Home at Last

Text by Megan Fulweiler  Photography by Greg Premru Produced by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Beautiful, historical, romantic—what’s not to love about Nantucket?  Everything is charming, from the shops to the cobblestone streets. And the houses, well, adorned with colorful window boxes and bathed in the summer sun, they’re enough to take your breath away.

The owners of this house had been frequent island visitors for years. Finally weary of hotels, they set out to claim a Nantucket nest for themselves. Having made over a Vermont farmhouse with the guidance of interior designer Amy Thebault, the couple were familiar with the foibles of old buildings.

This time, though, they were in no mood for a fixer upper. “We swore we wouldn’t purchase anything that needed a renovation,” recalls the wife. “But, famous last words….”

Fortunately, Manchester, Vermont-based Thebault welcomes travel. She was thrilled for her clients and more than ready to roll up her sleeves again. “We’ve completed a number of projects,” the designer says. “I consider them good friends.”

Their happy relationship was a solid starting point for what turned out to be a major overhaul. With the aid of local architects Lisa Botticelli and Ray Pohl, the nineteenth-century house was gutted to its bones and carefully reborn. Today’s handsome reconfigured exterior fits snugly into place with its neighbors.

The fresh, comfortable interior is perfectly in tune, too. There’s some blue and white—a famed by-the-sea combo—of course. But Thebault avoids the beachy-kitsch with a handsome palette that also includes cream, green, and brown. The last “a reminder of Mother Nature,” the designer explains.

The coziest spot, and a popular rainy-day haven, is the paneled study with its forest-colored sectional and velvet-clad ottoman. An antique chest with nailhead trim steps up as an end table. And for punch, there’s a vibrant window shade and pillows wearing a textural Schumacher fabric based on an old embroidery design.

Living, dining, and kitchen areas share the new great room, which, for added character, sports a host of salvaged wooden beams. The ceiling drops low to define the cooking space with its commanding Lacanche range. At the opposite end, where on cold nights a fire blazes, the ceiling soars. The owners use the walls flanking the hearth to show off their collection of antique majolica plates. Directly above the fireplace, a decorative eagle spreads its wings.

Meals unfold nearby around a hefty antique table with handsome woven-back barrel chairs at each end. A harpoon chandelier by Paul Ferrante is a fun reminder of Nantucket’s whaling legacy.

Many of the home’s unique elements and accessories—everything from dragon sculptures to lobster plates—were scored by the owners and Thebault on joint field trips. “It’s satisfying professionally and personally to have clients who are so involved,” the designer says.

Without a cliché in sight, this home still makes clear its Nantucket bona fides. Even the bedrooms keep in step. A blue chest in the master bedroom boasts bone inlay as artful as scrimshaw, and guestrooms welcome visitors with charming antique quilts and pillows lovingly needlepointed by the homeowner.

The island’s true flavor might have eluded less capable hands, but Thebault has helped her friends successfully bring it home. 

Architecture: Lisa Botticelli and Ray Pohl, Botticelli & Pohl
Interior design:  Amy Thebault, Amy Thebault Design
Builder:  Scott O’Connor, O’Connor Custom Builders
Landscape design: Julie Jordin, The Garden Design Company

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