Joan Jenard is a born and bred Rhode Islander, proud of having lived most of her life in the Ocean State. Today, her Portsmouth home reflects her joie de vivre with reflections of the Southwest. Somehow, it all makes sense. “Beginning in the America’s Cup summer of 1980, my son and I began spending the first of ten summers in Newport,” she says. “My dream was to live in the area, close the world’s most beautiful beaches and the seaside community of Newport with its diverse and acclaimed restaurants, shops, as well as the many music festivals and the best of nature. [There’s] natural beauty everywhere.”
Through the years, Joan has lived in many homes, the grandest of which may have been one she had built and designed on charming Wickford Harbor. “You can’t get much better than that,” she says, except that she knew the time would come to downsize. She wasn’t actively looking to change zip codes when she stumbled upon Prescott Point on a Sunday drive in December, 2010. The residential community situated on 106 scenic acres that border Narragansett Bay quickly caught her attention, and best of all, it was just five miles from her beloved Newport, where she made so many warm memories. “Seeing all that Prescott Point has to offer – low density living with only three townhomes per acre, giving homeowners room to breathe, they are tucked away yet close to it all. I immediately knew what I had to do.”
Though transitioning from a single family home to a condominium was a big step, Joan says that what eased any intimidation is that the condos at Prescott Point feel much less like a typical condo and more like a spacious unattached home. “What I had to have was single level living with a two-car, attached garage,” she says. “What I got was that and much more: master bedroom suite with private porch, open floor plan with cathedral ceilings flooding the rooms with natural light and expansive views, no fuss gas fireplace, wrap around front porch and a large back deck off my living room. But probably the best part for me was being involved in the selection process where the builder allowed me custom selections, such as the slate counters in my Craftsman- style kitchen.” And it wasn’t the only custom choice. The cherry wood cabinets she chose create a warm ambiance in the kitchen complemented by the Virginia hand-scraped teak floors she picked out. Joan finished the space by adding a watercolor she had seen a decade ago that made an impression on her. She tracked down the piece, Bovine Beauties, depicting cows grazing on a pasture, and strategically hung it near a kitchen window where she can see cows grazing on nearby Simmons Farm.
In the living room, Joan worked with the builder to craft a recessed ceiling track for her wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor sheer Ripplefold draperies and extra wide window sills for a very specific purpose. “For the cats to sit on, Chukee and Bentley,” laughs Joan. “The builder went along with it and now I can put plants there or the cats can perch themselves comfortably on the wide sills in the sunlight.” These touches, says Joan, really helped make the place a home. “For me it was wicked exciting, almost necessary. One of the things I love the most is the space I created over the years,” she says. “My objective was to put in things that appeal to me. Being able to put all that together was a blessing to me. I wasn’t stressed about it at all.”
After all of the details were completed, the interior was painted an apropos hue called Pueblo, by Sherwin-Williams. The soothing shade complements the arts and crafts style home that boasts Santa Fe flair. “My furniture fit into that aesthetic and I had been developing the look over the years,” Joan explains. “Much of my furniture was purchased when I was 20-years-old!”
The living room is warmed by wall-to-wall ceiling-to-floor sheer curtains, a look Joan is particularly fond of. “All I had to do was have the curtains made. It covers the entire 16’ wall. I had that in my former home, so I knew it was possible,” she says.
Though it was hard to imagine a better situation than her old Wickford digs, Joan’s newest chapter has been nothing short of extraordinary, and it’s not just where she lives, but the people she lives alongside. “There is a real sense of community here. It is not unusual for spontaneous gatherings to happen on a front porch; there are sunset gatherings by the neighborhood fountain… I totally, totally love it. I love being on the island, I love being near Newport, I love being in Portsmouth… [It’s] far beyond my expectations. I am now living in my dream condo,” she says. “Prescott Point has all the privacy and luxury of an individual home but with maintenance-free living, allowing me time for ‘life.’”
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