July-August 2017 | SHORE DECISION




C&E Furniture masterfully achieved the sophisticated coastal casual style that Rob and Sharon Knapp wanted for their new waterfront home

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

When entrepreneurs Rob and Sharon Knapp decided they were ready to relocate permanently from Northern Virginia to the Delaware coast, the transition for the highly successful and organized couple would be a relatively smooth one. Sure, there would be more miles placed on their vehicles for work, but the idea of making their full-time home and offices in the tranquil beach region was too enticing. Add that they had purchased a prime waterfront lot in a secluded setting in Dagsboro and hired Echelon Custom Homes to design and build a stunning 5,800 sq. ft. home with an additional 1,700 sq. ft. of porches and deck space, and well, let’s all agree that they made the right decision, shall we?  

With architectural drawings in hand, Rob and Sharon now set off to find the perfect interior design firm to help the “sophisticated coastal casual” style come to life.

“This is the third Bethany-area home that we furnished over the years, so we had a good idea of the options and have visited all of the local furniture stores multiple times,” said Sharon, who’s an organizational-development-and-training consultant. 

The Knapps ultimately placed their trust in C&E Furniture in Fenwick Island, with which they had worked with on a previous project, albeit on a smaller scale. Together with its owner, Katie Winnington, and her talented design team, Rob and Sharon felt completely confident that they had made the right choice. 

“We felt that C&E understood the feeling that we wanted to create and had the experience to help realize our vision,” Sharon said. “We also wanted a long-term relationship with someone who was willing to work with us throughout the entire process of furnishing the home. We felt as though the C&E showroom really captured the look we were after. Others tend toward more beachy looks (lighthouse lamps come to mind) or traditional (mahogany comes to mind).” 

“We take great pride in our design services, and while we operate as a furniture store, as well, interior design is really our wheelhouse,” said Katie, who is a third-generation owner of C&E. “Initially, we like to get a feel for the design and scope of our clients’ projects. In this case, we were able to be there from the very beginning, because this home was new construction. This gave us the opportunity to create floor plans and envision design ideas based off the original blueprints and truly work one-on-one with the Knapps, to imagine how they would ultimately want to use and live in the house.” 

The Knapps’ three-level home is the definition of an open floor plan, as there are just eight distinct rooms in nearly 6,000 sq. ft. of space. On the main level, the space is completely open and emphasizes the panoramic views of the Indian River Bay. For some designers, this scenario would present significant challenges to create individual seating areas while seamlessly unifying the collective theme. Here, the C&E team strategically implemented complementary furniture, accessories and fabrics to accomplish the goal, which fits the Knapps’ style perfectly.

“This home has such an incredible outdoor space, and the main living area was so bright and open that we couldn’t help but want to bring the outside in by incorporating rustic textures, like reclaimed woods and jute rugs, and then by layering in a variety of coastal elements,” Katie said. “We also made sure to give a nod to the nautical nature of the space by adding pieces that accentuated navy and teal colors throughout and finishing it all off with a few woven details and  hints of contrasting metals.”  

This second level also includes a gorgeous and spacious professional-grade kitchen and adjacent dining area. Here and its connecting indoor-outdoor seating areas are where Rob and Sharon frequently gather with their daughters, Katie, 26, of Washington, D.C., who is also a consultant, and Emily, a 24-year-old photographer/producer living in New York City, and their friends, to catch up during visits.

“My absolute favorite place in the home is our kitchen on a weekend when all the kids are here,” Sharon said. “We’ve had 14 gathered around the island, creating clam chowder or clams casino from the clams they dug up from the bay a few minutes earlier.”

Upstairs, Katie and her team designed the Knapps’ master suite, which includes a handsome sitting area, with a warm, nautical vibe. Two additional bedrooms are each uniquely designed and furnished with attractive bedroom suits, accessories and colors. 

The first floor houses Rob and Sharon’s offices, each inspirationally designed and decorated to provide the ideal environments for productivity. An expansive, coastal-themed recreation room, complete with a pool table and large-screen TV, is the perfect hangout area for entertaining and watching sporting events. 

“The process of working with C&E was a blast!” Sharon said. “It was creative, collaborative, interactive, and the results show. They also worked within our budget and never tried to get us to spend more than we were comfortable with. We couldn’t be happier with C&E Furniture. We still enjoy going into the showroom to see what’s new. We would recommend them to anyone!”



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