Personal treasures make a house a home -Fall 2019

by: Leslie Linsley

photography by: Terry Pommett

The Cliff is one of the island’s most sought-after residential areas for its great location. It’s a short walk to town, there’s a bike path out of town, nearby conservation land at Tupancy Links and Sanford Farm, and it’s close to the calm-water beaches of the north shore. But, for one couple who bought on the Cliff nine years ago, the location was purely accidental.

Their first visit to Nantucket was in the 1970s, and like many first-time visitors, even before the ferry had docked, they fell in love with the fairytale town that lay before them. They continued to return, renting different houses each summer in Madaket, Dionis and so on until they finally bought their own house, turning it into a personal expression of their lifestyle over the past nine years.

The library/dining area is open to the living room and the kitchen beyond. The dining table is a classic Saarinen with mismatched Chippendale chairs. Views of the garden are seen through French doors at the opposite end of the room.

The two-story, three-bedroom house they bought was built in the 1970s. Situated sideways on a little dirt lane off Cliff Road, the cottage-style home is tucked behind mature plantings and affords total privacy.

The couple liked the size and layout of the rooms that gave it a very desirable cottage feel, including the charmingly-quirky and intimate under-the-eaves bedrooms, but they felt it seemed to lack a sense of place. There were dizzying patterned-marble countertops in the kitchen, an attempt at exotic lighting that was totally inappropriate, and an enormous hot tub in the otherwise cozy back yard. But the new owners could see beyond all that to all the possibilities.

They felt they could reimagine the simple house to be charming, with the soul of an 18th century New England cottage. The owner was a graduate of the Parsons School of Design, and continued to pursue her interest in design and decorative art through the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, so she had a strong sense of style and a keen eye for art and design.

But she felt she needed the help of a professional to implement her vision. For this she turned to interior designer Ned Marshall, who was spending the summer on Nantucket, away from his hometown of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He was managing Vanessa Noel’s art gallery where the two met, quite accidentally. They hit it off right away and Ned agreed to undertake the project with the help of island tradespeople.

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