East Coast Home + Design Article

We love when our projects appear in magazines, where we can share the beautiful photography and background on our design choices with all of you! This month, East Coast Home + Design Magazine featured one of my favorite houses on Nantucket: the Pavilion-style home by famous architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen. Open, airy, and light-filled, our task was to revitalize the interiors with gently green principles. Editor Shelley McCormick and writer Deborah Brannon did a wonderful job. I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall in Love with Your Bedroom

Trudy Dujardin

“When I woke up this morning, my girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said, ‘No, I made a few mistakes.'”–Stephen Wright, American Comic

It’s hard to seriously imagine making mistakes while you’re sleeping, but if you’re designing a bedroom, there are good and better choices for your lifelong health. During sleep, your body works to remove any toxins that you were exposed to during the day.  A beautiful, serene environment that soothes you at the end of your day is best when it also supports your health.

Sleep is the time for cellular repair, for rejuvenation, for restoration of energy and health for both body and mind.That’s why, more than any other room in the house, you want your bedroom to be a pristine environment. You may be surprised to learn that your bedroom can be a repository of potentially harmful chemicals. Conventional mattresses, for example, are made with petroleum-based polyester and polyurethane foam, then treated with flame retardants. Those chemicals can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that become part of the air you breathe.

Pillows are also often made of synthetic materials that are treated with chemical finishing agents. Other sources of possible chemical contamination: Carpets, wall paint, wood furniture, even your cotton pajamas. With everything else you have on your mind, you don’t need worries about the health of your bedroom to keep you up at night.

Fortunately, there are products available to ensure your rest is undisturbed by allergens, toxins, or chemical vapors. For my interior design clients, I recommend using natural furnishings and finishes free of formaldehyde, VOCs, and petroleum-based products. Here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure a healthful night’s sleep:

Choose low or no-VOC paints for your walls and wood trim. Paints can emit VOCs over a long period of time, so just airing out the room may not be sufficient.

Choose hardwood floors (easiest to clean), finish them with water-based sealants (one of my favorites is Basic Coatings), and finally, cover them with organic wool or cotton area rugs.

Select an organic mattress, made with natural latex, wool or organic cotton. Be sure your pillows are natural as well. You can find pillows filled with organic wool or natural latex foam, and covered with organic cotton. Non-organic cotton is a heavily-toxin laden fabric. Cotton is grown in fields soaked in insecticides; dyes and color fixers use heavy metals such as chromium, copper, and zinc.

When choosing wood furniture, consider eco-friendly wood products that are FSC-certified, a designation from the Forest Stewardship Council ensuring that the wood was grown and harvested in a way that protects forests for the long term. Antique furniture is beautiful, and has the added benefit of no longer emitting harmful gases from wood or finishes.

Clear the air by adding a room air-purifier, or go one step further and install a central filtration system. Models are available that filter particulates (pollen, dander, and mold) and vapors (formaldehyde).

Remember that a good night’s sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you follow even one of these suggestions, you’ll be taking a step forward in improving the health of yourself, your family, and the earth. After many years of devoting my work to sustainable design, my clients tell me they sleep easy. I want that for you as well.

Let the Sun Shine In!

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After a long, cool spring in the Northeast, the calendar–and the weather–have agreed that summer has finally arrived. Let’s throw open the windows and doors, and rethink the way we live at home. it’s easy to feel as F. Scott Fitzgerald did when he said, “I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

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Start with spring cleaning: To fully embrace the beauty of balmy breezes and abundant sunshine, we need to remove winter’s dry stuffy air from the house, and scrub the hidden spaces where dust collects. We don’t need to bring toxic cleaning products into our homes. It’s better to clean with baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar, or else choose environmentally friendly products, rather than dousing our living space with chemicals.  I’ve written about how to Clean Green before: read more here. 

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Think about re-establishing order. Stacks of books and blankets left by the fireplace should be put back where they belong, and then you can recreate the room for a completely different experience. Once the room has become a blank slate again, bring out the things of summer! Bright colors and garden stools definitely belong inside.

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Add beauty and fragrance with fresh flowers. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then you have a florist shop at your fingertips! Cut flowers early in the morning while the sun is still low in the sky and the dew has not yet dried. They’ll be fresher, and last longer. Immediately plunge the stems into a bucket of water, then put flowers or a flowering plant in every space you can, including the bathroom. Summer is a celebration of things that grow!

