Dianne Felton, a co-founder of the management consulting firm Felton & Harley in Washington, takes her summers easy in Oak Bluffs, a town on Martha's Vineyard. She and her husband, Reginald Felton, a former Montgomery County school board president, bought and renovated their 140-year-old Victorian clapboard cottage in 2001.
"We wanted a Victorian, and we've always liked this particular street. This is a lovely street, you know. There's a sense of community. We didn't have to have a water view, but fortunately, we have a water view. This is a big, big porch. We sit here and rock. We watch folks, and I can tell you when the ferry's coming.
It's one of the deepest porches on this street, so it accommodates a lot of people. It's over 800 square feet. It's not unusual to have 30 or 40 people on the porch. We entertain here. It's spontaneous. Sometimes, we get six or seven people on the porch, and other people pass by and join in, and then you have 20 or 30 people. It's a come-as-you-are kind of thing, very relaxed.
[The house] was five bedrooms and one bath, a postage stamp bath. We reconfigured that whole upstairs. It's perfect now. The floors are original all throughout the house -- 140 [years old].
We do auctions and estate sales and flea markets. Most of our furniture comes from those venues. I'll show you what my favorite piece is. It's that piece right there. It's an old radio. It's early 1940s, late 1930s. It's a wonderful cabinet that we got at an estate sale in Chevy Chase. I play my radio, and it has a nice sound, [although] it's really only hi-fi.
The best party we had was when we had the crew who worked on the house. In that case, we invited everyone who had anything to do with the house and our neighbors. We got a chance to meet all the neighbors, and they got to meet us. The crew was really surprised because it was the first time anyone had done anything for them to thank them.
It was rainy that day. It's all part of the Vineyard experience, I guess. It wasn't pouring down rain, and the young guys didn't mind the rain at all. They didn't care. We had a keyboardist, a little jazz trio that played out on the patio. We used an island caterer who did a fabulous job and seemed to be just as happy about doing this event as we were.
Now, I'm doing absolutely nothing! It's pure relaxation. We go to the beach. We go to Vineyard Haven. We go to Edgartown just to browse the shops and go to lunch or go to dinner. We have lots of company.
Lord, have mercy. What's that old saying? 'You don't know how many friends you have until you have a beach house.' We see it all the time. It's true."
-- Interview by Nikita Stewart