Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Leaving a Very Large Island - Arriving on a Very Small One

While I enjoyed sharing my love of England - its decor, antiques, gardens, and kitchens, it's time to share my love of Nantucket, a very tiny island which also offers much charm with its own distinctive decor, antiques, gardens and kitchens.  Nantucket, once the whaling capital of the world, lies off the coast of New England, and the name itself is an Indian word meaning, "the land far away."  Because it is so far away from the mainland, like most islands, it has a sense of being cut off from the rest of the world.

From England (satellite view of the United Kingdom).
Google Images

And England's charm.
Google Images
To Nantucket.
Nantucket by Cary Hazlegrove
And its charm.
Nantucket by Cary Hazlegrove

The first article that inspired my love for and visits to Nantucket appeared in this issue of House and Garden.  It is an August issue and perhaps it was the summer season or the beauty of the cover that first lured me in.

But, it was the home of Eugenie Voorhees that made me fall in love.  Ms Voohees visited Nantucket every summer of her life, and, when still living in New York City, bought the following house in Nantucket.  As its new owner, she peeled away the rooms "'like an onion' to reveal the natural beauty of paneled walls, mottled doors, and pine floors."  In her quest for  clean, pure rooms within a 1757 house, she enlisted the help of architect, Hugh Newell Jacobsen (much more about him in future posts).
On the outside, a shingled gray house that looks so typically Nantucket.

But inside, I found this:

And this:

The following image reveals only part of the living room above, but am including it because here you can see the original paneling stripped to its original color juxtaposed with the new paneling surrounding the fireplace.  Love, love this contrast.

The dining room chairs which are French antiques may have first inspired my love of the Tolix chairs now in our kitchen's eating area. Notice the stripped door and antique table in very spare surroundings.

The stairway to the three bedrooms was refinished.

View of the master bedroom with tables designed by Jacobsen.

Another view of master bedroom showing its Jacobsen-designed fireplace and paneling.  (OK, a house just like this in Nantucket is an addition to my fantasy houses list.)

Hall bathroom was left "old-fahioned and simple."

In May, 1989, Voorhees's home was also featured in British Homes and Gardens.  In less than five seconds, I had purchased the magazine and studied these views of the living room.  The bookshelves seen here are distinctively Jacobsen and are called egg create shelves.  Notice how the squares are all the same size and how the books are resting at the edge of the shelves, not pushed inside.  Guess how my books are now resting on my bookshelves!

Another view of the living room.  For years, I only had bouquets of daisies on my living room's coffee table.

Closer view of bookshelves.

Part of the dining room.  Second half will follow, but his shows the window treatments now also in my home.  If I have any window treatments at all, they are white shutters inspired by this house and its owner and architect.

Second part of dining room showing a glimpse of front entryway.  My front door is now a color similar to this one, and if I could walk to grocery shops, I would own a basket like this one - seems a little silly to just wheel groceries from store to car in the parking lot, but I considered it.

Close up of the brushed-steel antique French garden chairs.  Since I could never find these, Tolix sufficed beautifully.  I also wanted to strip all our stained pine floors to a color close to this, but my husband vetoed the idea.

Upstairs guest room.  So spare, but so lovely.

Views of the master bedroom with its stripped and new paneling.  Again I love how the old and the new play off one another so subtly.

No clutter in this spare, old-fashioned bathroom.  Same one viewed in previous magazine.  By the by, all the towels in my master bath are now white.

I must not have been the only reader who loved this house, because in 1990 it appeared again.  This time in Mary Emmerling's American Country Classics.  This house really is a classic.  See if you detect any changes.
Thank God tulips appeared - family members were definitely tiring of daisies.  (I now even own several of these same coffee table books - is there something wrong with me?)

Close up of living room fireplace, mantel and paneling.  (I do not own a tool like the one pictured here, but considered it.)

Bet this is a winter photo.  The fire, red throw and red sail were my first clues.  I love how the old paneling looks with the new in this photo.  And the shutters.

Guest bedroom still spare and beautiful. This time with striped sheets.

Sorry for the blurred photo here, but I had to show you how great the fireplace, paneling and chaise looked in the master bedroom.

And finally, another view of the most uncluttered of bathrooms.

Unfortunately, I have misplaced the article showing the kitchen of Voorhees's Nantucket home.  I will most likely come across it when in the middle of another phase, but to replace that kitchen's absence below is another kitchen designed by Jacobsen.  It has a similar feel to the absent Nantucket kitchen.

Thought I'd end with a view of my shutters so inspired by this Nantucket house. 

Not terribly inspirational shots.  When I become a better photographer like Loi and other bloggers I will include more photos of my home.

One small anecdote - when in the throes of feeling the effects of this cleaner Nantucket look, I changed slipcovers from patterned to khaki, I cleared rooms of any and all extraneous ornaments, I painted rooms white, I used only white daisies.  My husband stood back and watched, then told friends we would soon have nothing left in our house but a "chrome peanut."  It was almost going to be the name of my blog, but took too much explanation.  Now you know and it's our secret.
Pure Style Home Blog
Till next time, dear reader, when the "peanut" will still be in Nantucket.


  1. Hi, Billie -
    From England to Nantucket: I love it! What a way to start the series!! The purity, simplicity, and restraint of this home is contagious. And, still such warmth! Did I tell you I am a big Hugh Newell Jacobsen fan? I have toured his home in Georgetown, and it is fantastic. He is a masterclass architect.

  2. These spare interiors are just my style. All I need is comfortable furniture, my books, a little art and fresh flowers - put it in a white room and that is my idea of perfection. Great post! All best, Phyllis

  3. Billie, your latest post, which I devoured within seconds upon spying it on my screen, made my heart sing. Like you, I try to clean up my palette, try - I mean TRY - to remove things not really needed.... Far from the Chrome peanut look!
    I had to smile at that! Eugenie's house is a retreat!
    Been to England, never to Nantucket, but, oh, I so want to go and tour some houses, if I could!
    In the meantime I still explore the island near me: Manhattan!
    PS: I am so glad to be back among my blog friends!