end they enlisted Boston designer Christine Lane to put her light, nothing-fussy touch on the interiors.