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Before and After: Eco-Friendly Summer Home

A light, bright, eco-friendly summer home

Written by Amy Elbert
  • Terry Pommett

    Big houses sometimes own you rather than you owning them, says New England designer Trudy Dujardin. “They’re hard to heat, they’re hard to keep clean, and they end up taking a lot of your time.”

    So when Trudy Dujardin and her husband, Frank Fasanella, toured a 2,600-square-foot cottage on the western tip of Nantucket Island, they knew they’d found their summer home. “The main thing my husband fell in love with was the scale of this house. It’s very manageable,” Trudy says. “Most of the time it’s just the two of us here with our three little dogs. It’s perfect for us at this stage of our lives.”

    ​Trudy and Frank were captivated by the scenic location, sandwiched between Madaket Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean—the beach for watching sunsets, according to Nantucket travel guides. While the size and location were right—and the 1965 house had been well cared for—it wasn’t quite in move-in condition for Trudy.

    “I have chemical sensitivities, so I wanted to be careful,” explains the designer, who has practiced environmentally sensitive design since 1987. Trudy currently teaches sustainable design at Fairfield University in Connecticut and is a member of the Traditional Home Green Advisory Panel.

    Her first step was to ask an industrial hygienist at Mircroecologies Environmental Services in New York to test the house for toxins lingering in building materials. Built-in shelves around the fireplace in the living room and in the library tested high in formaldehyde, a chemical often used in plywood. To replace them, Trudy designed built-ins, which were made by an island carpenter using solid woods with no formaldehyde and finished with nontoxic paints.

    Frank wanted to keep the energy-efficient wood-burning fireplace, so Trudy updated it with a charcoal Lagos Azul limestone surround and hearth. Above the fireplace, she added a lintel hand-carved by a Nantucket artist, the late Jack Flandreau. The lintel’s mother and baby whale were carved into a pine beam salvaged from an old Nantucket building.

    In keeping with her “buy local” philosophy, Trudy worked with Nantucket artisans and tradespeople throughout the project, including cabinetmakers, painters, and masons. “You need to support the community you’re in,” she says.

    Trudy stayed with the house’s original floor plan but lightened and brightened the main living spaces by whitewashing knotty pine walls and ceilings with water-based, nontoxic paints.

    The living room was furnished for comfort-—both for people and the three resident Bichons—with easy-care fabrics and a crisp navy-and-white color scheme. “We wanted a casual beach look so we could come in with sand on our shoes or sit on the living room sofa with a wet bathing suit and not worry about it,” Trudy says.

    A linen-wrapped cocktail table adds a sophisticated attitude to the living room. Trudy had the table custom-made, using nontoxic glues and paints, after admiring a similar Karl Springer design. The redesigned table exemplifies one of Trudy’s passions: working with manufacturers to develop sustainable and nontoxic furniture.

    French doors in the living room open to a new screened porch, built where there had been a deck.

    “It was too hot and bright during the day to sit on the deck,” Trudy relates. “Now we sleep, work, and read on the porch. It’s like we doubled the size of our house just by adding the porch.”

    The master bedroom is serene with white painted walls and ceilings (once knotty pine) and accents in tones of sea glass—pale blue and sea-foam green. French doors open to a small balcony with impressive views of the harbor.

    The kitchen also needed a lighter touch. Solid cherry cabinets were in good condition but made the room feel “dreary.” Trudy couldn’t bear to tear out good cabinets, so she had them sanded and painted white. “That exploded the space visually,” she says.

    The dark granite countertops, however, had to go. They were replaced with a honed Danby marble from a New England supplier. Happily, before the old granite was unloaded at the island’s recycling site, the slabs were snapped up by another renovator.

    Less visible—but no less important in creating a healthful environment—were updated mechanicals, such as a ventilation system that exchanges inside air every 20 minutes to lower the level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). “My highest priority is health, so I start with that when I design,” Trudy says. “I feel whatever cubicle you’re in—whether it’s a factory, office, store, or especially your home—it needs to support your health, your sense of well-being, and your life.”

    Photography: Terry Pommett

    Architect/interior design: Trudy Dujardin, Dujardin Design Assoc. Inc., P.O. Box 5202, Westport, CT 06881; 203/838-8100,
    Flowers throughout: Flowers on Chestnut, 508/228-6007.

  • Terry Pommett

    Living Room

    Wood Hunter Douglas blinds filter the bright summer sun and provide privacy. French doors lead to a new porch.

