At Home in the Country


I’m so pleased to have another of Dujardin Design Associate’s projects published by our friends at New England Home CT Magazine.  They’re also the publishers of New England Home, and both magazines are full of design inspiration. In their Spring 2018 edition, they tell the story of our design work at a beautiful country home located in the gracious town of Washington Depot, Connecticut. This is the eighth project we’ve completed for this client, by now a longtime friend.

When this client found another dream home for the next phase of her life (previous homes were in New York City, Greenwich, and California!), we knew we were going to have a wonderful time working together again.  Washington Depot is one of three towns that were the actual inspiration for the town of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, so you can just imagine the feeling of warmth and small town camaraderie.

We’re so excited to show it to you. If you can pick up a copy of the magazine, please do. It’s on the stands until July 23, 2018. Here’s a sneak peek!


A trend in home buying and interior design right now is the need to remake our homes to fit the next stage of our lives. Whether you’re making space for a nursery, adding an in-law suite for an elder relative, or moving to a new location to embrace retirement, the chance to re-envision your home is an exciting time. Keeping what you treasure but adding new furniture, rugs and accessories to fit your new lifestyle is the best way to embrace the future!



One of the joys–and struggles–of moving is deciding what to keep and what to give away. New storage and display pieces can help you make those choices.



I’ve always believed that our surroundings influence our lives in countless quiet ways. This client loves the farms and rolling countryside she can see outside her windows,



Whatever stage of life you’re in, you can make your home a place that fully supports your daily activities and offers rest and respite at night. A good interior design plan helps you achieve beauty, comfort, and sanctuary without leaving home. Vacations aren’t the only option for rejuvenation when you truly love where you live.


A Connecticut Christmas


There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow… I couldn’t bring you all to my neighborhood holiday fete, so I decided to bring the party to you.  Welcome to my house, and let’s share a Connecticut Christmas together!



Come in, and let me take your coats. It’s warm inside–my husband, Frank, made a fire, and my father, Bob, is standing by at the bar. We have champagne to start the evening. This is a celebration!



Make yourselves at home. I love Christmas pillows, don’t you? I had these custom made for a home on Nantucket, and I look forward to getting them out every year. Reminding myself to be M-E-R-R-Y is a very special part of my holiday traditions!



One of my favorite things about decorating for the holidays is adding splashes of Christmas crimson and red throughout the house. Ten months of the year, I opt for soothing neutrals: the white of sandy beaches, the soft beige of driftwood, the soothing blues of the ocean. But once November arrives, I bring out the red ribbon and of course, the red and green stockings.



I love the warmth of a red tablecloth, too.



I hope you’re hungry! We’re serving shrimp with cocktail sauce,



brie en brioche, assorted mini quiche, pigs in a blanket (everyone’s favorite!), pumpernickel with crudites and dip,



mini lobster rolls, and mini crab rolls with lemon dill aioli. Yum. (The toothpicks are homemade!)



Dessert is special Christmas cupcakes,



and white Bichon puppy cupcakes–they look just like our two little Bichons, G.G. and Tuffy.



And of course, Christmas cookies!



Don’t forget the chocolates…a nod to Nantucket with chocolate whale truffles from Sweet Inspirations on the island. Better take one now–they go fast!



I love the old-fashioned Christmas touches



With children’s toys to evoke the true joy of giving



And a little Russian flavor for my dad…



There’s plenty of time for relaxing by the fire



before it’s time to say goodbye.



The next morning, we’ll all wake to a snowy winter wonderland!



and I’ll enjoy a morning cuddle with my two tired little helpers, G.G. and Tuffy.


Have a happy, healthy holiday season! 

Welcoming Your Holiday Guests With Style: Part One


Thanksgiving is a day, an event, and a feeling we evoke by how we present a single meal to the people we love.



One of the joys is the repetition of traditions year after year, with family members who travel from near and far to come together under one roof. We all love to see Grandma’s china, the silver brought from the old country, the crystal goblets that were wedding gifts, the green bean casserole that doesn’t taste the same any other time of the year.



Welcoming your guests with style, though, sometimes means rethinking what makes a home a sanctuary, and what makes a table setting a delight. From flowers in the foyer to cozy nooks arranged for quiet time with a book and a cup of tea, blending old traditions with new ones allows the family to grow and change. And that’s exactly as it should be.



I want to share with you some of the special touches I’ve enjoyed creating for both my clients and my own family. I also want to introduce you to the floral artist I turn to for special occasions: Adam Manjuck, owner of Flowers and Flowers in Darien, Connecticut. He’s spent years creating gorgeous floral and foliage displays for his clients, and specializes in going into their homes and decorating every room with beauty and elegance. He’ll return to Holistic House next month to share even more decorating ideas for the season’s best holiday displays!



So come in, get comfortable, and let’s talk turkey!



Throughout your home, beginning at the doorstep, engaging all the senses creates a festive frame of mind. Adam points out that when people enter his shop, they are immediately aware of the rich mix of fragrances, from green growing things and soil to the delicate scent of bouquets of flowers left out for visitors to touch, smell, and enjoy.



“People are enchanted by the bountifulness and the mingled smells in the shop,” Adam explains. And one of his touch points for holiday decorating for his clients is to create an enticing bounty of fragrance and beauty at home. Our sense of smell can take us back in time, or keep us firmly in the present moment. Adam likes to blend the earthy smells of cinnamon and eucalyptus in addition to floral scents.



Adam continues: “Thanksgiving isn’t all about the table. We do accent pieces around the house, too. The entry way and the powder room are perfect spots for another splash of flowers and foliage. But the table at Thanksgiving is the experience.”



Adam and I agree that it’s key to have the right sized centerpiece! Candles and flowers that are in the way don’t work! Adam says: “It’s either high or low–not in between.” Guests should be able to see each other and converse easily around the table. No one likes to leave the table with a stiff neck from dodging the flowers to talk to Uncle Ned.



