3 April 2019

Designing a Historic Cottage on Nantucket

With a client directive to create a neutral, textural palette, we're sharing some of the key elements of this recent project.

Designing coastal interiors is always a fun endeavor, but this one is especially personal to us. We love Nantucket Island for so many reasons–in fact, Lauren and Chris were married there two summers ago! So, when an opportunity to refresh a historic cottage came our way, we jumped at the chance. The house, once furnished, will be shared by lots of family members and guests in the years ahead, and we want to make it comfortable for everyone who visits.

The cottage is located in the Siasconset neighborhood of the island, which was settled as a fishing village in the 17th century.
Siasconset is an Algonquian term for "place of great bones."

Most of the rooms in this whaling village were originally fishing shacks and unusually small in scale, so the furniture pieces we select need to be curated with every inch considered. Here are some photos of the interior of the cottage. Fortunately, it has been mostly untouched, with the original floors intact. Isn’t it charming? Painting is underway and we’ve stripped the paint from the beadboard to reveal some beautiful old wood. The walls above will be painted a fresh white, Farrow & Ball’s White Tie. In the kitchen, where the cabinets are currently painted blue, we will use Farrow & Balls Matchstick.

The clients have lived on Nantucket for many years and prefer a neutral color palette. Our work is typically more color infused, but for this coastal retreat we schemed the fabrics with a view to layer multiple textures and small patterns in beige and white, and off-white. Neutrals really come to life in rooms that get lots of natural sun light, and that is not hard to come by on Nantucket.

Some of the textiles that will bring the living room to life.

The furniture plan allows for one primary seating area, and a smaller secondary one as well. Our goals are not to overwhelm the rooms with too much furniture and clutter and to be respectful of the age and character of the cottage. The antique secretary you see in some of the photos above was purchased from the previous owners. It will serve as a nice place to sit and open up your laptop, a surface to provide ambient lighting, and its chair will be light enough to move around the room when extra seating is required.

A digital rendering of the interplay of the textiles.

The furniture forms we selected are reproductions of original French antiques in mini dimensions that are hard to come by these days! We plan to have slipcovers made for all, so that the rooms feel relaxed and easy. Slipcovers are washable so they’re practical for homes that endure lots of wear and tear.

Curtains are too formal for this house and not right for the scale of the windows so we added our favorite cafe curtains. We love cafe curtains in beautiful linen as they provide privacy from the busy summer streets of Sconset while still allowing the light to flow in through the top half of the window. The best of both worlds if you ask us!

An elevation showing one of the seating arrangements.

Here’s an image showing how lovely cafe curtains can be in an interior designed by Mark Cunningham.

Stay with us as we work our way into the kitchen, master bedroom, guest bedrooms and family room. It’s going to be so much fun!

— Lauren & Suzanne
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