Nantucket Goes Modern

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I was fortunate to spend a lot of time on Nantucket this summer. Nantucket is an island 30 miles out to sea,south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is known for its beautiful beaches, grey shingle houses covered in roses, it’s historic whaling tradition and hand woven “Nantucket” baskets.

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My New Dawn roses in full bloom !
My New Dawn roses in full bloom !

There is a Historic District Commission on the island that dictates every aspect of the design and construction of the houses, and has kept any and all chain stores (with the exception of Ralph Lauren) and fast food franchises from reaching our shores.

Photo by: follow pics.net
Photo by: follow pics.net

Traditionally homes on the island were decorated in nautical or casual chic beachy style. Think white walls, sea grass carpets, and overstuffed upholstered furniture in any shade of blue or sea green or simply slipcovered in white duck.

Photo: nauticalcottageblog.com
Photo: nauticalcottageblog.com
Photo: living.msn.com
Photo: living.msn.com

More formal homes along Main Street and in the downtown area, reflected the islands whaling tradition and were decorated in 19th century antiques with mahogany furniture, gilded mirrors and oriental carpets.

Photo: bummersaheadyay.blogspot.com
Photo: bummersaheadyay.blogspot.com

Thanks to the Historic District Commission all the homes look the same on the outside, but oh how things have changed on the inside! The young families building on the island now, have embraced the 20th Century and modern design trend that is popular today and have redefined island chic.

I was fortunate to be invited to tour a fabulous new house designed by the architectural firm BPC Architecture, and decorated as a collaborative project with Jennifer Palumbo doing the soft furnishings, Joel Olson designing the bathrooms, stone, tile and lighting and built by Joe Gamberoni of Cross Rip Builders. The original house was torn down and a wonderfully traditional shingle home was built in its place.

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Apart from the grey shingles and white trim nothing is traditional about this house. The minute I entered the front door the design features in this house” wow” you. I was so impressed with the clean white linear elements of the walls and glass staircases. As you enter the front door a fabulous curved wall creates the foyer and distinguishes the living room from the entrance.

A fantastic light fixture in the entry. The free standing curved wall creates the divide between the living room and foyer.
A fantastic light fixture in the entry and the free standing curved wall creates the divide between the living room and foyer.
Glass, wood and chrome staircase.
The glass, wood and chrome staircase.
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The more formal living area.
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The fireplace serves as a room divide as well.

A floating fireplace serves as the divide between the kitchen, family room and more formal living area. The light fixtures are modern white spheres or wonderful glass globes with a simple bulb that complement the modern clean lines of the house design.

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The bedroom furniture is built into the walls and closets, so no need for dressers or armoires. Platform beds with upholstered headboards and side tables that float from the walls are an integral part of the clean crisp design.

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Everything is white, glass and chrome or natural wood with just pops of color in each room. The August issue of N magazine of Nantucket featured a similarly modern new home built on Squam road, by a London couple that summers on the island. The article titled “Starting Fresh” shows some amazing interior and exterior shots of the new pool, pool house, and glass stairways that connect the different areas of the home. The original house on the property was owned by the infamous former CEO of Tyco International.

It is hard to believe these modern design concepts have reached the shores of this old whaling island, but as you can see it has! One can see from opening any decorating magazine that modern and 20th century design is the fashion just now.

In response to this trend Kaminski Auctions now holds 3-4 modern auctions a year . This weekend on Sunday September 22, 2013 Kaminski will hold its fall 20th Century and Decorative Arts sale starting at 10:00am. Curated by our new 20th century specialist Kathryn Wilkins formerly of Treadway-Toomey Galleries in Cincinnati, Ohio. If you are a modern enthusiast check out this fabulous sale at our website www.kaminskiauctions.com today!