Choose a theme and then don’t be afraid to pull in items that aren’t, strictly speaking, made for dining. The seaside dining tableau, below, used the brilliant shades of orange, blue and white to sing a song of the sea. Napkins were held with rings of polished abalone shells, and tiny seascape Battersea enamel boxes were scattered across the table to set an ocean wavy mood. Whimsical items show your personality and are often conversation starters for guests as they get to know their seat mates. The vintage Murano glass, with its soft tints of amber and green, are a bit of cherished history.



Bone-handled flatware pairs perfectly with Hering Berlin hand-painted porcelain. 



You don’t always need elaborate decorations; sometimes a simple soup tureen can be an eye-catching focal point, especially on Thanksgiving when it’s shaped like a pumpkin.



Don’t automatically reach for a vase to hold flowers. The ivy twining around the table above was cut in my garden just that morning, and was the perfect touch.



Vintage serving pieces, bowls, and even fish bottles can make charming receptacles for flowers. Use the things you love–just arrange them in a slightly different way, and add a spray of ferns, olive branches, or dried grasses to create a stunningly original centerpiece.



Adam explains that he likes to use the homeowner’s containers instead of generic bowls or vases for his displays. Especially at Thanksgiving, there are sentimental pieces that should be in a place of honor. “Mom and Grandma like to come and see the piece they gave to my client,” he says.



When filling those bowls, his focus is on abundance. “I use lots of foliage,” he says. “You can add flowers and a candle to something low and long that elongates the table. I like trilogies–one larger display flanked by two smaller ones. You can put candles in between. But everyone needs to have something pretty in front of them!”



Just as in designing interiors, where texture can add another level of interest, Adam believes in texture and something unexpected. He might tuck in antique hydrangeas, chocolate cymbidium orchids, or seeded eucalyptus.



African pods are another favorite for shape, texture, and color!



The beauty of a single flower shouldn’t be overlooked. The Swedish philosophy of “Lagom,” meaning “just the right amount–not too much, not too little,” encourages selecting one beautiful item for contemplation. A single spray of flowers can be just the right touch.



In the same way, a fall leaf can be the simple touch that’s just enough.



Whatever you do, don’t overlook a special place of honor for the desserts. We created this display one year for the historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Connecticut. The Victorians knew that the richness of desserts deserved a rich setting as well!



However you begin the holiday season, I hope you’ll find comfort, warmth, and joy with your family and friends as you collect new memories. See you next month at Holistic House for Part II of Welcoming Your Holiday Guests with Style!



Celebrating Spring


It’s important to have plans for special times in the future. We all need something to look forward to: a place we haven’t yet gone, new experiences to open our eyes and hearts, people we haven’t yet met. Some people keep a “bucket list.” One of the beautiful trips I have yet to make is fulfilling my dream of going to the Chelsea Flower Show, held each May since 1912 in London.



This year, the show will be May 23-27. Sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society to inspire the best in gardening, the show is held on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. If you can’t make it yet, you can do as I plan to do this year: watch the DVD of its first hundred years.



I know I’ll be there someday!



If you’re looking for a way to combine spending time outdoors in spring with enjoying the inspiration of stunning artwork, then you may want to head over to the New York Botanical Garden. From April 22nd through October 29th, the breathtaking work of Dale Chihuly will be on view. The photo above shows an installation of his work in the Atlanta Botanical Garden last year.


The Bridge of Glass in downtown Tacoma.


Chihuly is an American glass sculptor, considered unique in the field for moving glass into the realm of large scale sculpture. Three years in the planning stage, the Botanical Garden show features 20 installations as well as a display of his drawings at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery. 


The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the world famous Space Needle.


He loves to go to the ocean and walk along the beach to find inspiration, something we have in common! “If you work with hot glass and its natural properties it begins to look like something that came from the sea,” he says. His work pairs beautifully with my beach house designs, as seen in the photo below. The magnificent blue glass pieces on the table are by Chihuly, intended to evoke the colors of the sea.



I collect Chihuly glass for myself, too. The beautiful Chihuly piece below is in a place of honor in my vestibule in my home in Connecticut.



Dale Chihuly has even had a rose named in his honor. As in his artwork, the colors of the rose are magnificent, with buds of pure yellow swirling open to a bright orange, with a finale of deep reds.


Rose named Chihuly, of the Floribunda class.

Don’t miss the Botanical Garden’s Chihuly Nights, when the installations are spectacularly illuminated. Maybe I’ll see you there!


Flowers from a “Green” House

When our thoughts turn to love, we often turn to flowers. Long established as a romantic gesture, there is nothing like a bouquet of blooms to melt your loved one’s heart. Many people do not realize, however, that hothouse flowers are grown in greenhouses filled with pesticides, and the blossoms you bring into your home have been repeatedly treated with toxic chemicals.

There is a wonderful company that has changed the way we grow and buy flowers, however. Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of organic floral arrangements and gifts. All of their flowers, from select farms in California, Colombia, and Ecuador, meet stringent standards for environmental safety, monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations.

Their eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris, and are shipped nationwide to all 50 states.

CEO Robert McLaughlin remembers the effect of synthetic chemicals on the environment and workers in the horticulture industry when he began his career in 1984. “I watched our head agronomist die at an early age from toxic chemical exposure,” he says. “He rarely wore protective gear and seemed to always return to the packing shed soaked in the chemicals that would eventually end his life. There had to be a better way.”

Today McLaughlin has created a company that positively effects the environment, the floral industry, and the people on the farms. They make choices every day to support responsible commerce, environmental stewardship, and the health of the people who work for them.

“All plants, flowers, vegetables, and livestock were grown or raised for thousands of years organically. Only in the last 100 years have we discovered synthetic chemicals and begun to overuse them,” he says. “This phasing out of synthetic chemicals and returning to natural methods proves that chemicals have been a brief but damaging fad, that hopefully will never be repeated.

