“Calming color palettes and great woodwork – both on the interior and exterior – are the two biggest contributors to an Ocean State vibe,” says Nicole Martel. The 1880s farmhouse in the Touisset section of Warren, in which she makes her home with husband Matthew and their three children, is living proof of that statement. It’s also the modus operandi the pair carries through to their work in the remodeling industry: Nicole is the founder of full-service design firm Three Sparrows Design and Matthew is co-owner and contractor at Wescott Building and Remodeling.
“We were house hunting in 2008 and finding it difficult given the market at that time. Matt’s mother, our real estate agent, found this charming house. The location was great, the bones were good, but everything else needed a lot of work,” Nicole begins. “Matt was very early in his career, and renovating our home was the perfect way to bring his skills to the next level.” While the property boasted over an acre of land, the home itself needed to be almost completely gutted. During the process, the Martels were mindful of retaining original details, like the original molding. “We kept those rooms mostly intact – horsehair plaster and all!” she adds.
The Martels use repurposed materials and furniture whenever possible. “We love the look as well as the fact that we made something beautiful out of a piece that may have otherwise ended up in the landfill.” Throughout the home many pieces of reclaimed wood have been used to create shelves, desktops, and bench seats.
Nicole describes her home as New England casual meets modern farmhouse. “It is light, clean, and beautiful but still approachable and attainable. I tend to blend styles together by using classic neutrals and then accent the space with colors and textures that can be changed throughout the years to keep the look fresh and current.” She adds, “Blues are my favorite.”
During this time when our homes are now working triple duty as work and study areas, Nicole has been clever at adjusting spaces for hybrid uses. In the living room, a nook is outfitted with a desk and floating shelves, and even an awkward space beneath an eave has been fashioned into a personal study area. Nicole says, “Lean into the character of your home! Preserve the parts of the home that tell a story and then tailor the rest to your unique tastes and lifestyle.”
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