Newport Condo with a Colorful Attitude

A condo in the City by the Sea is updated into a relaxing retreat

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It’s the classic love story set in the City by the Sea. Rob and Jo Anne Ferullo met one night at the Smoke House on Scott’s Wharf back in their 30s, got married at Castle Hill, and have returned to Newport each year since. “We rented every summer, and last year it was finally time to have a place of our own,” says Jo Anne. The couple decided on a condo for their second home within walking distance to Broadway to be close to its restaurants and shops, and the waterfront. “We loved the outside with all the original detail and the porch. The location was perfect.”

One thing the couple doesn’t always agree on is how to decorate. Says Jo Anne, “Sometimes we have very different ideas and it is so helpful to have someone who can tie them together. Usually, we end up liking the same things when all is said and done.” The Ferullos began perusing Houzz.com, an online community connecting homeowners with professionals, including interior designers, and were always drawn to the “elegant coastal feel” of Kim Peterson of KEP Interior Designs in East Greenwich. Due to COVID restrictions, the first series of meetings was done using FaceTime and Zoom.

The first thing Peterson prescribed was opening up the condo, which she achieved by removing a solid stairway wall and installing a cable railing system and custom bannister in its place. Other switches included changing all light fixtures, adding a backsplash in the kitchen, and bringing in all new window treatments, which can be operated via remote control. “Kind of fun to push a button and have the room opened up and then closed up in one press!” says Peterson, who aimed to make this retreat as relaxing as possible for the Ferullos.

Once the structural elements were in place, Peterson sought to outfit spaces with furnishings ready for year-round comfort. In her signature style, most rooms begin with canvas-like walls framed by natural wood features and neutral trappings like barely-there shades, and then pow! – each area gets a bold splash of color in the form of a standout element – whether it’s a red sectional couch, bold accent wall, or lively patterned textile. Smaller spaces were also maximized with furniture that works double-duty like the master bedframe with built-in drawers for storage. “All furnishings are new and were selected and purchased to perfectly fill their space,” says Peterson. Jo Anne agrees, “This is why we have a designer!”

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