Good things to know about Organic Bouquet:

  • Each time you make a purchase, the amount of carbon emissions from that shipment is offset by rolling funds into a project that reforests abandoned pasture land with native tree species.
  • Shipping boxes are made from recycled and recyclable materials.
  • Boxes are printed with water-based ink, naturally non-toxic.
  • Their glass vases are made from 100% recycled glass.


If that doesn’t convince you, consider this: the company is USDA Organic-Certified, follows America’s VeriFlora sustainability certification program, and is Fair Trade Certified, an international movement which ensures that producers in poor countries get a fair price for their goods.

For more information and to order your Valentine’s Day flowers, visit them at 



A Decade of Christmas Trees




The Holiday 2016 issue of Review Nantucket includes a retrospective of a decade of Christmas decorations I’ve created for clients, showhouses, and the Nantucket Whaling Museum’s Festival of Trees. It was wonderful to look back on a body of work that was a joy to create, but truly ephemeral. I’m so glad to have captured the beauty of these holiday tableaus with photography. They inspire me again when I see them–I hope they bring you fresh inspiration, too!




There’s something so touching about Christmas trees. It’s not just the beauty of the lights and the ornaments. It’s the tradition of creating a magical display that stands for something bigger than ourselves: a renewal of light and love, and the memories of all the Christmases we’ve celebrated through the years.




For many years, my Senior Designer Price Connors and I have created a new theme for a Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees. Once we decide on an idea, we adorn a tree in a completely original style–we never repeat a design! One year, our inspiration was Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of Starry Night, so everything sparkled with stars.



We recreated his night sky by draping a table in deep blue fabric, using wide gauzy star ribbon as table runners, with tiny silver stars sprinkled on the tabletop. We added glittering star boxes tied with bows, and even a dish filled with blue and silver star candies.




I believe in expressing the spirit of Christmas differently each year. As important as tradition is, it’s also wonderful to let our celebrations evolve. It’s easy to fall back on decorating the same way every year, placing the same Santa’s on the mantel. But it’s also fun to create a fresh new look.




One of my favorite tableaus for the Whaling Museum was the Legend of the Snow Maiden, a Russian fairy tale brought to life with the maiden silhouetted in a white cathedral between two glittering trees hung with icicles. That one was especially meaningful to me and to my father, because we are of Russian heritage.




Winter seems to awaken my imagination. As snow begins to fall, my thoughts to turn to twinkling lights, the sparkle of crystal in candlelight, roses and ribbons, and cherished china. One traditional decoration I love is the gingerbread house, which has appeared in my decorations as historic houses on Nantucket, and my own home. The most elaborate creation was made to my specifications by Colette’s Cakes in New York–a reproduction of the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow!




The tree that accompanied it was entitled A Russian Christmas Fantasy. The tree was a splendor in red and gold, with red glass balls, golden ribbons and over 50 handmade Russian ornaments. There were Russian Cossacks, snowflakes, Faberge eggs and matryoshka dolls (the traditional nesting dolls), all delicately hand painted in festive fashion.




The real blessings and bounty of the season, though, are found in family and friends. I love simple stockings hanging by the fireplace. For our family gatherings, we encourage each other to give generously to charities, saving the gaily wrapped packages for the children, Vidal and Baby Richard. I find Christmas everywhere I look in December, but mostly, I find it in our hearts.



G. G., Tuffy, and Ellie snuggle near the fire



Encore Post: Dangers of Household Mold

photo of house drawing on beach sands by mediterranean sea.There is a drawing of sun on house which is positioned on left side of frame.The sea waves are on the right side.Focus is on house.A full frame DSLR camera was used to shot photo.

I’m often asked about maintaining a healthy home, and about how to ensure pristine air quality. With summer’s high humidity, mold has been part of several discussions. It is a serious health concern, so much so that I’ve chosen to republish this post with information on how to detect mold, and how to safely eradicate it. People who live in flood-prone areas, most recently those in New Orleans and now, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, must be sure to remove everything that that is water-damaged, including soggy floors and drywall, to be sure mold doesn’t get a start.

An Encore Post by Popular Demand: 

There are a few basic requirements for sustaining life; among them are moisture, food, and warmth. Our homes are replete with these three things, and thus, they can be breeding grounds for dangerous and allergy-causing molds.  Water damage in walls and insulation, and sustained moisture in heating and central air conditioning systems, can create the perfect breeding ground for microbial mold growth.

If you have water damage or a buildup of moisture from humidity or leaks, you may have the beginnings of a mold problem.

Beautiful abstract photography of mold in a pan

Aspergillus Fumigatus

You may not see mold spores, but even when invisible to the eye, they can be present in the air you breathe.  Asthma, coughing, sneezing and rashes may be a clue that something unhealthy has permeated your living spaces.  Stachybotrys, a celluphyllic mold that is frequently found on the paper covering of sheet rock and ceiling tiles, can be toxic when inhaled, resulting in flu-like symptoms, including sore throats and fatigue.

Mold beside and under new window, in the corner of the beige wall and along it.

Mold beside and under new window, in the corner of the beige wall and along it.

Toxic mold has become a growing problem in the U.S. in recent years.  Why?  As insulation improved and homes became more air-tight, exchange with fresh air from outside has slowed, creating perfect conditions for mold to flourish.  If you smell a musty odor, that may be a sign there is a mold problem.  You may see a slowly spreading stain across ceilings or walls, on shower curtain liners, or even books or clothing that have become damp from humidity or water leaks.

worker with helmet, gloves and mask spraying ceiling with spray bottle on wooden vintage ladder, bottom view

Remediation Options

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) divides mold clean-up into three sizes:  small, medium and large. Small mold remediation is where the total affected area is less than 10 square feet; medium is between 10 and 100 square feet; large is greater than 100 square feet, or when exposure to mold spores during remediation is a risk.

Mold spores are invisible when airborne, yet still pose a risk to your health, so if you’re going to tackle the clean up yourself, you should isolate the work area as much as possible.

