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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.