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The days of blocking our windows with heavy draperies are behind us. Make sure your windows are sparkling clean, then let the natural light pour in with minimal window treatments, or if you need the privacy, wooden blinds are a good choice. Simplicity is beautiful.

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Change your bedding from heavy down comforters and dark colors to light and white. Your spirits will be lifted each time you enter the room. Color affects our emotions in powerful ways.

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I love this room in my Nantucket fisherman’s cottage, decorated with vintage sand pails. Go ahead and celebrate what you loved about summer from your childhood, when the hours between sunrise and starlight seemed to last forever.

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Red, white, and blue always works in the summertime. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, let your patriotic flag fly.

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Don’t be afraid to have a little fun.

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Go nautical, and let your rooms remind you of  beaches, boats, and ocean breezes.

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The time it takes to change your home’s look to sunshine and summer shouldn’t be seen as work. Homes need to be loved, just as people do. By making your home a welcoming, bright and sunny space, you will effortlessly bring more laughter and joy into your life.

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So go ahead: let the sun shine in!

 

Creating an Oasis of Calm

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Good design is defined by the basics of scale, proportion, color, and contrast, among other considerations. To take the concept of a well-designed home one step further, though, is what I call my “tabula rasa,” the oasis of calm that envelopes us when we step inside our doors at the end of the day. Here are my thoughts on how to create that oasis, with simple ways to make your home welcoming, warm, and comfortable to live in.

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Repetition of design elements, such as the columns in this beautiful beachside home, mirror each other from room to room, and define a space. Repeated in subtle ways throughout a house, they are the details that subconsciously soothe with symmetry.

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In this New York City bedroom, the Greek Key is repeated in furniture, floor and bed linens, relaxing in its soft echoes.

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Simple ways to reduce clutter, such as window seats with drawers for storage underneath, keep a room open and serene. I often say that “the eye needs a place to rest.” So does the mind, and the body.

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Tradition is restful for many of us. Finding fine antique pieces to blend in with more contemporary furnishings is calming.

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Surrounding yourself with the things you love is an important way to make your home unique, and fill you with joy every time you enter a room. Billy Baldwin said, “Nothing is interesting unless it is personal.” I would suggest that your most personal treasures that truly express your essence will do so much to lift your spirits.

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Adding one stunning piece that is both eye-and heart-catching can be a singular focal point, another way to gracefully express your interests.

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The color palette that I turn to over and over again is white plus one color. There are so many whites to choose from: crisp white, cool greyed tones, soft blue hues, or rosy tints when the sunlight streams through the windows. It’s pleasing to the eye and the spirit.

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An invisible way to restore energy and help to clear your body of toxins you’ve come across during your busy day is by installing a good heat recovery ventilation system and a whole house air filtration system, for exchanging, filtering and conditioning indoor and outdoor air to lower VOCs.  Honeywell has some that I like that will work with your heating and cooling systems, and recover up to 80% of the heating and cooling energy. Choosing No-VOC paints and finishes keep our homes a haven where our families can enjoy good food, good company, and good health.

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At the very least, invest in a good bedroom air filter, as your liver detoxes during your sleep. Clean air is the best gift you can give yourself to feel your very best.

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Luxury and comfort are not mere indulgences in my mind. Bespoke bed linens, downy comforters, and lofty pillows all summon us to sleep in a place of refuge. An organic mattress filled with cotton and wool and made without chemicals, including fire retardants, is a good choice.

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Don’t forget the bathroom as a space for luxury and well-deserved pampering. Soft towels, natural shampoos and soaps free of irritating chemicals, and organic cotton pajamas waiting by the bath allow us to sink into a restful soak when the sun goes down. Take time for your own end-of-day rituals.

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Oscar Wilde wisely said: “I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.”

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Make your home one of simple pleasures, and a place to savor the all-too-fleeting delights of summer. It’s the easiest path to finding peace of mind.

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Less is More

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My work as an interior designer has taught me how to edit. There is a world of beautiful colors, furniture, accessories, artwork and things that a designer can choose from. The process of saying yes to this and no to that is not very much different from how each of us must live our lives, choosing what to let in, and what, sometimes regretfully, to decline.