  • Clear the room of any uncontaminated furniture.
  • Items that can’t be moved should be sealed in plastic.
  • Cover any open doorways with plastic sheeting.  You’ll need two sheets:  attach one to the left side of the doorway, covering two thirds of the opening.  Attach the other to the right side of the doorway, covering two thirds of the opening.  The overlap will provide a partial seal but will give you access into and out of the room.
  • If books, papers or other items have a musty smell but no visible mold, take them outside and vacuum them with a HEPA filter vacuum.  Anything that has visible mold should be discarded.
  • If items need to be carried through non-contaminated rooms on the way outside, place them in plastic bags first.
  • Small patches of mildew on walls and ceilings can be wiped with diluted bleach (one part bleach to ten parts water).
  • Even if you don’t think you are sensitive to mold, you should wear plastic safety goggles and a NIOSH N95 mask, along with latex gloves.  (Non-latex gloves if you have a latex allergy.)
  • For anything larger than 10 square feet, you should consult a professional.

Water stains on the roof of a house.

Seeking Professional Help:

Homeowners with water damage should call a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), and have their homes thoroughly investigated for microbial volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  A CIH is qualified to enhance the health and safety of people at work and in their homes by identifying hazards, and taking corrective action where necessary.  They have met stringent requirements for education and experience, and through examination, have demonstrated expertise in areas such as air sampling, bio hazards, ventilation and engineering controls, health risk analysis, toxicology and methods to mitigate these issues.

For More Information:

An interview highlighting the dangers of toxic mold in New York City is available at the New York Times.

You can go to and read A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home.

I also recommend a book titled The Mold Survival Guide for your Home and Health, by Jeffrey C. May and Connie L. May, available through

Don’t Underestimate This Serious Health Concern:

Like radon, lead paint and other chemicals we now know to be hazardous to our health, we are learning more about mold and its dangers all the time.  Mold can be found in multiple household locations that you might not expect, including the underside of furniture, interior window trim, bathroom walls and ceilings, underneath sinks and refrigerators, carpeting, and even around potted plants.

It’s much better to remove any possibility of mold spores along with moisture problems by being vigilant in your home. A Healthy Home is the Ultimate Luxury. (TM)

Ornamental moulding in the corner of a white room







Inside Trudy’s Beach Bag

TotesBeauty41489 copy


I’m all packed for a day at the beach! Come take a peek inside my beach bag so I can share with you my ten must-have items for a fabulous island day in the sun.


nantucket beach


1.The Nantucket Beach: There’s nothing so beautiful, peaceful, and restorative in all the world as the gorgeous sandy beaches on Nantucket. I’ll never get used to how lucky I am to enjoy such a wonderful spot, even after a lifetime of summers on the island.




2. Sunscreen: The most important thing we need for a day in the sunshine is a good sunscreen. Mine is made without nanoparticles from Nurture My Body. Made in small batches, their 100% organic sunscreens are made with non-nano zinc oxide and they never use any harmful petrochemical sunscreen ingredients. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 10th Annual Guide to Sunscreens has more information on safe sunscreens.


coyuchi beach towel


3. Beach Towel: The beach towel I can’t live without is the organic beach towel from Coyuchi, made of 100% organic cotton, grown and made in Turkey. Coyuchi is part of the 100% Club, a group of 17 brands that exclusively use organic fiber in their cotton products. They also use low-impact dyes and non-chlorine bleach, and never use wrinkle-resistant finishes, which contain formaldehyde.


4. Things to Read: I may need to bring a second beach bag just for my reading material. After a week of busy days, my reading can pile up. Here’s what I can’t do without:

  • The latest copies of The Inquirer and Mirror, where the first page I turn to is Marianne Stanton’s column “Here and There.”



nancy thayer

The Rumor, by Elin Hilderbrand

elin hildenbrand

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

circling the sun

and for my educational reading, Environmental Psychology for Design by Dak Kopec

environmental psychology

5. Snacks:

I pack a jar of my favorite crunchy almond butter with a spoon, and a granny smith apple with a knife. I cut up my apple into slices and spread it with the almond butter for a delicious, healthy mini-meal.

Raw Organic Almond Butter on a Background

6. Water

Because I avoid drinking from plastic, I carry two glass bottles of Mountain Valley Spring Water with me. It’s refreshing and has no potentially harmful chemicals. Plastic is particularly unstable and can release BHA (among other dangerous chemicals) when it gets hot, as is it very likely to do on a sunny day at the beach. Why drink spring water? It’s been filtered by the earth and contains trace minerals the human body needs.



7.A Baseball Cap

A baseball cap is essential to shade my eyes and protect my hair.

baseball cap

8. Doggie Comforts

My three dogs love to come to the beach with me, so I bring what they need for their comfort, too: homemade organic dog biscuits (recipe follows), raised dog beds to keep them off the hot sand, and tennis balls for playtime.

tennis balls


Dog biscuit recipe: Mix together rice flour, olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, eggs, and parmesan cheese. Roll into cigar shapes and bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on their size. I keep them in the freezer, then defrost a few at a time and wrap them in wax paper bags (not plastic!) for transporting to the beach.


9. A Beach Umbrella:

beach umbrella

We need more protection than sunscreen for a day at the beach. Plus with a brightly colored umbrella, you can find your way back after cooling off in the surf.


10. Prosecco and Champagne Glasses

champagne glasses

Once the sun sets, it’s time to break out the Prosecco, and champagne glasses–real ones, because you can’t properly toast the end of a perfect day with anything else.





Guest Post by Robert Dane, Master Glass Artist

Dane Action 1 copy

I asked my good friend Bob Dane to share with us some of his inspiration and experiences as an artist and master glass blower, part of my continuing series on artists and their work. He kindly agreed. Please click on the link below to enjoy the music of Mongo Santamaria and Afro Blue while you read this post:

I have been blowing glass for over forty years, starting at Massachusetts College of Art in 1973. Over the years I have studied with many of the masters of the Studio Glass Movement, including Lino Tagliapietra, Pino Signoretto, Dan Dailey, Dante Marioni, and William Morris. My work is created in my studio in Heath, Massachusetts, in the northern Berkshires of western Massachusetts. My wife, Jayne, directed a high school music program until 1996, when we opened our gallery on Centre Street on Nantucket. The Dane Gallery shows my work, and the work of some of the top artists working in glass today.

