Home Style

Newlywed Nesting

From run-of-the-mill raised ranch to eye-catching charmer


Tucked on a quiet street straddling the Riverside and Barrington border, newlyweds Jodie and Ted Donaghy have quickly nested into their East Bay neighborhood, making their first house together a home. Built in 1986, the split level home was in turn-key condition when the two purchased it about a year before they tied the knot, but the couple had visions of making a few modern upgrades and peppering the place with their own unique style. 

The first step was to transform the exterior from a run-of-the-mill raised ranch to an eye-catching charmer. To make that happen, Jodie called on some relatives, including her father, to pick up a paint brush and give the house a new, cheerful yellow hue. The shade is punctuated by deep blue shutters and a welcoming red door. 

Because there’s no second chance to make a first impression, the Donaghys updated the entry landing with slatetile in varying shades of gray. The landing bissects the first and second floor, where the recently widened and newly finished hardwood stairway and floors gleam with a fresh shine. While the hardwood floors are original throughout, Jodie and Ted refinished them all to create one cohesive hue and seamless transition from room to room. The tone complements the wood cabinetry in the kitchen, which was updated not long before the couple moved in, allowing for ample storage space for all the new place settings, stemware, flatware and serving dishes that were gifted to the couple when they said “I do.” A breakfast bar between the kitchen and dining area, which features an extended high top table with seating for six, allows conversation to flow between both spaces when the couple entertains friends for a dinner party. Moss green walls marry the two spaces, while the vaulted ceiling with an obtuse angle in the kitchen adds an open, airy aesthetic in an otherwise cozy space. Artwork varies from framed black and white photographs of architectural details to eclectic pieces that lend punches of unexpected color – all of which work together in visual harmony.

The dining area opens into the living room where more neutral tones let the furnishings, antiques and treasured pieces take center stage. “It took some major style changes to get the room just right,” says Jodie. “The sailboat wallpaper had to go.” She andTed steamed and scoured until smooth walls were able to accommodate a warm cappuccino hue. 

In the center of the room, an antique blanket chest, modernized with the addition of metal casters, takes the piece from drab to fab. Its rustic appeal centers the room, while a cabinet from Crate & Barrel is a modern take on a vintage steamer trunk with a rich ebony finish. Bottle storage on both doors and room for up to 30 wine glasses and 20 drinking glasses make entertaining a pleasure. A surveyor’s spotlight tripod lamp illuminates the room and comfortable leather furnishings add a warm, welcoming element. In lieu of more traditional art work, a trio of antique city and town plat maps featuring local communities including Providence and the East Bay hang on the wall, but the most special may be the nautical map of New Bedford, where Ted grew up. Jodie picked it out at Picture This in Providence as a birthday present. 

The Donaghys chose the location of the home to be in the Barrington school district (and barely made it – only theirs and one other on the street share a Barrington address, the rest are in Riverside). Its location is just a short walk from Haines Memorial State Park, which like the East Bay Bike Bath, suits their active lifestyle. The home is a short commute to both of their places of work and is in close proximity to where they like to play, including nearby Warren, where they peruse antique shops and enjoy the town’s ever-expanding restaurant scene. Though delighted with their comfortable home for two, the couple has a few more changes in store. All in due time.