 

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When I’m at my Nantucket home in Madaket, I’m aware of editing my surroundings for function, comfort, and beauty. This is both a preference as well as a necessity, as my husband, Frank, and I have consciously chosen a beach cottage lifestyle there. We truly embrace the “less is more” experience after years of living in larger, grander homes.

 

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Our fisherman’s cottage by the sea is just the right size for the two of us, plus my dad, Bob, and our three darling Bichon Frises, G.G., Tuffy, and Ellie, who go everywhere with us. (With Bichons, more is definitely better.)

 

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Editing is a crucial responsibility of an interior designer no matter what the size of the home. A common mistake made by homeowners is to look at furniture, lamps, and artwork, and to see them individually, without considering the space around them. A credentialed interior designer, however, sees things differently. When I enter a room, I see a frame –the boundaries of a room, the positive space –space that is occupied, and negative space –where the eye can easily rest. Every room needs space for the eye to rest, but the question is where, and how best to use it.

 

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Rather than thinking of negative space as open space to be filled, negative space is integral to making a room interesting and alive. You can work with negative space when you group furniture together, or place a collection of objects on a shelf. My eye can see a rhythm between one item and the next, something not everyone can do. I often think that my training as a fine artist was critical to developing my interior design aesthetic.

 

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Juxtaposing one shape next to another creates one kind of negative space, as does placing items in symmetry versus asymmetry.

 

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Color is powerful, evoking emotions we are not always aware of when we enter a room. I love to use white plus one color, often hues from the sea. Blue, seafoam green, and pale shades from nature are soothing when used with white.

 

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What to place on a tabletop is another way to experience the power of less. Too many items can quickly become a cluttered mess that creates disharmony. Groups of items must be carefully considered for their impact on each other, especially when they are of disparate size or color.

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One of my professors impressed upon me the importance of saving something for the next room. You don’t need to show everything you know in one room. Excellent advice that I have used time and time again!

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Letting a room have space to breathe doesn’t always come easily, another reason an educated designer can be your home’s best friend. There are rooms that make us feel stressed and constrained, and rooms that make us feel expansive and relaxed. It can be difficult to see why each has the feeling it does, until you begin taking objects away.

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Suddenly, there is peace. And we can never have too much of that.

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A Window on Your World

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Many of us live in the homes we do because of our first glimpse of the house as we came up the drive. Perhaps it was the sound of the sea and the smell of salt water that led us there, and the drive through the dunes romanced us all the way. The creamy yellow daffodils bobbing along the borders, or the dignified old Sugar Maple spreading its arms across the lawn were like love letters from the property, delivered straight to our hearts.

 

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When the front door opens, if the house isn’t just right, well, that can all be fixed. Take down a wall here, widen a doorway there, refinish wood floors, replace sagging windows, and you’ve made it your own, which is one of the goals of interior design, and a very important one. As Billy Baldwin said, “Nothing is interesting unless it is personal.”

 

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No matter how beautiful the interiors are, however, I always feel that the room is blessed when there is a glorious view in sight. Particularly for a home on the water, whether its on the ocean, a river, or a lake, you’re aware of the view. My intent in a home on the waterfront is never to obscure the home’s setting.

 

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In this house, the center hall leads you right to the ocean. If you keep going, as the crow flies, the next stop is Portugal.

 

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Another signature of my design work is my love of window seats. They’re perfect for sitting in the sunlight with a cup of tea on a winter morning to watch the snow fall, or to catch the sea breezes as the day falls to dusk.

 

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They also are functional, as they provide extra seating for guests..

 

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…and in a bedroom, can be designed with drawers for storage underneath.

 

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Whether your view is a sandy beach, an English garden, or your children splashing in the pool, a seat by the window is the perfect spot to take a closer look at your world.

 

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Downton Design

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One of the real pleasures of watching movies and television, especially for an interior designer, is the careful attention that is paid to the sets, allowing us to be transported to another world. As Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey series draws to a close this month, we’ll say goodbye not only to the characters and their fictional lives in Edwardian England, but also to Highclere Castle, the real life Georgian Mansion that dates back, in its current form, to a renovation in 1838.

 

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Part of my fascination with the series and its setting is based on my respect for historical properties. I’ve restored antique homes and designed interiors for historic houses on Nantucket, and have taken meticulous care to be sure that irreplaceable historic treasures have been preserved. The first renovation I undertook was the Captain Parker House on Nantucket. It’s not Highclere Castle, but its original owner held a place among ship captain “royalty” in his own time.