    Sofa and loveseat (custom): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Sofa, loveseat and pillow fabric (“Raffles”/Marine); welt (“Raffles”/Ivory): Summer Hill Ltd, no longer in business.
    Trim for pillows (#B145-2): Passementerie Inc., 212/355-7600.
    Cocktail table (custom): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Basket on table (by Fred Ely): Dane Gallery, 508/228-7779,
    Throw: Nantucket Looms, 508/228-1908,
    Floor lamp (“Single-Arm Floor Lamp” #L920): John Boone Inc., 212/758-0012,
    Wicker chair (“St. Germain” #WS-20); ottoman (“St. Germain” #WS-21): McGuire, 415/241-1228,
    Chair and ottoman fabric (“Montara”/Snow #1699): Pindler & Pindler, 805/531-9090,
    Table lamp (“Cylinder Lamp”/Murano glass): The Wicker Works, 415/558-6700,
    Table under cylinder lamp (“Target Side Table” #343): McGuire, 415/241-1228,
    Sconces (#NAW0510, #NAW31, polished lacquered brass/glass shade): Nessen Lighting, 914/698-7799, Available through Calger Lighting, 212/689-9511.
    Area rug (“Ebony”/Tusk, flat wool woven): Beatrice and Martin, 215/569-2124,
    Blue-and-white garden stool: owner’s collection.
    Blinds (“Country Woods”/White): Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, 800/274-2985,
    Console (by designer Ben Baldwin): owner’s collection.
    Paint (custom mix): EnviroSafe Paint, 210/657-5321.

  • Terry Pommett

    Living Room Details

    An antique wooden chest adorned with mementos brings a dose of Nantucket’s nautical roots indoors.

    Campaign chest (antique); ship’s Woolie (antique): owner’s collection.
    Painting on easel: by George Thomas, 508/228-5303,

  • BEFORE Living Room Bar & Fireplace Area

    The home’s original bar and fireplace lie at the end of the living room.

  • Terry Pommett

    AFTER Living Room Fireplace Area

    A unique antique tortoise shell and custom carved lintel bring warmth to the updated fireplace mantel.

    Mantel design: Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Mantel construction: John Arakawa, 508/228-6153.
    Wood carving of whale in mantel (by Jack Flandreau); scrimshaw antique tortoise shell; lighting implements; tea caddy: owner’s collection.
    Wall paint (custom mix); cabinet paint (custom mix): EnviroSafe Paint, 210/657-5321

  • Terry Pommett

    AFTER Living Room Bar Area

    Dujardin redesigned the bar’s cabinetry. By providing more counter space as well as drawers and a wine refrigerator below, the functionality of the bar increased dramatically.

    Bar design: Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Bar construction: John Arakawa, 508/228-6153.
    Wine refrigerator: KAM Appliances, 508/332-4907,
    Accessories; glassware: owner’s collection

  • Terry Pommett

    Dining Room

    A glass-top table and upholstered chairs from McGuire anchor the dining area, which opens to the living room and kitchen.


    Table: chairs: McGuire, 415/241-1228,
    Fabric on chair front (discontinued); fabric on chair back (discontinued): Hinson & Co. through Donghia, 914/662-2377,
    Ship’s lantern (“Captain’s Lantern,” discontinued): Hinson Lighting, 914/881-1473. Server (“Wright Table” #427, solid cherry, custom non-toxic finish): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Art (by Rose Gonnella): owner’s collection.


    The house was built on the western tip of Nantucket Island in 1965.

  • Terry Pommett


    The cedar-shingled house has a roof walk accessed by a ladder from the second-level bedroom. The screened side porch was added at the far end of the cottage, replacing a deck.

    Landscaping: Sconset Gardener, 508/228-3422,





  • Terry Pommett

    Screened Porch

    Bichon G.G. enjoys seaside breezes on a teak sofa covered in durable Sunbrella fabric.

    Pets are particularly vulnerable to toxic chemicals such as the pesticides and insecticides used in homes and outdoors on lawns and gardens, says environmental designer Trudy Dujardin, who has three Bichons—G.G., Tuffy, and Ellie. “Dogs and cats absorb through the pads in their feet, plus they’re close to the ground. Constant exposure to toxins can slowly poison them,” she says. Trudy suggests mechanically aerating lawns and applying corn gluten fertilizers as a safe alternative. More ideas for healthful living for people and pets are on Trudy’s Web site,


    Teak sofa, chair, cocktail table (“Avignon,” by Smith & Hawken): Target,
    Sofa and chair cushions (by Sunbrella); pillows (by Sunbrella): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Madaket sign; antique fishing net; wall lantern (vintage): owner’s collection.

  • BEFORE Kitchen

    The original kitchen cabinetry was solid cherry wood, which was painted white to brighten the space. The granite countertops were also replaced with a lighter marble.

  • Terry Pommett

    AFTER Kitchen

    Existing wood cabinets were brightened with EnviroSafe paint —“one of the very first companies to create a line of no-VOC paints,” Trudy says.



    Pendant lights (“Bulkhead Fixed Pendant” #UA251-F-EL): Urban Archaeology, 212/371-4646,
    Tile (Basix White): Ken Mason Tile/BCIA, 562/432-7574,
    Refrigerator: GE Appliances, 800/626-2005,
    Island sink: Kohler, 800/456-4537,
    Island faucet: Klaff’s Home Design Store, 800/552-3371,
    Bar stools: designed by Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Paint (custom mix): EnviroSafe Paint, 210/657-5321

  • Terry Pommett


    An antique rug is layered over a wool Stark carpet in the sun-drenched library. Walls were finished to mimic textural grass cloth.



