Harmonious Rehoboth Retreat

Symmetry is everything in this pavilion-style home designed on geometric grid.


Published:

Ken Sugarman and Tommy Llewellyn know that great architecture is the ultimate geometry lesson, a pursuit that combines lines, surfaces and dimensions.

Both partners are design pros. Sugarman builds and renovates high-end homes in the Washington, D.C., area and at the Delaware beaches. Llewellyn is an architect for the World Bank.

When they built their own retreat in Rehoboth Beach, the couple turned to Hugh Newell Jacobsen, an architect who is known internationally for his modern, pavilion-style residences, including the home on Martha’s Vineyard he designed for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1980s. Every year, the professional journal Architectural Record chooses the 15 best new houses in the United States. Jacobsen has won the honor 20 times.

“We knew that he would design a wonderful, one-of-a-kind home for us—and he has,” Llewellyn says.

Essentially, the house is designed on a geometric grid in which architectural elements add up to the number 16. The stone pavers on the floors are 16 inches square. The large windows and doors on the back of the house are eight feet wide, which is 16 divided in half.

The result is harmonious flow free of friction, a subliminal invitation to relax.

“It’s pleasing,” Sugarman says. “You don’t know quite why, but everything works together.”

Whiter Shades of Pale

Like their house, the homeowners are blissfully compatible in their design aesthetic. Both partners envisioned a sanctuary with spare surfaces, crisp angles and a monochromatic palette of various shades of white. 

“We are very simpatico,” Sugarman says.

“We don’t have arguments,” Llewellyn adds. “If I say ‘I want that,’ he usually says, ‘I want that, too.’”

To make clean-lined white cupboards in the kitchen, the couple commissioned Oceanic Ventures, a cabinetmaker in Lewes. Custom storage enables the homeowners to corral clutter and keep the kitchen sleek. A washer and dryer are hidden behind doors under the counter.

The couple chose Carrera marble for the countertops in the kitchen and baths. The stone’s milky tones and silvery veining are a subtle complement to stainless steel appliances and chrome fixtures. “Repeating materials helps to make a home feel cohesive,” Sugarman says.

White stone floors laid throughout the house are elegant yet practical. “Stone is impervious to everything,” Sugarman says. “Wet feet, sandy feet, high heels.”

Vintage waterman buoys are mounted on walls to add rustic pops of color. The couple discovered the bright turquoise and red sign advertising Esther Williams swimming pools at Pelican Loft, a shop in Rehoboth that specializes in salvaged furnishings and architectural elements.

Left: The master bedroom, like the rest of the house, is done in various shades of white.
Right: A pair of pavilions are transformed into open-air bars when the couple entertains. 

Arranging the Furniture

In the gathering area, furniture is placed away from the walls, creating an aura of breathing room, a feeling of spaciousness. 

A large sectional sofa in the center of the room provides lots of seating. It’s a classic piece the partners have used in several homes. “It’s 20 years old,” Llewellyn says. “We’ve had it re-covered three times.”

In a previous, more traditional incarnation, the sofa was upholstered in a floral print. This time around, it’s covered in soft white, with tailored gray piping. To give the piece more contemporary lines, the couple replaced small, multiple back cushions with long, linear cushions. 

The seating area is anchored by a shag rug in a large block pattern of white and pale gray, a cozy counterpoint to the stone floor. “Shag is a more casual kind of rug, something people enjoy walking on in bare feet,” Llewellyn says.

A wall of glass sliders that forms the back of the room visually expands the space, as well. The glass also ushers in serene views of the pool and gardens. 

A Midcentury Master

The master suite is hip and spare, with a midcentury modern sensibility.

A pair of clean-lined, cream-colored chairs that flank a low and lean circa 1950 chest also are midcentury originals, rescued from the trash during an office remodeling project. Llewellyn recognized the chairs as the work of Jens Risom, a Danish designer who brought Scandinavian interiors to the United States. Lyndon B. Johnson, intent on giving the Oval Office a touch of youthful hipness, installed a Risom chair there in the 1960s. Today, you’ll find Risom pieces in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “What a waste to throw them away,” Llewellyn says. “It was our duty to salvage them.”

Sugarman and Llewellyn employed the time-honored design tip of combining vintage and designer pieces with furniture of more humble origin. They bought the bed from IKEA. The streamlined side tables are from West Elm.

The total effect looks hip, relaxed—and expensive. “Good design is good design, whether it comes from Target or New York City,” Sugarman says.

The master bedroom adjoins a private screened porch furnished with a large daybed that can be wheeled outdoors to provide extra seating during large gatherings. In day-to-day life, the porch is a tranquil retreat that offers an intimate connection with the outdoors.

Sugarman and Llewellyn envisioned the grounds surrounding the house as a series of open-air rooms. Paxton Holt Jordan, a landscape architecture firm in Milton, designed a California chic setting with an East Coast twist. Flowering crape myrtle and hydrangeas, all in white, mirror the pale palette inside the house.