 

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I’ve designed interiors for another renovated home on Nantucket, this one from the Edwardian era. One of my favorite things in this house is the servants’ call box on the wall in the kitchen, allowing the mysterious Mr. and Mrs. Dustin, long lost to time, to summon their servants when they wanted them.

 

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Not quite as large as Downton Abbey’s, but still a vestige of another era.

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A new book, Downton Abbey: A Celebration, The Official Companion to All Six Seasons, has just been published by St. Martin’s Press, and takes us on a journey through the house and estate. We have the pleasure of traveling from the Great Hall to the servant’s hall, bedrooms to boot room, getting a glimpse of some of the gorgeous architectural details and lovely furnishings that were used for the show–and are still in use by the current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnavon, the castle’s owners, seen below.

 

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Come take a walk with me through some of my favorite rooms. The photographs were provided courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, and the fascinating details are from the book by Jessica Fellowes, the niece of show creator Julian Fellowes.

As a Downton Abbey set, the Library functions as Robert’s study during the day. As Country Life Magazine described it in 1959, “it is full of rich plumpness and masculine opulence.” This room was decorated by Thomas Allom, an English architect and illustrator, who created a perfect setting for the master of the house. The shelves are home to more than 5,600 books, some dating back to the 1500s. Robert has a ledger in which everyone must write down the book they are borrowing–this way, he makes sure they are returned. Servants in the house were invited to borrow books, too.

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This is also the room where the family gathers for tea, in the late afternoon. A footman is on hand to pour the tea and pass out slices of cake, especially to the children, who are brought by the nanny to see their parents here once a day.

 

Typical English Afternoon Tea.

 

The dining room is the heart of the formal lifestyle for both the Downton Abbey cast, and the residents of Highclere Castle over the generations. The room is dominated by an equestrian portrait of Charles I, by Sir Anthony van Dyck, a Flemish Baroque painter who was the leading artist of court portraits in the 17th century. According the book, Downton Abbey’s food stylist prepares at least seventy servings of the family dinner while the cast is filming over ten to twelve hours, to keep the food fresh. After each take, levels of wine in each glass, amount of food on the plates and the heights of the burning candles are checked for continuity. The table belongs to Highclere Castle, and can seat 18.

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Of course, before the Crawleys can appear in the dining room, everyone must dress for dinner. Cora’s bedroom is a copy of the blue Mercia bedroom at Highclere, with eighteenth century four poster bed and silk hangings. The colors in this room are light and on the pale side, reflecting Cora’s sweetly feminine nature. Her dressing table is set between two large windows, with an oval mirror and two small lamps, her ladies’ maid, Baxter attends to her needs every morning and evening. Ladies’ maids were expected to plan their mistress’s wardrobe, remove jewelry from the safe when it was to be worn, and in many cases, have complete control over the bedroom: their special domain.

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Mary’s bedroom is an exact reproduction of another room in Highclere, with a four-poster bed and dramatic red print wallpaper. The paint is Green Smoke, by Farrow & Ball, and is more austere than her mother’s. That’s not to say that it skimps on luxury, though. The bed is made up with ivory linen sheets, commissioned by the Downton Abbey art department to have the monograms of the Crawley family crest on them. The set directors are strict about how the beds are made: bottom sheet, top sheet, ribbon-edged blanket of cashmere wool, and then an eiderdown. During the day, there’s also a bedspread. In the evening, there’s a special way of turning the sheets back.

 

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Mary’s dressing table sits between windows, too, and has a three-leafed mirror, flowers, and a photograph of Matthew and Mary on their wedding day, along with a handheld mirror, porcelain boxes and trays for trinkets. In keeping with the tradition of the age, however, the room is decorated for the house, not for Mary. She has few personal items there. Women today may be surprised to find out how small a typical wardrobe was in the 1920s: the costume department keeps Mary’s wardrobe as it would have been historically–ten shirts, five suits, some evening dresses, and pointy shoes with chunky heels.

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The Earl and Countess of Carnavon have a wonderful website created especially for Highclere Castle, with an entire segment devoted to Downton Abbey, including a video about what it’s like to film there. The six seasons of Downton Abbey will remain a classic for those of us who have loved being invited in, but as Lady Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess says: “No guest should be admitted without the date of their departure being known.”

