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Island Park Getaway

A Massachusetts family discovers that Portsmouth is the perfect escape

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Trina and Thorp Foster work in Boston and live in Wellesley, and had always been on the lookout for a summer home without a harried commute. Thoughts generally drifted to Cape Cod, where they’d always vacationed with their sons, until friends landed in Jamestown and opened their eyes to the beauty of the Ocean State. The pair began exploring and found a Modern Cape-style home in Portsmouth right on the Sakonnet River.

Trina and Thorp were immediately drawn in by the property’s unobstructed views of the water; however, the interior was dark and dreary. “We could see that lightening it up and opening up the sight lines would maximize the view and make it more welcoming,” says Trina, an interior designer and owner of Trina Foster Design, who enlisted DiStefano Brothers Construction (DBC) in Wakefield for renovations. Along with Trina the DBC design team of Kristen Longo and project manager Dave Meegan got to work with the main goal of making natural light a priority.

The house is made up of three relatively narrow levels, with the family room and kitchen on the second story. DBC opened up a wall between the two rooms and changed a window into French doors. An entirely new kitchen with custom cabinetry and lighting was also added. “The before and after is pretty dramatic,” says Trina. “DiStefano Brothers Construction have been wonderful to work with.”

With the structural work behind them, Trina got busy making her imprint in a style she describes as comfortable luxury with a clean aesthetic. “The key is to keep it simple,” begins Trina. “I like rooms to feel cohesive and relate to one another. I’m also not afraid to pick my spots to be bold. Smaller spaces, provide a great opportunity to punch up the drama. I chose a gold-and-black geometric wallpaper in our powder room. A friend recently opened the door and said, ‘this is so Trina!’”

Signature elements of Trina’s decor also include pairing durable fabrics with interesting furniture shapes and textures. She prefers to use soft tones that don’t overwhelm a space. “A house has to function for the people who use it and that’s always what guides my design,” she explains. “A place that makes you want to kick your shoes off and curl up with a glass of wine and a great book. I wanted to make it feel like summer all year round, and I think we achieved that. Even on cold or rainy days, the house makes you feel like you’re on a sweet vacation.”