Bring Autumn’s Beauty Home

 

Life on Nantucket is a never-ending tapestry of natural beauty. This island is where I find joy in the simple rhythms of the day, as well as much of my design inspiration. Although many people come here for the summer, with the beautiful beaches, warm evenings and the whirl of social life, there is just as much to inspire us when the weather turns colder and the leaves have fallen.

 

My husband, Frank, with G.G. at the Farmers’ Market

 

Come along with me  as I share how I find comfort and beauty as the seasons change!

The first place I go: the island’s Farmers Market, sponsored by Sustainable Nantucket. It had been a long, quiet, and lonely road through the pandemic, so the joy I felt being with the artists, craftspeople and island farmers at the Saturday markets this summer was indescribable. (Luckily, there are a few more days this year to gather: for the Downtown Holiday Market on November 25 and 26, and then the Farmers and Artisans Market during Christmas Stroll on December 2 and 3. )

 

The colors of autumn!

 

Here’s what I love: the way original artwork and crafts combine with fresh food and locally-grown produce to bring people together! That combination also brings fresh ideas, and a new way of seeing. Fall changes the slant of morning sunlight, and breathes its frosty breath on the last of the autumn roses. I rush home from the Farmers Market with an arm full of bright red and orange tomatoes, eager to lay a fire and light candles.

 

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t, they should, for their feet are dusted with the spices from a million flowers.”–Ray Bradbury

 

It’s time to say goodbye to the bees until spring, but the market offers a final glimpse of a busy hive. Nantucket is home to many island beekeepers, with Sustainable Nantucket offering a beekeeping mentoring program for novices. I love bees, birds, and butterflies, and have long forbidden the use of pesticides and fungicides on my lawn and garden. A connection with nature is vital to our health.

Watching the busy little gold and brown insects gives me other ideas for autumn-warmed rooms. Inspiration can come in the tiniest of ways!

 

 

The local artists and craftspeople find natural beauty to inspire them, too.  Nantucket’s unique whaling history and the salty ocean waves that surround the island bring internationally famous artists to our shores as well.

 

From the mid 1700s to the late 1830s, Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world.

 

In the waters surrounding Nantucket, you can find Humpback whales, Finback whales, Minke whales, Pilot whales, and the endangered Right whales.

 

Fresh Flowers!

 

I believe in  bringing the patterns and textures of nature inside. As a sustainable LEED-accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED AP + ID + C),  I love fresh flowers, nature-based artwork, and natural fabrics.

Each of us will look at the jewel-tones of autumn and find a unique way to bring the outdoors in. “The question is not what you look at,” said Henry David Thoreau, “but what you see.”

I agree!

 

The painting, “Finches–Right Eye,” is by the American Neo-Expressionist painter Hunt Slonem.

 

You can nestle right in to sumptuous hues such as persimmon, spice, pumpkin, sage, and olive in fall. Dujardin’s Senior Designer Price Connors and I used those rich colors in our design work at the historic Thomas Starbuck House, brought to Nantucket’s Milk Street by barge in 1790.

 

The dining room retains its original cooking fireplace with two ovens, considered one of the finest examples of its kind in New England.

 

Warmer hues were  perfect for this historic home, built when earthy colors such as stone, ocher, red, pumpkin and sage were widely in use.

Poet A.D. Posey said, ” Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.”

Why not?

 

The paneled wall surrounding the fireplace is painted with a Farrow & Ball paint that reflects the traditional colors of the period.

 

You’ll want to place a soft blanket where you sip your morning coffee, with a throw pillow that brings a touch of nature indoors . Little details are not little at all.

On the contrary, as the painter N.C. Wyeth said, “To elevate the little into the great is genius.”

 

A contemporary version of a Hepplewhite sofa is a graceful addition to the parlor.

 

The last fall touch takes place in the kitchen with a pot of soup simmering on the stove,  Helen Keller told us that “scent is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”

Do you have a favorite recipe from your grandmother? If not, I’ll share mine!

 

 

My favorite Butternut Squash Soup recipe is actually one of Ina Garten’s.

 

Old school green bean casserole

 

And since I’m originally from South Carolina,  side dishes from Southern Living really resonate with me! My favorite is the Old School Green Bean Casserole, made with canned fried onion rings. My mother made it even simpler with Campbells’ Cream of Mushroom Soup. Here’s the recipe! 

 

 

My other favorite is the Sweet Potato Casserole--we always had it with marshmallows!

 

 

And Price loves the Corn Pudding, and makes it every Thanksgiving!

 

 

Wherever you find yourself this fall, remember that your life is enriched when you attend to the small details and the little moments. I wish you all the comforts of home as you celebrate the season.

Watch for my new blogs once a month, and Instagram (@dujardin_design) and Facebook (@DujardinDesign) posts on Thursdays. Once a season I send a newsy email letter to you, too! Be sure to subscribe to get all the best design advice and beautiful inspiration through photos of our projects. I want all of us to live in happy, well-designed, healthy homes!