Dane Heath Brook Studio copy

Heath Brook Studio in the Berkshires

My artistic evolution spans years of working in the studio and learning from colleagues. The themes I have always focused on are of a continuum revolving around life and growth. There is an inherent optimism in my work, which I have tried to reinforce in the face of a seemingly constant barrage of negativity and pessimism coming at us from many sources. The beauty of Nature in its many forms continues to inspire me and inform my work. We are often too absorbed by the day to day of our own small existence to visualize and recognize the grand scheme, which is transpiring around us. My aim is to celebrate the beauty of the progression of life as it ever unfolds and reveals itself.

Dane Raised Cane Vases copy

Raised Cane Vases

Another source of my inspiration is music. For many years I have studied Afro-Cuban percussion. The music of the community is reflected in my sculpture. Traditional, folkloric Afro-Cuban music and Jazz share the same spirit of improvisation as glassblowing. When I’m playing in a group, I respond to what the other musicians are doing to create a whole. Something of that improvisation is found in my glass studio, where I work with three assistants. We all have to respond to each other’s movements, timing, and actions to create the finished piece. The horn form, which I have used in many of my sculptures, is a tribute to the improvisational nature of the music and a potent symbol of our culture. The titles of these sculptures are taken from different Jazz tunes.

Dane Sculpture Rejoice copy


My production work is influenced by the Italian tradition of glassblowing, but has a distinctly American flavor. Vibrant colors and the spontaneous improvisation of these unique designs distinguish my work in a two thousand year tradition of glassblowing. My “Tutti Frutti Goblets” are all one of a kind, spontaneous expressions of life’s pleasures. As in any group, no two are like. When they are together, they enhance each other’s presence, creating a unique and beautiful experience. My goblets are very functional, and they set a beautiful table. I celebrate the communion I share with the people who drink from my glasses.

Dane Tutti Frutti Wine-Powder Twist copy

Tutti Frutti Wine Goblets

Glass is a very common material, but at the same time it is mysterious and exciting. It is made primarily from sand mixed with other chemicals,to make the silica melt at a lower temperature (2000 degrees F), and to give the glass certain working and visual properties. In the studio, the fire, the movement, and the need to be constantly focused on the process have sustained my love affair with this amazing material. I am constantly learning new techniques as I work. With glassblowing, there is always a sense of discovery that is truly endless.

Dane Tutti Frutti Water Glasses copy

Tutti Fruiti Water Goblets

Another reason glass appeals to me is that the tools and the processes we are using today basically haven’t changed over the last thousand or more years. We’re living in a techno-industrial society, but we’re carrying on this tradition, perpetuating the culture of handmade things. A glass blower from a thousand years ago could sit at my bench today and know exactly what to do. Glass does not deteriorate. It is fragile yet strong. The pieces that survive are a record of our culture and history, as they have been for thousands of years.

Dane Three Birds Candelabra copy

Three Birds Candelabra

This summer will be an exciting one for glass and art on Nantucket. The Dane Gallery is proudly sponsoring a return visit by the Hot Glass Roadshow of the Corning Museum of Glass. ( All of the proceeds from “Hot Glass Nantucket 2016” will directly benefit the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club, a vital island organization dedicated to the education and development of the youths of Nantucket. So far we have raised almost $200,000 to support the programs of the Club.

hot glass details


The Hot Glass Roadshow is a portable glassblowing facility dedicated to bringing the artistry and education of glassmaking to the general public. “Hot Glass Nantucket 2016” will be a great opportunity for the Nantucket Community to experience the mystery and excitement of glassblowing firsthand. The focal point of the program will be “You Design It; We make it!” Children will participate by designing and drawing a glass object. Over the course of the weekend, designs will be chosen to be created in glass by the Corning glassblowers. This will be a unique and special experience that they will never forget. In addition, we will present glassblowing demonstrations by artists represented in our gallery: Raven Skyriver, Toots Zynsky, and myself. See their work at, and my work at

Here are a couple of videos to get a sense of what we do in the hot shop:


Raven Skyriver:

Robert Dane:


Remembering David Hostetler

David carving Lacewood copy

David Hostetler 1926-2015

Part of a Continuing Series on Nantucket Artists

Art touches us in so many ways: it adds beauty, opens our eyes and hearts, helps us see our world in a new way, and not least, is a legacy to the artist whose work is left behind on earth for new generations. David Hostetler, who passed away in November, was a wood carver and bronze sculptor of works capturing the female form, whose career spanned 69 years. He and his wife, Susan Crehan Hostetler, spent the winter months on a 40 acre farm in Ohio, and summers on Nantucket. Nantucket is home to the Hostetler Gallery, which will remain open, where Susan will continue to sell Hostetler art..

hostetler gallery

David played drums in his own jazz band on the island, too. That’s the wonderful thing about artists. It’s hard to pin them down. So often, they turn their hands and their talent to more than one discipline, as if the ideas that filled them had to spill over into other art forms or else overflow. Here’s how David explained it:

Summertime Lady

Summertime Lady

“My life centers around artful choices, the life rhythms, shapes and spaces, and their infinite combinations. My lover, my nest, carving on a log, drumming, woodland meditation and archery are involved. The coming together of art, rhythm, forms and space can be magic. The quest for this magic gives my life purpose and provides my joy of being.”

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The IKON at The Sheffield on West 57th Street in New York City

David was the creator of a series of original works that were inspired by goddesses and celebrated women of historical significance, according to the artist.

Hostetler The Duo

The Duo can be seen at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City. Although the heads are looking in different directions, the fused bodies speak of total commitment.

David said he based his entire life’s work on capturing the spirit, romance, and earthiness of the feminine.

