Easy Entertaining in Portsmouth

A couple finds a luxurious beach house ready made for them – and guests – on Aquidneck Island


Like many house hunters, Meaghan and Chris Moe were looking for their new home by browsing real estate listings on popular websites. As luck would have it, one day Meaghan came across a home online that seemed to be just what the couple was looking for, but something was off. “We saw it on Zillow and it was listed at the wrong price,” she recalls. Describing her husband as “picky,” Meaghan says Chris was looking for a custom-built home and was keeping the option open to build from scratch as well. “But we found this one, looked at it and said, ‘This is it,’” she says. After they learned the correct asking price, and after negotiations, the Portsmouth home with a view of the Sakonnet River was theirs.

Meaghan, who grew up in Portsmouth, says the home has a “Southern vibe” with its wraparound porch – the perfect setting for afternoon sweet tea or mint juleps in the summertime. “My husband was born in New York City, but he thinks he’s a good ol’ Southern boy,” she says with a laugh. Though Aquidneck Island is home to Meaghan’s family, including her parents and sisters, she does have some Southern roots, which may have also played a role in the couple’s fondness for the five-bedroom home.

Unlike many new homeowners, the Moes found nothing they wanted to change when they first toured the home. The kitchen’s top-of-the-line appliances, including the Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf stove and double ovens, easily wooed the couple, who are both avid cooks but admit to having different tastes. “Chris would make everything wood,” Meaghan says with a laugh. “Our kitchen is cherry. It’s not my favorite; I would have white, but you have to pick your battles sometimes.” Meanwhile, the open floor plan has made entertaining in the home a pleasure. “We just had a party with 60 people. People always end up in the kitchen, but people also used the family room; we have a fireplace there,” she says. Food for the party was elegantly set on the couple’s custom dining room table, which can seat 16, while the attached living room and dining room allowed a seamless flow of guests to mix and mingle.

Meaghan worked with an interior decorator to create the “Asian beach” aesthetic throughout the living room and dining room. “I didn’t want it to be too kitschy, but I wanted to incorporate ‘coastal living,’” she explains. She was also inspired by furnishings her grandparents had given her from Taiwan, where they had been stationed years ago. To achieve the look, Meaghan and her designer included various animal prints in furnishings and details, including an antelope-print runner on the stairs.

Upstairs, Meaghan had originally given daughter Ainsley’s bedroom pink walls and a pink chandelier, but as she’s grown older, Ainsley has had some design changes of her own. “She went through a tomboy phase,” says Meaghan, who exchanged the pink for turquoise walls. “It’s really cute and she wanted to do it herself.”

Though they adore every inch of the house, Meaghan says her favorite room is the master bedroom, which enjoys panoramic views. “You can lie in bed and look at the water,” she says.
Just four houses away from the shoreline, and with deeded beach rights, Meaghan says the family will likely invest in a boat in a year or two and have it moored there. “I love being on the water,” she says. “I don’t think I could ever not live on the water.”