Portsmouth Home Draws Inspiration from the Shore

A bright and airy renovation features new color palette inspired by the nearby shoreline


Mark and Terri-Lynn Thayer are about as Rhode Island as you can get. Both born at Newport Hospital and sweethearts since attending Portsmouth High School, they lived in Vermont for a number of years but came back 25 years ago to return to their roots. “Our families are native Rhode Islanders going back centuries,” Mark begins. “Terri-Lynn’s mother’s family has lived in Portsmouth for over 380 years. Her eighth-great-grandfather Philip Sherman signed the Portsmouth Compact in 1638.” History lesson: this was the first document that severed both political and religious ties with England.

Back to 1990s Portsmouth, the couple began their home search, with new construction at the top of their wish list. “We looked at Kings Grant because two of the streets here, Thayer Drive and Thayer Court, which were not yet built, were to be named after Mark’s father, John Thayer, who was Portsmouth’s first town administrator,” says Terri-Lynn. Fast-forward to 2020, and after over two decades, the couple was ready to make some changes based on their patterns of use through the years. They enlisted Nicole Martel of Three Sparrows Interior Design in Warren to achieve an open floor plan with some updates, while maintaining a classic New England feel.

Martel is known for creating a modern coastal casual look. “The Thayers love their town and their beautiful view,” she says. “With the newly created open floor plan on the first floor, we wanted to reflect the cool ocean colors throughout. The kitchen cabinets are a warm white with gray undertones, cool crackle tile in the blue-gray family, and a subtle blue throughout. These colors are set off beautifully by the dark wide plank hardwood floors. All of the textiles and accessories build off the design creating a clean modern coastal vibe.”

Terri-Lynn, who likes to cook, notes that the new appliances are like night and day. “It is not uncommon for us to have 15 guests on a regular weekend and 25 for Thanksgiving,” says Mark. The most significant structural change was taking down the wall between the family and living rooms, opening up the large space, which among other benefits, means sunlight all day long. Says Mark, “We haven’t experienced it yet, but Terri-Lynn could never view our Christmas tree from the kitchen, since it was in the living room. Now she’ll be able to do that this year.”


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