Island Introspective

Text by Tovah Martin

If you find Michelle Holland staring out the window, that means she’s percolating. “My inspiration comes from nature,” says the interior designer, which explains the woodsy hues that prevail in her studio within Nantucket House Antiques & Interior Design. Holland holds forth in an idea-filled cocoon of a room with resources, from design books to fabric and wallcovering samples to a trove of antiques and art, at her fingertips.

The studio’s palette predates her tenure by a generation, but respect for the past is what she’s all about. “Actually, several shades of green are layered here,” explains Holland of the hues that move from fern to shamrock, developed over time and countless coats of paint. “It’s a charming mismatch,” she says. “Imperfection lends authenticity to a space.”

Nantucket House was the base camp of her mother-in-law, Sandi Holland, also an interior designer and an icon for style on the island. Sandi and her husband, Hudson, came to Nantucket in 1973, when it was a far-flung outpost, and Sandi saw to the needs of a clientele with no design resources within three hours. Michelle took the reins in 2012, leaving her antique shop in Shelburne, Vermont, and bringing her eclectic design eye to the business.

In the cozy studio, each client gets a wicker basket into which Holland tosses swatches, paint chips, and snapshots for the project. What won’t fit in those baskets is the incredible inventory of antiques at her fingertips in the shop’s catacomb of rooms layered with historic maps, sailor’s valentines, and seafaring artwork. That vast collection gives her projects their depth while honoring the island’s heritage and capturing the dignity and sophistication she strives to convey.

Nantucket House is the sort of place that invites you to simply sit and soak in the sense of past that defines Nantucket. That’s exactly what Holland does with her days. For inspiration, she need not go far. She just breathes it in.

Nantucket House Antiques & Interior Design, Nantucket, Mass.

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