 

Put Your Dreams on Paper

There’s a magic touch that can take your rooms from plain to pretty: wallpaper!

Wallpaper has gone in and out of style over the years, but it’s definitely having a new moment in 2022–and for good reason! There’s nothing that provides the impact that beautifully made wallpapers can. Wallpaper can also be invaluable in working with both the architectural beauty and challenges of a space. I’ve always loved beautiful wallpapers and have used them in many different styles of homes.

 

This penthouse in New York was done with a silk string wallpaper. Photographer: Durstan Saylor

One of my favorite spaces to use wallpaper is the foyer. Your entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house, and defines your “sense of place.” If people tell me they can only afford to design one room–which room should it be? I say, let’s start at the beginning, and make a fabulous foyer!

 

This intimate boutique inn was beautifully renovated by Dujardin Design to showcase its period details and elegant interiors. The public areas feature a beautiful Chinoiserie wallcovering and fabric.

Come with me on a visit to one of Dujardin Design Associates’ recent projects on Nantucket where I can show you some of the details of how we work. It begins with conversations with the clients, then a search for fabrics, colors, textures, and a vision for the room. A presentation book is prepared for the client by our in-house artist before work begins.

 

 

We are fortunate to frequently work with clients on Nantucket Island, where my husband and I live part of each year. Nantucket has a rich history, complete with the original indigenous people, whaling captains and widows, fishermen and farmers, cranberries and blueberries, roses and hydrangeas and everywhere you look: legacy and antiquity.

 

Main Street on Nantucket Island

Nantucket is where I first began my immersion into sustainable design, the result of building a home on the fragile shores of Nantucket Harbor. I was determined to “do it right.” Doing it right started with the understanding that since it was such a delicate site within a very fragile ecosystem, everything I did had to be mindful, done with intention.

Today, I am considered a pioneer in sustainable design, and am a LEED-accredited professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED-AP + ID + C). I am a Fellow with ASID (FASID), and a Senior Fellow with the Design Futures Council. (Only 1% of members are asked to be Fellows, so I’m proud of that). My passion for creating homes in harmony with the earth was the impetus for achieving my credentials–“doing it right!”

All of that knowledge is brought to bear on every design project my firm undertakes, whether it is classified as a “green” design or not.

 

 

In this home, our starting point was a voluminous space with high ceilings.  First a builder’s spec house that subsequently became an island rental property, we were hired by a family from Connecticut who wanted it to become their forever second home. As we repurposed their treasures from Connecticut and refreshed with new pieces, we knew that adding wallpaper was going to be an important element of this home’s ambiance.

 

 

My trusted work associate, G.G., agreed that wallpaper was exactly what we needed!

 

 

We also knew we wanted to replace this builder-supplied chandelier with something more appropriate to the homeowners’ taste.

 

 

For the walls, we turned to Peter Fasano handcrafted wall coverings from Westport, Connecticut. Their elegant designs are produced using a combination of hand-screened and digital printing, in the most beautiful color combinations. Their hand-screening process gives you a softer look on real paper, with real inks done by hand. Our on-island crew does meticulous work prepping the walls for the paper, then applying it.

 

 

We selected a wide stripe as it’s such a classical element. The paper had to be neutral as the foyer opens up into other rooms. This selection warmed the space and made the 25 foot high ceiling feel more manageable.

 

 

How do you like the smoke bell lantern in place of the old chandelier? Its timelessly brilliant light is another way we warmed the large space. This one of a kind, mouth-blown lantern was shipped from London–twice–as the first time it was shipped it arrived broken. When the second lantern arrived–the last one in stock!–we all held our breath as we opened the box.

In earlier days, instead of electric lights there were candles inside, and the top was to keep smoke from damaging the ceiling.

 

 

And for softness underfoot: a 100% wool rug by Stark. Both the rug and the wallpaper are made using natural materials, as opposed to a vinyl wall covering or polypropylene for the carpet. With the small pattern the rug is contemporary but also rooted in tradition, and adds to the classic elegance of the home.

 

I’m delighted to be blogging again!

Watch for my new blogs once a month, and Instagram (@dujardin_design) and Facebook (@DujardinDesign) posts on Thursdays. Once a season I’ll send a newsy email letter to you, too! Be sure to subscribe to get all the best design advice and beautiful inspiration through photos of our projects. I want all of us to live in happy, well-designed, healthy homes!

Remember, you want this:

“What you surround yourself with should bring you peace of mind and peace of spirit.”–Stacy London

Not this:

“This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.”–Oscar Wilde

 

My New Green Consulting Services

 

Spring has always been known as a time of renewal, as the earth is undergoing its annual season of regeneration. That’s why I chose spring as the time to introduce my newest client-focused service, Dujardin Design Green Consulting Services. This is a new way to work with me that focuses on the sustainable, “green” changes we can make together.