If the oversized settees, chaises and market umbrella on the patio look as if they might be at a resort it’s because they were designed for use at high-end hotels.

“Commercial furniture costs a little more going in but it will last much longer because it is made to stand up to constant use,” Sugarman says.

A tall hedge buffers the yard from neighbors. A dining table and chairs are stationed in a small grove in the side garden. A hammock is tucked away in a stand of trees in the far corner of the property.

A pair of pavilions are stationed at either end of the yard. On most days, they serve as massive garden sculptures. When the couple entertains, the structures are transformed into open-air bars. A shimmering Roman-style pool is ideal for swimming laps, or, Llewellyn notes, “getting your feet wet while you’re enjoying a cocktail.”

Left: The living room doors open to create a seamless connection with the outdoors.
Right: The Roman-style pool is ideal for swimming laps.

Super Space Planning

There are pocket-sized patios outside each guest room, allowing visitors to enjoy morning coffee or a nightcap without disturbing others in the house.

Each guest room is furnished simply, with a bed, a pair of nightstands and a chair. Flat-screen TVs are mounted on the wall. Storage is provided by built-in cupboards. To keep the tops of the nightstands clear for a book or a drink, pendant lamps are suspended from the ceiling.

The architect designed window seats in the foyer, ideal for quiet reading. Beneath the seat, there are drawers for storage.

“He made every square foot count, without making the house feel crowded,” Sugarman says. “That’s the genius of his design.”   

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THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

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A newly acquired cabinet at Winterthur and related objects in the collection emerge as tools in the lucrative business of transatlantic trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Curated by graduate...

Cost: free with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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Story Time Thursdays 10:30 - 11 a.m. Enjoy fun animal stories read by our own zoo story-telling team! Story time takes place in the otter circle, in the main zoo, and may include a craft,...

Cost: $7 - $0

Where:
Brandywine Zoo
1001 North Park Drive
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Telephone: 302-571-7747
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Charity Golf Event to benefit Children's Beach House A great way to start your Memorial Day weekend a day early! Make sure to register as a single golfer or register your foursome ahead of...

Cost: $225 Single Golfer / $900 Foursome

Where:
Peninsula on Indian River Bay
26937 Bay Farm Rd.
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: The Ocean Atlantic Companies
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Crooked Hammock Brewery is celebrating the unofficial start of summer all Memorial Day weekend! The festivities kick off on Thursday, May 24th with the release of their two summer seasonal beers,...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon
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Join us on The Patio, voted Best Outdoor Dining by Delaware Today readers! Happy hour 4PM - 6:30PM, live entertainment 6PM - 9PM, local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, creative gastropub menu,...

Cost: menu items vary

Where:
Hilton Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
Newark, DE  19713
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Relax and unwind after a long day with the Museum’s popular Happy Hour series. Enjoy live music on the terrace with friends or tour the galleries indoors. Special themed nights will be scheduled...

Cost: Museum galleries are open with free admission every Thursday from 4–8 pm

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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  Join Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant as they open their doors to the public on May 24, 2018!  

Cost: Free

Where:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
19815 Coastal Hwy
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Alexi Natchev: Prints and Drawings will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from May 4-25, 2018. A free opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, May 4 from 5-7 p.m. Alexi...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
2nd Floor, Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A newly acquired cabinet at Winterthur and related objects in the collection emerge as tools in the lucrative business of transatlantic trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Curated by graduate...

Cost: free with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Crooked Hammock Brewery is celebrating the unofficial start of summer all Memorial Day weekend! The festivities kick off on Thursday, May 24th with the release of their two summer seasonal beers,...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon
Website »

More information

  Join Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant as they open their doors to the public on May 24, 2018!  

Cost: Free

Where:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
19815 Coastal Hwy
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
View map »


Sponsor: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Sixth annual St. Catherine of Siena Community Garage Sale held in Church parking lot. One-stop shopping! Approximately 25 homes gather in one location to make your garage sale shopping...

Cost: $25/Consignors ONLY

Where:
St. Catherine of Siena Parish Parking Lot
2503 Centerville Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: St. Catherine of Siena
Telephone: 302-239-1699
Contact Name: Mary Gispert
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The 11th annual Artisans Fair, featuring unique handcrafted art objects, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Lord Baltimore Elementary School on Route 26 in Ocean View, DE. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lord Baltimore Elementary School
Route 26
Ocean View, DE  19970
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Sponsor: South Coastal DE AARP Chapter
Telephone: 302-732-6336
Contact Name: Ida Crist
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A newly acquired cabinet at Winterthur and related objects in the collection emerge as tools in the lucrative business of transatlantic trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Curated by graduate...

Cost: free with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

Crooked Hammock Brewery is celebrating the unofficial start of summer all Memorial Day weekend! The festivities kick off on Thursday, May 24th with the release of their two summer seasonal beers,...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon
Website »

More information

Science Saturday – River Rangers River Rangers learn how to gauge the health of our local waterways by observing the variety of critters living in it. Visitors of all ages are invited to...

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

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