 

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So let’s just say our goodbyes here, shall we?

 

Chronicles of Downton Abbey

Photo of Violet courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

Photos of Highclere Castle and images from the Highclere Castle website are from www.highclerecastle.co.uk.Visit their website for information on tours, open days, and special events.  

Winter White

Cozy winter still life: mug of hot tea and warm woolen knitting on vintage windowsill against snow landscape from outside.

 

There are few colors that capture my imagination like white in the winter. The wind blows fresh snow into our gardens, and white frost greets us on our windows in the morning. The world slows down.

 

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In January, the color white is a promise of simplicity. I am enchanted.

 

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Even without a snowfall, white clouds in a winter sky have a stunning clarity.

 

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The purity of white, its neutrality and its ability to blend with any other color makes it perfect in design, and art, and architecture. A white house, for instance:

 

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A white bedroom is so very peaceful.

 

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I have always said that the most beautiful rooms are white plus one other color. That combination creates instant serenity, a feeling of airiness and openness that no other color can offer.

 

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Benjamin Moore chose their Simply White (OC-117) as their color of the year for 2016.

 

If you use white plus one color, a great tip is to choose one fabulous fabric, then repeat, repeat, repeat! Less is often more. The eye needs a place to rest.

 

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White has always been the color of new beginnings, a clean slate. It represents innocence, making it a perfect color for weddings. (At least here in the United States. In China, red is the color frequently chosen by brides!)

The tablescape, below, is from my wedding. I used white roses, white hydrangeas, white tulips and white lilies of the valley in silver chalices, along with white votive candles and white shells. It still takes my breath away.

 

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White is also associated with cleanliness, sterility, and safety, making it an excellent choice for kitchens.

 

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Dogs look marvelous in white!

 

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G.G., Tuffy, and Ellie. Also Trudy and Frank

Although some people (Women on Fire founder Debbie Phillips and her husband, Rob Berkley) prefer white cats.

 

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I love my white bedroom on Nantucket.

 

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White is soothing in a place to sit and read.

 

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It’s perfect in a dining room.

 

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I’ve always loved white sofas…

 

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white starfish…

 

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or starfish with white…

 

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the beauty of blue and white…

 

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White is the perfect color for marshmallows…

 

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for snow hares…

 

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for outdoor furniture…

 

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for flowers…

 

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and lamps.

 

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As someone who has always lived on the coast, either in Connecticut or on my beautiful Nantucket Island, I think I like it best in sand–

 

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and shells–

 

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and sea.

 

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Luckily, I don’t have to choose.

 

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White is beautiful everywhere.

 

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Dining Through the Ages

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The holidays have arrived, and we’ll all be spending time in dining rooms for the next several weeks. A well-appointed dining room is both functional and beautiful, encouraging relaxation and companionship, as well as the enjoyment of our food. The dining room is a relatively new idea, however. When people first began to inhabit built dwellings, they shared a common room for sleeping, cooking, and eating, and sometimes, invited their barnyard companions to share the space with them.

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The idea of a separate dining room began, according to historians, with the ancient Greeks, who gathered on stone or wood couches (men only!) to eat honey cakes and chestnuts in seclusion. The ancient Romans had a separate room called the triclinium for their meals, but women were invited.

A dining room-kitchen inside a medieval castle.

By the Middle Ages, wealthier people were eating in dining rooms, but comfort was still out of reach in the large, drafty halls. As the Industrial Revolution brought increased prosperity to the populace, more people could enjoy the benefits of a separate room for formal dining, along with silver cutlery, delicate china, and linen tablecloths. Author Bill Bryson, in his book At Home: A Short History of Private Life, says that when Thomas Jefferson put in a dining room at Monticello, it was quite a dashing thing to do. Elsewhere, meals were still being served at little tables in any convenient space.

An image of a dining room and fireplace in a primitive colonial style reproduction home. The home is built with materials reclaimed from structures built in the late 1700's. The styling is authentic primitive colonial, with modern amenities added to make the home functional and comfortable for a modern family. The furniture and decor are antiques fro the late 18th century.

So in honor of the holiday and the meals we’ll enjoy there, here’s to our dining rooms! And here are a few of my favorite Dujardin-designed dining rooms for you to enjoy.

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The table is a 20th century reproduction of an 18th century Irish lacemaker’s worktable, surrounded by a rare set of American spindle back chairs with their original black paint. 

