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Cool, Calm & Creative Nantucket Cottage

An original humble dwelling in Nantucket became a year-round retreat

Written by Pamela J. Wilson
  • Bruce Buck

    A path of crushed seashells leads to the arbored garden entrance and the gabled cottage on Nantucket where Boston interior designer Nancy Serafini and her husband, Joe, relax on the weekends. A series of renovations and additions has turned the original humble dwelling into an appealing year-round retreat.

    Interior design: Nancy Serafini, Homeworks, 251R Washington St., Wellesley Hills, MA 002481; 781/237-7666. Landscape gardener: Julie Jordin, The Garden Design Co., Nantucket, MA, 508/325-4080.

    Photography: Bruce Buck
    Produced by Estelle Bond Guralnick

    Trim paint: Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667. White fencing ; arbor : by Botticelli & Pohl Architects, 508/228-5455. Crushed-shell driveway: Clean Cut Landscape, 508/221-8270.

  • Bruce Buck

    Nancy prepares to set off on a relaxing, island-style bike ride. "Nantucket is the core of our social life," she says. "What I enjoy most is spending time with my family and friends."

  • Bruce Buck

    In the living room, artful elements include an itinerant-style painting by David Wiggins hanging behind the sofa, a flock of folk-art birds, and an antique majolica pitcher of garden flowers. The simple window treatments consist of sheer taupe-and-beige checked cotton, pleated and hung from slender iron rods placed at café height.

    Wall paint ("Ballroom Blue’’ #24): Farrow & Ball, 888/511-1121,
    Trim paint ("Ivory White’’ #925): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667.
    Sofas; club chairs; chair and ottoman: designed by Nancy Serafini, Homeworks, 781/237-7666.
    Fabrication: Partners in Design, 617/965-1950, trade only.
    Sofa fabric ("Clement Woven Texture’’/Sand #89579-057): Brunschwig & Fils, 212/838-7878, trade only.
    Sofa trim ("Arlington Wide Braid’’/Beige #5410/08 by Colefax & Fowler): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, trade only.
    Sofa pillows: Nantucket Looms,
    Painting above sofa (by David B. Wiggins): David B. Wiggins, 603/267-1980 or 802/272-7570,
    Blue chair fabric ("Wilburn’’/Blue #402318): Travers, 212/888-7900, trade only.
    Plaid chair and ottoman fabric ("Kentmere Check’’/ Beige #F3113-02 by Colefax & Fowler): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, trade only.
    Drapery ("Siasconset’’/ Taffy #938006-06): Rogers & Goffigon, 212/888-3242, trade only.
    Rug ("The Good Life’’ in Classic Blue, #K9): Williston Weaves, 617/969-5550, trade only.
    Rattan coffee table and lamps (" Rattan Basket Table Lamp’’): Icon Group, 617/428-0655, trade only.
    End table ("Twiggy Tea Table’’ #10051-OCT-75): Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 617/266-0075,
    Basket on end table: R.C. Bowen, 207/985-8186, trade only.Chandelier ("French Iron Chandelier’’ #10-01081-35-06): Niermann Weeks, 212/319/7979, trade only.
    Round table by sofa; bird on pedestal; antique wooden box; majolica pitcher: owner’s collection.

  • Bruce Buck

    There’s a cozy seating area around the fireplace, where old wooden bowling balls line the mantel. "They’re not your typical mantel adornments, and that’s why I snatched them up when I saw them sitting in a basket in a dusty corner of an antiques shop," Nancy says. "They’re quirky, and that’s what I like." Fabrics all stay within the light blue palette to suggest a calm, cooling place to enjoy the summer months.

    Sconces (Dark Natural finish): The Martin Group, 617/951-2526, trade only.
    Wicker chair and ottoman ; sewing stand ; chair by fireplace; primitive animal portraits; Staffordshire animals; antique teapots; ceramic pieces; wooden spheres: owner’s collection.
    Upholstered-chair fabric (" Arles’’ #PRV05004): Zoffany, 800/395-8760, trade only.
    Fabric on wicker chair (discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 212/838-7878, trade only.
    Flag painting above mantel (by Mellie Cooper): Janis Aldridge Inc., 508/228-6673 and 202/338-7710.
    Tile surround (tumbled green marble): The Tile Room Nantucket, 508/325-4732,

  • Bruce Buck

    In the back corner of the living room a painted table with rattan chairs is a perfect change of scenery for a summer morning breakfast. An blue-painted folk-art mirror on the wall is one of Nancy’s antique finds.

    Game table ; chairs ; painting ; folk-art mirror: owner’s collection.

  • Bruce Buck

    The dining room is enlivened by displays of Nancy’s English pottery and creamware collections and an old ship’s wheel.

    Wall paint ("String’’ #8): Farrow & Ball, 888/511-1121,
    Trim paint ("Ivory White’’ #925): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/ 236-6667.
    Table : Highsmith, 800/664-1235,, trade only.
    Windsor chairs: (discontinued, similar to " Philadelphia Windsor Chair’’ #43-1030): Habersham Designs, 800/422-3774,
    Chair-seat fabric ("Wheaton Plaid’’/Aqua #10884-02): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, trade only.
    Needlepoint rug: Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000, trade only.
    Ship’s wheel; sideboard: owner’s collection.
    Swan signs: Old Spouter Gallery, 508/325-9988.
    Track lighting: Lightolier, 800/215-1068,

  • Bruce Buck

    A botanical rug in soft taupe, coral, and pink sets the soothing tone of the master bedroom. White woodwork gives the room a cool and serene palette, perfect for those hot summer days.

  • Bruce Buck

    Cheer pervades the guest room, with its apple-green walls and a pair of colorful ’50s-era appliquéd quilts—one adorning the bed, the other used to upholster the headboard.

    Wall paint ("Spring Meadow Green’’ #2031-40); trim paint (#925): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667.
    Valance, pillow and dust-ruffle fabric ("Halsey Cotton Check’’/Sky Blue and Spring Green #89505-M24): Brunschwig & Fils, 212/838-7878, trade only.
    Green pillows : Pottery Barn, 800/922-5507.
    Bed cover: Ralph Lauren Home , 888/475-7674,
    End tables ("Beatrice End Table’’/Bright White #MC7120): Maine Cottage Furniture, 888/859-5522,
    Yellow lamp : Susan Sargent Designs, 800/245-4767.
    Chest of drawers: Lion’s Paw, 508/228-3837.
    Rug: Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000, trade only.
    Green ceramic pitchers: Best of the Beach, 508/228-6263.
    Floral prints: Roger Lussier Gallery, 617/536-0069.
    Quilts ; white pillows: owner’s collection.

  • Bruce Buck

    A brick path and a pair of weathered benches create a forecourt to the garden beyond, abloom with color three seasons of the year.

    Brick patio: Clean Cut Landscape, 508/221-8270.
    Benches (Henry Hall): through George & Francis Davison, 617/348-2870, trade only.
    Arbor (custom): Botticelli & Pohl Architects, 508/228-5455.
    Bird house: Salt Meadows Antiques, 508/228-0230.

  • The Sidecar, price available upon request from Moore & Giles [1-800-737-0169]

    This beautifully crafted bar cart, The Sidecar by Moore and Giles, is a great way to store liquor, glassware, bar tools, and anything else needed to complete your own miniature bar. The cart, made of Virginia black walnut, birch, leather, aluminum, and brass, is wheeled to make sure the party can travel with you. Perfect for drink-lovers without the space for a full bar.