    Built-in cabinetry design: Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Fabrication: John Arakawa, 508/228-6153.
    Sofa (“Mayfair” #SF387, by Edward Ferrell): Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, 336/841-3028,
    Sofa fabric (natural linen texture): Roth & Tompkins, 203/899-1622,
    Nautical fabric on pillows and window-seat cushion (discontinued): Lee Jofa, 800/453-3563,
    Telephone table (#FM178): John Boone Inc., 212/758-0012,
    Coffee table (antique French campaign chest); kilim rug (antique): owner’s collection.
    Carpet (sisal): Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000,
    Blinds (“Country Woods”/White): Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, 800/274-2985,
    Valance fabrics (“Dunsmuir”/Vanilla #1652): Pindler & Pindler, 805/531-9090,
    Wall finish (custom faux finish): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Art over sofa (by John Stobart): Quidley Quidley & Co., 508/228-4300,
    Series of 4 drawings (antique prints): owner’s collection

  • Terry Pommett

    Library Desk Area

    Walls were painted to mimic the look of grass cloth, creating a warm backdrop for a favorite Kittinger chair covered with a Brunschwig & Fils plaid fabric.




    Desk (“Chippendale Table Desk” #98-7242): Councill, 336/859-2155, councill.comDesk chair: owner’s collection.
    Chair fabric (vintage Kittinger, discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880,
    Desk lamp (#NT303, polished lacquered brass/white paper shade): Nessen Lighting, 914/698-7799, Available through Calger Lighting, 212/689-9511.
    Nantucket memorabilia: owner’s collection.

  • BEFORE Guest Bedroom

    The home’s original guest bedroom featured classic beadboard wainscoting, plantation shutters, and a wooden shelf over the bed.

  • Terry Pommett

    AFTER Guest Bedroom

    Colorful vintage sand pails and pillows covered in a crab fabric from Country Swedish pop against white walls and a Ralph Lauren bed cover. By painting the shelving white, the room feels bright and airy.



    Headboard (“Island Headboard”); one-drawer night table: Maine Cottage, 888/859-5522,
    Duvet; pillows; shams: designed by Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Duvet and sham fabric (white matelassé): Ralph Lauren, 888/475-7674,
    Nautical pillow fabric, blue (“Stranden” #004-254): Country Swedish, 212/838-1976,
    Sand pails; beach toys (vintage, tin chromolithograph): owner’s collection.
    Table lamp (vintage): owner’s collection.
    Paint (custom mix): EnviroSafe Paint, 210/657-5321.
    Lobster border on walls: Renaissance Ribbons, 877/422-6601,

  • Terry Pommett

    Guest Room Sitting Area

    A daybed in the guest room provides space for extra houseguests, or just a place to relax with a book.




    Daybed (“Island Settee”): Maine Cottage, 888/859-5522,
    Bed cover (white matelassé): Ralph Lauren, 888/475-7674, ralphlaurenhome.comNautical pillow fabric, red (“Stranden” #004-231); nautical pillow fabric, blue (“Stranden” #004-254): Country Swedish, 212/838-1976, countryswedish.comVintage 20s bathing suit: owner’s collection.
    Director’s chair: Marine Home Center, 508/228-0900,

  • Terry Pommett

    Master Bedroom

    The master bedroom features dreamy hues of sea glass, accented with warm gold to reflect the beaches outside. The slant of the roof provides high sloped ceilings.



    Bed (custom): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Bed linens (custom); night table (custom); chair (custom): designed by Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Chair fabric (“Dede Check”/Lagoon): Summer Hill Ltd., no longer in business.
    Night table fabricaton: CB Kearney Fine Woodworking, 781/576-9171,
    Sconces by bed (“Courtney Single Sconce” #UA0018-1-IS): Urban Archaeology, 212/371-4646,
    Sconces by window: owner’s collection.
    Drapery and valance (“Eden”/Snow): Summer Hill Ltd., no longer in business.
    Trim: Lee Jofa, 453-3563,
    Stool: Ralph Lauren Home, 888/475-7674,
    Carpet: Stark Carpet, 212/752-9000,
    Throw: Nantucket Looms, 508/228-1908,
    Painting (by Anthony Panzera): Quidley & Co., 508/228-4300, quidleyandco.comPlantation shutters (custom): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100,
    Paint (custom mix): EnviroSafe Paint, 210/657-5321

  • Terry Pommett

    Trudy Dujardin

    Homeowner and designer Trudy Dujardin outside her home on Nantucket.




  • More Eco-Friendly Ideas

    See more inspirational ideas to keep your home safe for you and the environment. Take a look at another featured GreenSpace in our presentation of Healthy Home.