 

 

 

Improving our homes and lifestyles comes naturally in the spring, as we begin spring cleaning and look for renewal in body, mind, and spirit.  There are risks posed to our health by the more than 80,000 untested chemicals used in our society, but we have an opportunity to create a sanctuary for ourselves and our families–one where the air is pure, and our exposure to potentially dangerous products is reduced, if not completely eliminated.

 

 

 

As a LEED-accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED AP + ID +C), as well as an ASID Fellow (FASID), and a Design Futures Fellow,  I’ve made education a lifelong endeavor. I’m an interior designer as well as an adjunct professor, blogger, columnist, author and speaker.  I’ve dedicated my life to creating distinctive interiors for my clients, while teaching people how to make their homes a place of sanctuary.

 

 

One by-product of “green” or “sustainable” design is healthy indoor air quality. One way I help my clients create clean air is by carefully choosing natural, organic furnishings and materials that have a minimal impact on the environment, both inside and out. Dujardin Design Green Consulting Services is the next step for me in helping people live more beautiful, healthier lives.

 

 

My design projects around the globe have shown me that vibrant health is yours to choose, and it begins at home!  If you feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and stressed, your home may be contributing to your feeling of being out of balance. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may have accumulated in the well-insulated rooms, and stagnant air may be compounding their effects.

 

 

How do I know this?  Years of exposure to highly chemical environments left me feeling less than my best. My own dip into ill health convinced me that there was SOMETHING I could do to help myself. Once I learned what it was, I wanted to help other people find the answer, too. That’s why I wrote my book, Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior. 

 

 

My new consulting services are designed to offer you the flexibility to make your home as eco-friendly as you wish, always combined with luxurious beauty and comfort. Three levels of design–light, medium, or deep green–let you choose just how sustainable you’d like your surroundings to be. Anything is possible, from choosing an organic fabric for throw pillows to a complete home design.

 

Photo credit: Jeff Allen

How we furnish our homes, what we choose to eat, what we buy to wear, and what we throw away all MATTERS!  By being as intentional in your choices for your home as you are in your life, you’ll find a new surge of energy and happiness. You’ll eat better, sleep better, live better!

After working with me, clients tell me they love the new feeling of serenity in their homes. Some say it feels like a breath of fresh air!

 

 

Come visit  my website, where Dujardin Design Green Consulting Services are explained in more detail. Or call me for a free consultation that WILL change your life! My grateful clients tell me I improve and inspire their lives.  I can’t wait to meet you and show you how I can help.

Westport CT

203-838-8100

Nantucket MA

508-228-1120

Something New Under the Sun

 

The real saying is “there’s nothing new under the sun,” but that’s not been true lately.  New things are happening! In addition to the launch of my new Dujardin Design Green Consulting Service, I’ve been invited to serve my communities in new ways. Service to the community is rewarding, but especially so when it speaks to some deep love in your own heart, or supports a belief you hold. Do you agree?

 

 

Photography by Steve Turner, Courtney of David Scott Parker Architects

That’s the case for me with the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Musuem. The first of my new service commitments is that I have joined their Board of Trustees in Norwalk, Connecticut. A national historic landmark, the mansion is considered one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire style country houses in the United States. As a supporter of historic preservation, having restored my own historic Captain’s house on Nantucket Island, I am delighted to share my expertise with the Board.

 

 

Interior photo by Sarah Grote Photography

I had served on the LMMM Board once before, so in a way, this is like returning to a loved home. The Mansion was a technological marvel of its time, with hot and cold indoor plumbing, gas lighting, ventilation, and a central heating system. Unfortunately, that system burned a ton of coal a day, but that was appropriate for the Victorian era, and relied on the best technology available then.

 

 

From the best thinking of times past to the best thinking of today: I’ve also been asked to join the Connecticut Green Building Council‘s (CTGBC) Green Homes Committee, as well as their Health and Wellness Committee. My life has been dedicated to creating healthy homes for my clients, and I am passionate about protecting our health while living holistically. I am so pleased to have been invited to serve alongside some of the area’s best minds in green building and living.

 

 

I believe that we can continue to find new ways to protect our natural resources and still live in comfort and health. The CTGBC is committed to transforming the way our buildings are designed and constructed, “helping advance spaces that are better for the environment, and healthier for us to live, work and play in.” Of course, this is exactly the intersection of profession and passion for me!

 

Always advocating for planet Earth: accepting my Design Futures Senior Fellow Award!

On the Green Homes Committee, I’ll be encouraging the adoption of green building practices around the state, whether for new construction or existing homes. The Health and Wellness Committee is responsible for developing awareness of green initiatives for the healthcare industry. I know that our buildings–the “containers” we live and work in– have a definite impact on our day to day health. Of course a green environment will support healing in those struggling with illness–another great way to give back to the world!

 

 

Don’t you love this statement by the Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro? “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” And an ocean is a powerful, transformative force. I’ll see you there!

 

 

Nantucket Island, my second home