Bold Comfort

Michael Partenio
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The single mom of three young boys has run out of time for lingering at the Nantucket coffee shop. She’s scheduled to build beehives. “I’ve decided to do something about all the disappearing bees we’re reading about in the papers. Guess how much ten thousand bees cost—seventy-nine dollars!” she says, dashing off.

If she instills in this project the same thoughtful, modern spirit that informed the 2,700-square-foot renovation and addition just completed for herself, her boys and a West Highland terrier, the bees are in luck. Her team—Joe Paul of BPC Architecture in Nantucket; Merilee Noorani, a New York- and London-based interior designer; and Steve Nideau of Woodmeister Master Builders in Holden, Massachusetts—faced a design challenge that was in many ways the reverse of what’s so often the case. They hardly had to prod their client into the modern age of bold, clean lines; she was already there, a minimalist at heart. “No, no, no,” Noorani found herself exclaiming more than once in one of their teasing tugs-of-war, “you need comfort too. You need those antique Moroccan lanterns. You need a living room where the boys’ shin guards don’t look out of place.”

The homeowner wanted to connect to Nantucket while steering clear of island clichés. No lightship baskets, rollicking blue anchors on white linens, or other nautical iconography would infiltrate her island retreat. And yes, while she would have Nantucket beadboard, it would be horizontal instead of vertical—turning the cliché on its ear, so to speak. The real coastal connection would have to be much more subtle.

Joe Paul, BPC Architecture
Merilee Noorani
Woodmeister Master Builders
Stacy Kunstel

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