Nantucket Style

I loved featuring the exterior beauty and charm of Nantucket on Monday. (Click here to revisit that post) But, I wanted to know more about Nantucket's interior style and decor and needed to seek out an expert for their knowledge in this area. I couldn't think of anyone better to ask than acclaimed designer, Trudy Dujardin of Dujardin Design Associates!  With offices in both Westport, CT and Nantucket, MA, Trudy's experience with this island's decor made her the perfect person to describe quintessential Nantucket style to you. It is my pleasure to have Trudy be my guest today. Enjoy!


I’ve been privileged to spend most of my life on Nantucket, as a visitor when I was a child, and as a part time-resident and owner of five homes on the island as an adult. I’ve designed many homes for clients here over the years, creating peaceful island sanctuaries for busy, successful people. This charming “little grey lady of the sea,” as she is known, is a sought-after vacation destination for beach lovers, history buffs, lovers and friends. It may just be one of earth’s most unspoiled places. People often ask me to define “Nantucket Style.” Different people may answer that in different ways. I tell my clients, “You should know you’re living on an island.” Beyond that, design is led by the client, and their dreams and vision for their home. Still, there are some things that are classic Nantucket. Here are a few of my favorites: Grey-shingled Cottages:

 Courtesy of Union Street Inn

The entire island is designated as a National Historic Landmark, with more than 800 houses built before the Civil War. The grey shingled homes and the morning and evening fog have contributed to the island’s nickname, “the little grey lady of the sea.” These houses have seen their fair share of salt-laden winds and winter squalls. The grey shingles stand up against the weather year after year; the cobblestone streets have lasted for generations as well. Along with the roses tumbling over gates and clinging to trellises, they are a distinct part of Nantucket’s charm.

You Can't Have Too Many Whales: 

At least, not on Nantucket. Islanders first took to whaling in 1712, when they killed their first sperm whale. By the early 1800′s Nantucket was home to whaling ships setting out on voyages that could last for years. Whaling brought prosperity and diversity to the island. For years, the town was a bustling center of commerce, with casks of whale oil and goods from the Orient unloaded daily from the docks. Today, residents pay homage to the rich whaling history with whale art in their homes, whale signs and folk art carvings, and weather vanes. Whaling-related artifacts are popular, too. The authentic whaling logs, above, were mine for many years before I donated them to The Nantucket Historical Association.   Lightship Baskets:

Nantucket Lightship baskets are famous world-wide. They were first crafted by the calloused hands of sailors whiling away salt-sprayed hours on a vessel called a Lightship, an off-shore sentinel stationed at dangerous shoals.When new, they held bread and berries and sewing supplies. The baskets that survive are precious now, perhaps all the more so because once they were not. Today, you’ll find Lightship basket collections in many Nantucket homes. They’re so valued on the island that they have a museum dedicated to them.   Chinese Export Porcelain: Chinese export porcelain is the quintessential island collectible, and has been for years. The technique for using blue decoration on white porcelain actually began in the Middle East in the 9th Century, but cobalt blue pigment was excavated from Iran and exported to China in the 9th Century as well. The striking porcelain quickly became popular, and trading routes expanded to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. Blue and white porcelain found its way to Nantucket as ballast on ships or in the trunks of sea captains and sailors.   Art That Celebrates the Sea:

Blue Horizon, by Michael Keane

The light on Nantucket has inspired artists for years. Marine art abounds in lovely beach homes. Michael Keane’s art (shown above) is a wonderful example of fine art that celebrates the ocean in all its natural beauty. Shows featuring Mr. Keane and other renowned artists are an established tradition on Nantucket, where people who love to sail and love the sea appreciate seascapes and ships recreated in art.   Scrimshaw: Scrimshaw is the beautiful art form first practiced beginning in 1749, in the days of whaling ships, wizened sea captains and hardy sailors. Whaling was a dangerous undertaking and could never be attempted at night, leaving sailors with free time on their hands. They used it for carving elaborate pictures, lettering and scroll work on the bones and teeth of sperm whales and the tusks of walruses and other marine animals. The work they left behind is a treasured collectible today. Today, scrimshaw artists (called scrimshanders) work with eco-friendly or man-made materials, including cow bones, antlers and ostrich eggs.   The Colors of Sand and Sea:

The creamy tones of a sandy beach, the blues and greens of waves at daybreak, cloud-streaked sky and white-capped waves all inspire a tranquil palette for an ocean front home. Blue and white are classic color choices, with pale taupes and yellows a soothing backdrop for weekend and vacation living. Walks on the beach at sunrise and sunset inspire gentle washes of color on walls, floors, and fabric. It’s possible to achieve island-style living in any home, and bring Nantucket’s beauty to your interiors no matter you live.


Thank you, Trudy, for sharing such wonderful insight about Nantucket style. For more information about Trudy Dujardin and Dujardin Design Associates, please see below:


Trudy Dujardin

Dujardin Design Associates





Interior Design Blog

(All images courtesy of Trudy Dujardin unless otherwise noted)