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“My 69 year art career has been a continuous quest of the nature of woman. It has led me from the contemporary woman as mother, wife, nurturer, to vamp, seductress, and queen. Now the journey harkens to the pre-biblical period, to ancient civilizations of women-centered societies. My focus is the Near East with Minoan, Cretin, and Cycladic imagery. Their ascendancy was from 12,000 to 500 BCE.”


Guardian, in Zebrawood

In a world where women’s bodies, rights, and intelligence are not universally honored, its is wonderful to see ourselves through David’s eyes. “The goddess represents the all-encompassing power of woman, the manifestation of humanity as a part of a whole, part of the cosmos and part of nature: an image that men and women can embrace equally.”

david carving

His ideals found beautiful fruition in his works, which appear in more than 25 museums and galleries, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. His pieces are found in public collections from Nantucket to New Mexico to the Netherlands.

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David’s Studio in Athens, Ohio

Born in Ohio, David had a close relationship with his Amish grandfather, an influence that remained with him throughout his life. After graduating with a BA in Education from Indiana University, he obtained a Masters of Fine Arts from Ohio University, then taught for 38 years. In addition to his artwork and teaching, he trained as an engineer, worked as a farmer and a salesman, owned a commercial pottery factory, and created an art commune.

david and susan hostetler

David and Susan Hostetler

His contributions to the world of art are many and diverse. David was an integral member of the Nantucket community. He will be missed. A memorial will be held to celebrate his life on July 17th at the Hostetler home on Nantucket.

david hostetler

Nous Celebrons Paris!


Nous celebrons Paris!


Paris, France - February 9, 2015: The Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France.

We celebrate Paris: as the host of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, for her brave citizens who continue to live their lives in spite of the horrific acts of terrorism in 2015, for the inspiration the city has provided to all of us around the world as an example of beauty, elegance, and joie de vivre!

Here’s a look at some of what we love the most about The City of Light.


paris notre dame

“Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history; so she seemed in this age of Napoleon III with her towering buildings, her massive cathedrals, her grand boulevards and ancient, winding medieval streets–as vast and indestructible as nature herself.” –Anne Rice



Dramatic view of Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Black and white image, same film grain added.

“I like the Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace”.–Natalie Lloyd



Paris, France - September 13, 2013: People resting in the street terrace of cafe Le Metro. Located on the place Maubert, the cafe provide the fine service for tourists

“I guess it goes to show you that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for awhile.” –Amy Thomas



paris pont alexandre iii

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.”–Victor Hugo



paris baguettes

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”–Ernest Hemingway



Alexander III bridge, Paris, France

“We’ll always have Paris.”–Rick, Casablanca



STRASBOURG, FRANCE - NOV 16, 2015: Je suis Paris - messages, candles and flowers are left around General Kleber statue in memorial for the victims of the Paris Attacks.

“Je suis Paris.”–the world





Simple Giving

happy new year 2015 with christmas hat on sandy beach with wave - holiday concept

Each year, when the family is gathered together, we talk about our plans for the holidays. In recent years, inspired by how a friend and his family in Switzerland found a deeper meaning in Christmas,we have agreed to celebrate in a simpler way.

Skyline view of the old city center of Bern, Switzerland (an Unesco World Heritage Site) during a winter twilight. Some snow visible on the rooftops of the buildings. Between the houses, the spires of the most imposing churches of the city can be spotted, as well as the dome of the Switzerland's Parliament House. HDR Image.

My friend and his family live in a tiny storybook village. I’ve been there, and it’s magic. Their new way of celebrating began when their son, Theo, came home one Christmas Eve from college and told the family that he had heard the local village butcher was going out of business, and closing that night. As a family, they totaled up the cash value of their presents, and decided to return them. Instead, they brought the cash amount to the butcher and his wife in an envelope that very night. Their business was saved. They all cried with joy.


And so it goes. Instead of the rush to buy gifts and spend money for things we don’t truly need, we focus on giving from our hearts. There are so many creative options! Last year, some people read aloud from passages or poetry that are favorites.

My aunt gave blankets to the Sioux Native Americans to help them get through the winter. One person crafted a lovely handmade ornament for our tree, others made donations to Greenpeace, or did acts of kindness, such as visiting shut-ins. We all shared our stories at the table, and it was a very uplifting and joyful time. Noisy, too!


We do like to keep the tradition of giving gifts to the children, as a symbol of the gifts of the Magi to the Christ child in the manger. As they grow up, we’ll explain the significance of this. So our little Luke, Vidal, and Richard Thomas will all have gifts. That’s half the fun–watching them open things so joyfully!

Frank and I are gifting a live pig to a family through our favorite charity, Heifer International. Hopefully, he’ll be on his way soon. Livestock gives the village the gift of independence, and the piglets are shared in the village to spread the abundance.

heifer pig

We’ll also share photos of our “adopted” child in India, a little boy named Nik (just like my stepson, Nick!) through Childfund International. Not only does he share Nick’s name, but they share a birthday: September 10th! His father is so ill with diabetes that he can no longer support the family. Now they have money for insulin, and clothes for Nik so he can attend school. I’ll even show the family Nik’s report card.

childfund international

Watch a Childfund International video here. 

I chose the title of this post to be the same as the name of a wonderful book by Jennifer Iacovelli, the author of Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day

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Jennifer began a blog, Another Jennifer, in February 2010, to explore the topic of philanthropy and what it meant. As a fundraiser for a non-profit organization for several years, she was getting frustrated with her progress in raising money to support good works, and urging legislators not to cut public funding.


Jennifer Iacovelli

Her book, Simple Giving, takes her blog one step farther. She hopes to inspire readers to do more giving in ways that are meaningful. Giving doesn’t always mean writing a check. It can be taking the time to write to your legislator about an issue important to you, or bringing doughnuts to your local fire department. You might check on an elderly neighbor, or just write a thank you note to someone who has done something for you.

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

–Henry James

In addition to Jennifer’s simple suggestions for daily acts of kindness, she shares some ideas for charitable giving to organizations you might not have heard about before. There’s Nearby Registry, a website that allows you to shop for unique gifts from local shops and nonprofits. Or To The Market, an online marketplace that showcases handmade goods created by survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease.


Molly Bears makes weighted teddy bears –so they feel like you’re holding an infant–for families who have experienced any form of infant loss, free of charge. Climate Counts holds companies accountable for their influence on climate change. Ark Project Now is based on the movie Evan Almighty, when Steve Carell’s character asks Morgan Freeman, who plays the role of God, “How can we change the world?”

And Morgan Freeman replies, “One act of random kindness at a time,” and writes the abbreviation, A-R-K, into the sand with a stick.

Lovely young brother and sister write words in the sand together

One person can make a difference; one person can change the world. Let me know what you choose to write in the sand, and how you’ll bring hope to people who may have lost theirs.  I’ll share it here, and on my Facebook page.

Happy Holidays.

Word "Hope" handwritten in sand at beach.


Making Chemical Exposure Visible


One of my favorite organizations, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), just published a list of their victories in 2015, and how they translate to their goals in 2016. One of the most fascinating items was a pilot project they funded with My Exposome, using silicone wristbands that measure the chemicals we encounter every day in the air, and in the products we use.

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For one week, research volunteers strapped on their wristband, which absorbed chemicals–from pesticides to flame retardants–making the invisible world of chemicals visible.

Closeup of watering of plants in glasshouse

The EDF plans to recruit more volunteers in 2016 to improve their understanding of environmental exposures. And then they plan to use that information to spur policy changes to reduce key sources of harmful exposures.

Want to sign up as a research volunteer? Help advance chemical science here!

Photo of My Exposome Courtesy of The Environmental Defense Fund. 

Rooms with a View

rwav exterior

For 21 years, the Southport Congregational Church in Southport, Connecticut has hosted a wildly popular design show, Rooms with a View (RWAV). RWAV is unique in that it is not a full show house, but rather, a sound bite version of a designer show house. Each year, 12 designers are invited to create 6′ by 8′ vignettes, staged with 8-foot ceilings and three walls, and located in the library and great hall of the historic stone church. And this year, I’m one of the lucky designers!

southport congregational church

The theme this year is “Home for the Holidays,” so you’ll find my Nantucket-style take on the concept in the library.  I don’t want to give anything away–I want you to come see it for yourself!–but I will tell you that its designed to be a peaceful island retreat, overlooking Nantucket Harbor, and in an elegant room that’s ready for a loving reunion with family and friends.

Nantucket by Sondy Rexford

photo credit: Sondy Rexford

The show opens on Friday, November 13 at 10:00 a.m. There’s a Gala Party Friday evening, featuring cocktails and hot d’oeuvres from some of the best restaurants around. Saturday opens with a Fashion Show and a Royal English Tea, and the evening features a Champagne Tour of the Vignettes and Gourmet Dinner. And it’s not over yet! On Sunday, there’s a Gingerbread House Workshop in the main tent at 2 p.m.

rwav gala

This spectacular event was created by the late, renowned designer Albert Hadley, and continues under the leadership of Parker Rogers. Thom Filicia is the celebrity Honorary Chairperson.

thom filicia

Rooms with a View is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 13th to 15th, and in addition to the vignettes, you’ll want to visit The Shops at Rooms with a View, with more than 30 vendors selling crafts, antiques and decorative accessories. If you need a nosh, you can stop at the Marketplace Cafe.

rwav cafe

Sound like fun? The weekend promises to be one of the most festive events of the season. In addition, over the past 21 years, RWAV has raised more than $1.4 million. Proceeds support the work of the church and its many local and international missions, including Alpha Community Services, Bridgeport Council of Churches, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Burroughs Community Center, Center for Women and Families, Eagle Hill School Scholarship Fund, Emerge, Inc., Family Re-Entry, FSW, Grasmere by the Sea, Homes for the Brave, Horizons, Janus House, The Kennedy Center, Operation Hope, The Pilot House, Project Learn, Prospect House, Simply Smiles, St. George’s Soup Kitchen, and Visiting Nurses of Connecticut.

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Don’t miss it!

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Learn more here.


Come See Me On Nantucket!

I’m excited to have two wonderful events coming up on Nantucket the first week in August. If you’re on the island, I hope you’ll come by and say hello. At both, I’ll be talking about my favorite topics: green design, healthy living, and being kind to planet earth. I welcome your questions and am looking forward to celebrating summer with all my island friends!

On Wednesday, August 5th,please come to the panel discussion on Eco-Friendly Building and Design, hosted by Audrey Sterk’s Nantucket Color & Design Studio at 18 Broad Street.

I’ll be appearing along with my good friend Tom Ayars, a renovation and restoration expert with 35 years of experience, from 5 to 6 p.m. Tom will talk about how restoration and renovation can be “green,” too. If it’s a nice day, we’ll be outside on the patio.

On Friday, August 7th, I’ll be helping to celebrate the Dane Gallery’s 20th Anniversary with a Comfort Zone book signing from 6 to 8 p.m. Please join us for refreshments and great conversations at 28 Center Street. I’ll be answering your questions about healthy homes and green design, and what I mean by “eco-elegant.” (You can have a beautiful, sophisticated home, and have it be “green,” too!)

Hope to see you all there!

Nantucket Film Festival

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Nantucket Island comes to vibrant life in the summer. Beginning on Wednesday, June 24th and continuing through Monday, June 29th is one of the most highly anticipated events on the island–the Nantucket Film Festival!

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In My Father’s House

It began in 1997, when brother and sister Jill and Jonathan Burkhart  joined forces with Mystelle Brabbee to create one of the premiere destination film festivals in the world. People come from near and far to enjoy our island, so rich in history, beauty and culture, and the film festival has added to the island’s long list of world-class events.


Peggy Guggenheim–Art Addict

Two very special examples from this year’s features are The End of the Tour, about literary sensation David Foster Wallace, and What Happened, Miss Simone?, about the high priestess of soul, Nina Simone. There are many more feature films, shorts, special screenings,documentaries, and a screenwriting competition and analysis for aspiring screenwriters.


