Dress Code: Casual
It’s a little bit beachy, it’s a little bit rock ’n’ roll. Skull Cottage, the cozy Nantucket retreat of Boston-area interior designer Maureen Griffin-Balsbaugh and husband Richie Balsbaugh, radio magnate and owner of the Boston nightclub Saint, combines coastal charm and full-time fun. Beach towels sit in a wicker basket just inside the front door. Bikes and scooters in the basement await riders.
“For us, it’s paradise the minute we get on the island—everything else goes away,” says Maureen. And they wanted to be able to share that with friends and family. “I definitely had entertaining in mind while designing. A comfortable flow was number one in my mind.”
Maureen, who got her start in clothing design but missed the client connection, has designed spaces for seven years, including those of several music industry bigwigs. Enter the cottage’s rock ’n’ roll flair. Alongside the sea sponges, starfish and other beach accoutrements that firmly anchor the home in its island setting are a few well-placed skulls—thus the cottage name. They’re a nod to the skull and crossbones, that universal symbol of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle adopted from the Jolly Roger of yore, reflecting the couple’s strong ties to the rock industry. Skulls pop up in the form of plates from Barneys, candles and lamps from Maxfield’s in L.A., and, naturally, two Skull-brand surfboards—one pink and one black and white.
The skulls are a personal and playful touch in step with the mood of the cottage—relaxed, comfortable, kick-back. “There’s no true formality here; that’s what this house is all about,” says Maureen.
Rock on, Skull Cottage, rock on.
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New England Home showcases the unique architecture and superior design and building that define the luxury home in New England. From cutting edge lofts to historic dwellings, New England Home is your guide to the very best of New England style. Each issue includes beautifully produced images of our area’s most amazing homes, along with profiles of artists and artisans and all the latest resources and design trends.