House Lust: A Turquoise Beachfront Cottage is on the Market for $170,000
Summer is calling.
Earlier this week, a seasonal cottage along Roy Carpenter’s Beach in Matunuck hit the market. “Along the beach” meaning: Fall off the deck and you’ll hit the sand. And that glorious opportunity to embarrass yourself in front of your new neighbors, along with unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island, could be yours for the low, low price of $170,000.
It’s true. But with great bargains come great considerations. This type of property forces us to rethink ownership, agency, even climate calamity — and all before our 5 o’clock margaritas.
Let’s tackle ownership first. The slice of land beneath the cottage is owned by Matunuck Beach Properties and leased to the cottage owner for $4,000 annually. So you own the cottage but you don’t actually own the land it sits on.
Which leads us to agency. You can’t up and decide, on a sunshiny April day, to drive down to your little cottage by the sea and open it up for an overnight. Occupancy is limited between May 1 and October 15 — a point that’s confusing to potential buyers from out of the state, says Donnie Bennett of Blackstone Ocean Properties, which represents the homeowner. Bennett is intimately familiar with Roy Carpenter’s; about two decades ago, his mother and her friend owned a cottage here. Most people tend to be local and, because they can’t rent out their homes for profit, they form a tight-knit community you can’t find elsewhere, he says.
“We didn’t have front row, because we’re not rock stars,” he jokes, adding, “It’s a nice seasonal community and people who come here tend to stay here.”
And now, onto climate calamity because, at Roy Carpenter’s Beach, it’s a conversation for yesterday, not today. In an effort to protect the cottages from sea level rise and dramatic beach erosion, the front-most cottages will move to the back of the settlement in the next one to three years, Bennett says. The moves will be at the cottage owners’ expense and will happen anytime in the next one to three years. To sweeten the deal, each cottage will get an additional 250 square feet of buildable space — a boon for this 532-square-foot cottage — plus they’ll be hooked up to town water and they’ll have easy access to parking.
“The front row has a serious problem with parking: There is none,” Bennett says.
So, thanks to sea level rise, this front-row cottage will go to the back of the line — arguably until the ocean comes for those blocking its view.
Bennett describes the cottage — which is boarded up for the season and of which he has but one interior photo — as “rustic.” Old listing photos show white paneled ceilings with exposed beams and honey-colored engineered plank flooring, both of which lend an airiness to the tiny space. There’s also a bathroom — a perk considering that many Roy Carpenter’s cottages share facilities.
Bennett’s associate, Lola Alonzo, adds this description of the layout: “You go in the side door, and to the left is the kitchen and to the right it’s a little seating area with a table. There’s a path into the main living room and, to the left of the living room is the bedroom.”
And the living room? It features a slider out to the deck with views of the Atlantic that, our take, are worth a couple hundred thousand, easy — even if it’s just for a while.
Here’s your House Lust: