A Nantucket Cottage Designed by Suzanne Kasler
May 20, 2020
Text by David Corriveau Photography by Erica George Dines
The big-ticket items—furniture, appliances, carpeting, electronics, modern art—came from away, in one great container on the ferry from Cape Cod to Nantucket.
Then came the part interior designer Suzanne Kasler enjoyed the most: exploring island stores for just the right local accents to delight her clients, an Ohio couple with three young children, during their first summer in their 3,500-square-foot home away from home near Nantucket’s north shore.
“We wanted to bring an indigenous kind of feel to this house,” Kasler says. “Nantucket has so many artisans keeping a variety of crafts alive, from handmade pottery and bowls to hand-woven throws and blankets.”
While shopping for the latter at Nantucket Looms in the island’s historic downtown, Kasler and the homeowner discovered sailors’ valentines—collages of seashells arranged in containers, often octagonal, such as compass boxes. Seamen on long voyages frequently acquired the keepsakes during stops on Barbados in the 1700s and 1800s. Nowadays, Nantucket artisans find a ready market for their own versions among year-rounders and visitors alike. “The ones we got were all handmade, and some are antiques that we found,” Kasler says. “They are my favorite things—the kinds of things that I think make the house more personal.”
Toward that end, four of the sailors’ valentines now enhance a lamp table at the foot of a staircase, and complement the nautical colors in the striped Elizabeth Eakins runner that leads upstairs to the family’s three bedrooms.
Throughout the home, dark-stained furniture and floors make a warm background for the dove-white that characterizes most of the walls, upholstery, bedding, kitchen cabinetry, light fixtures, and rugs. To the predominance of white, Kasler added soft touches of beachy hues, like the pale aqua upholstery on the dining chairs, and the pretty seafoam pillows and bench in the master bedroom.
“They’re chic, cool, and young,” Kasler says of the family. “So we wanted it to be bright and light.”
On the first floor, natural light washes over the open living, kitchen, and dining areas. In the latter, a broad window seat provides a cozy platform for a couple of readers—whether of books with pages or of tablets and phones—to nestle on days too gray for the beach.
The second-floor bedrooms had been painted different colors by the previous owners, but Kasler and her clients opted for the same calming white that covers the downstairs walls. “Except for some wallpaper in a bathroom, we went with white because it makes the spaces, which aren’t huge, feel bigger,” the designer explains.
“Whatever the size of a project, the question is, ‘How is the house going to live?’ ” Kasler says. “In this case, we were going for cozy and cottage-y, for a family of five, with lots of friends coming and going.”
There’s no mistaking the cottage vibe, but Kasler has taken the home a stylish step further, imbuing it with a carefree, modern air that suits the young family that summers here.