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A wrought iron and rock crystal chandelier brings elegant light to this comfortable space.

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Hermes orange is this homeowner’s favorite color!

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The farmhouse table is surrounded by black-painted Windsor chairs. The hanging light fixtures are contemporary versions of 19th century Colonial “smoke bells,” designed to keep the candles from blowing out and smoke from marking the ceiling. 

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The hand painted floor is striking and adds another layer of interest to this beautiful room.

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The dining corner in this New York City apartment was created with curving walls and a dropped ceiling. The solid walnut table is by Hellman-Chang.

photos 88 old saugatuck 002 (2) copy This is my dining room in Connecticut, where I’ll be serving Thanksgiving dinner to my family. Wherever you spend yours, I hope it’s a safe and happy one!

 

We’ve Launched Our New Website

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It’s been several years since we’ve updated our website at Dujardin Design, and we have lots of new projects to share with you! Vacation homes that have picked up and moved across Nantucket Island…

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and colorful cottages that celebrate sand and sun and fun…

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and historic houses that harken all the way back to when Nantucket was newly found and barely populated, but everyone here had something to do with whaling, or was here in support of the people who did!

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We’ve created stylish apartments in New York City…

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and beautiful spaces to curl up in comfort with a book and a cup of tea.

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Come see what’s new!

Inspired by the Sea: Maritime Artwork

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The painting above has been missing for twenty five years. Rembrandt van Rijn painted it, and titled it “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.” It used to hang in the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, but was stolen in an art heist in 1990, a theft that removed a billion dollars worth of art from the museum.

Art depicting the sea has been popular for centuries. Rembrandt painted “The Storm” in 1633, part of the Dutch Golden Age, when marine painting was a major genre. A little bit of history explains why: overseas trade and naval power were hugely important to the Dutch Republic, and so began the very first career marine artists, who painted almost nothing else.

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 The Battle of Trafalgar, J.M.W. Turner

The Romantic Age (roughly 1800-1850) saw marine painting surge in popularity. Detailed portraits of ships and the sea were sought from painters such as J.M.W. Turner, for whom painting the sea was an obsession. He was commissioned to paint “The Battle of Trafalgar,” a far cry from the kinds of coastal scenes that followed from other painters, featuring tranquil waters and soft light.

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Lake George, 1862, Martin Johnson Heade

America experienced its own romance with marine art when immigrants, mostly English, came to the U.S. in the 19th century. Their arrival coincided with the coast being regarded as a place of leisure rather than work and danger. Beach scenes, coastal landscapes and river views became more common, especially among the Impressionists.

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New York Yacht Club Race, James Edward Buttersworth

The poet Mary Oliver calls the sea “this enormity, this cauldron of changing greens and blues,..the great palace of the earth. Everything is in it–monsters, devils, jewels, swimming angels, soft-eyed mammals…also, sunk with some ship or during off-loading, artifacts of past decades or centuries…” No wonder we’re fascinated by it!

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 America’s Cup, by Michael Keane

I use marine paintings in many of my client’s homes. Coastal scenes are also found throughout my own home, several depicting places I’ve loved and lived. I’ve written before about some of my favorite painters, including many beautiful works by my friend, Michael Keane.

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Blue Horizon, Michael Keane

No matter where they’re hung, marine paintings bring peace and beauty to a space, lifting us somehow into another place, where we can almost feel the sea breeze.

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The beautiful living room, below, has several fine examples of marine art, including pieces by Antonio Jacobsen and Michael Keane. The portrait to the left is of an 18th century sea captain, another way to bring the seafaring life to your home.

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Bedrooms are particularly good places to hang favorite pieces of marine art, as the soft blues and greens and even the white capped waves can add to the room’s soothing ambiance.

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Painting over mantel is by American artist Tim Thompson

Any room can benefit from a striking marine painting. Here, artwork by renowned oil painter Tim Thompson enlivens the space.

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Another work by Tim Thompson hangs above the sofa in a Nantucket home on the harbor.

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Finding galleries with knowledgeable professionals to assist in buying art is an indispensable part of collecting any artwork. I particularly have loved working with Quidley and Company, both in Boston and on Nantucket Island at 26 Main Street.

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Another favorite gallery is Cavalier Galleries, with locations in Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City, and on Nantucket, at 10 Federal Street.

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A famous gallery known nationwide is J. Russell Jinishian, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Tucked away on a quiet street outside of town, people who know marine art know about this very special gallery just an hour away from New York City. Its extensive inventory includes over 1,000 marine paintings, drawings, sculptures, ship models and scrimshaw, by some of the world’s leading marine artists. Mr. Jinishian will be speaking on marine art on April 24th at 7 p.m. at the Black Rock Yacht Club, Black Rock, Connecticut.

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J. Russell Jinishian Gallery, Fairfield, CT

The beauty of the ocean will always call to us, so maritime art and marine paintings will, likewise, always be sought after. Whether you are fortunate enough to own artwork by an old master, a revered artist who has passed on, or are enjoying the experience of collecting art by some of our wonderful living artists, your home will always be enhanced by your purchases.

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As Mary Oliver says, “…on the water we shake off the harness of weight; we glide; we are passengers of a sleek ocean bird with its single white wing filled with wind.”

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The Last Trap, by Michael Keane

Five New Ideas about Old Things

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As a design advisor for this year’s Nantucket Historical Association’s annual Antiques and Design Show, I’m excited to both participate with a Dujardin Design tablescape created especially for the event, and to attend to see what the world of antique dealers and designers have to offer this year. I love using antiques in my interiors, both for my clients, and in my own home. These treasured parts of history are beautiful mixed into traditional or more contemporary designs, and as I tell my clients and friends, they are the ultimate in “green!”

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1) Antique furniture can be a beautiful addition to a sustainable lifestyle, as well as a link to the past. Not only do carefully selected pieces add artistry and the patina of age, they help to maintain your home’s indoor air quality. Created with less-toxic products years ago, antiques have long since completed any chemical off gassing.

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2) By restoring and repairing fine furniture, the resource-intensive cycle of endless new production is slowed, as is the fossil-fuel based packaging and delivery system.

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3) Beautiful and sturdy, wood pieces made before the 21st century were constructed with timber with tighter growth rings, which simply doesn’t exist today, enhancing its value as a treasured collectible.

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4) Antiques are recycling at its best. Beloved family pieces, delicate porcelain, fine china and the softly faded colors of aged Oriental rugs do not belong in a landfill. Treasures from another time can be loved and used again. An item that has been passed from home to home and hand to hand brings history to life, and honors the work of artisans who lived long ago.

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5) Antique collections are a very personal expression. I often find that a simple gesture, such as placing an antique tea caddy on a mantel, can inspire my clients to begin a collection of their own. Learning about the subtle differences between artisans, the period of time when an item was made, or the materials that were used to make it, gives us a greater appreciation for life. Whatever you collect, it is unique to you and your home, and cannot be duplicated.

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I encourage you to spend a summer weekend looking for old and rare treasures of your own. Being “green” has never been so much fun!

 

 

Bring Summer and the Seaside In

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It’s May, and many people are heading for their summer homes, ready for long, lazy days in sun and sand. You don’t need a vacation home to make your house summer-ready, though. Try some of these ideas for bringing summer and the seaside in!

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Use light-colored, indoor/outdoor fabrics and wicker or rattan furniture to add a summery feel to your rooms. Indoor/outdoor fabrics also make for a more relaxed environment, as clean up is a breeze.

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An artfully placed starfish or shell says you love the beach! Painted white furniture and light colored fabrics are another warm-weather touch.

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Nautical prints or paintings of boats, water and ocean beaches are a window to the world you love.

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Slip into the garden early in the morning when the grass is still cool beneath your feet, and cut a few fresh flowers for a small vase on your bedside table. You’ll love falling asleep with the light fragrance of blossoms to scent your dreams.

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A light, bright room always feels summery. Change your bedding to an all-white coverlet, toss a brightly colored throw onto the end of the bed, and stack clean white birch logs in the fireplace.

Natural fiber fabric and rug

Add texture and interest with natural rugs underfoot, such as sisal, hemp, jute or seagrass. Plant fiber rugs are sustainably harvested, renewable, and biodegradable, an added bonus to their beauty!

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Photo by Neil Mishler U.S. FWS.

Finally, celebrate summer’s beauty by making a pledge to help protect America’s waterways and all the creatures who depend on them for their lives. Visit the Natural Wildlife Federation to learn how you can help. 

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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” –John Lubbock, The Use of Life