The End of the Tour

Signature programs include In Their Shoes –one with Beau Willimon and Robin Wright, and another with Robert Towne; a Screenwriter’s Tribute; Late Night Storytelling; and Staged Readings.

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A special program called Morning Coffee takes place Thursday, June 25th through Sunday, June 28th. Morning Coffee offers a chance to hear captivating and inspiring working tales from filmmakers’ perspectives. Each day has a special focus. Thursday: Comedy. Friday: Documentary. Saturday: Screenwriting/Directing. Sunday: Filmmaking on Location.

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It’s a chance to see fabulous,sometimes hard-to-find films, and engage with some of the most fascinating people in the filmmaking industry. Find out more here!

Remembrance on Memorial Day


Memorial Day began as Decoration Day after the Civil War, a time to remember the soldiers who lost their lives, both on the Union and Confederate sides. Today, it is a day of remembrance for all American service men and women who have dedicated their lives to duty for their country.

american flags

“Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes–remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth.”


My father, Lt. Col. Robert W. Stefanov, US Army Air Corp, 1944

For all who serve, we thank you.

The Search for Sustainable Communities

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A hot topic among Baby Boomers, empty nesters, and my friends these days is the best place in the country to downsize and enjoy a freer lifestyle, perhaps more so this spring because of the long, snowy winter in the northeast and midwest. Some of those conversations have focused on the availability of not only beautiful places to enjoy warmer weather or have a second home, but communities that honor sustainable living and “green” practices. My husband, Frank, and I have made our own Connecticut property pesticide and chemical-free for over twenty years (the former owner kept the property chemical-free, too), and we’ve been searching for a completely green community for years.

Bartlesville inn at price tower

 The Inn at Price Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.Bartlesville ranks high on the list of great places for affordable living with many cultural offerings.

Unfortunately, although you do hear about “green” developments, many of them simply have the word green in their name. Many others incorporate a few sustainable elements, but what I hoped to find, a comprehensive green community with LEED certified buildings, energy efficient air filtration systems, and chemical-free zones aren’t yet on the drawing boards. Perhaps the time is right to push harder for some of the eco-friendly features we’d prefer.

retire charleston

Charleston, South Carolina: photo courtesy of Charleston was voted America’s Number One City for the third year by Conde Nast Traveler.

Many publications offer a “best places to retire” list. Forbes Magazine recently published their own list of top 25 places that fits what most  Americans consider desirable features. Among them are a reasonable cost of living, a mild climate, a low crime rate, the ability to easily keep fit, with places to walk, bike and hike, good places to shop, and cultural activities. Of course, what appeals to one person may not appeal to another, which is the reason for lots of options. When you add a sustainable lifestyle to the mix, the options are narrower.

retire biker

Sustainable features may include water and energy conservation, access to public transportation or shops within an easy walking or biking distance, use of recycled or local materials, and indoor air quality. The LEED rating system offers points for walkable proximity to stores, schools, and churches, which is more common in urban centers. There is a movement back to the cities for empty nesters, to be closer to culture, restaurants and nightlife. A few places where walking is definitely part of the lifestyle are Capital Hill in Seattle, Short North in Columbus, Ohio, and Highlands in Denver.

retire short north

Short North Arts District, Columbus Ohio: photo courtesy of

Finding the perfect spot, sustainability aside, means choosing among the many welcoming towns scattered across America. Beaufort, South Carolina has gotten high marks from almost every magazine that has reviewed “best places to live,” including Coastal Living, Travel and Leisure, CNN Money, and Smithsonian Magazine. Located on Port Royal Island in the Intercoastal Waterway, its history reaches back 300 years, with the Historic Beaufort Foundation responsible for preserving much of its original architecture. If the Mandevilla-scented breezes don’t entice you, then perhaps the shrimp and sweet tea will.

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Beaufort, South Carolilna: photo courtesy of Coastal Living. Ranked America’s Happiest Seaside Town by Coastal Living, 

Nestled in between two of the South’s most beautiful and historic cultural centers, Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina, is Spring Island. An island community in a 3,000 acre nature preserve and Live oak forest, Spring Island features unspoiled islands, undiscovered inlets, and stunning water views.

retire spring island

Spring Island, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of spring

Charleston, South Carolina offers Camellias blooming in February, fabulous low country food, historic buildings that have survived the Civil War and the marvelous Spoleto Festival that takes place for 17 days and nights every spring. It’s a natural choice for me, as many members of my family call South Carolina home, and it takes me back to the days on the family farm with my grandparents.

retire Charleston-South-Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina: photo courtesy of

With tides rising and more frequent, severe storms due to climate change, however, the fact that the Battery is one foot below sea level should be considered. But then there’s the  charming beach on nearby Sullivan’s Island…weighing pros and cons can be so difficult!


 Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina: photo courtesy of

Kiawah Island is only 23 miles from Charleston, and is another on the list of Coastal Living’s Happiest Seaside Towns in America. Open space abounds on the island, but so does luxury, with some of the country’s most stunning beach residences found there.  It’s ten miles of unspoiled beach, five award-winning golf courses, thirty miles of paved trails for walking, running and biking, and home to egrets, herons, and bald eagles, among other seaside wildlife. Sitting in the shade of a magnolia tree there could give a whole new meaning to relaxation.

retire kiawah beach house

Kiawah Island, South Carolina: photo courtesy of Located only 23 miles from Charleston, and a popular choice for second homes. 

For year-round living, Rowayton, Connecticut has it all. I speak from experience since I lived there for nine years. Surrounded by Long Island Sound and Five Mile River, it’s a lovely waterfront community with all the related water sports, boating, and fishing. There’s an active Historical Association, a lovely church, and a civic center in a stone library. It’s a small town community just a short ride from the Big Apple!

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 Rowayton, Connecticut

 Of course, for me as for so many of my friends, “all roads lead to Nantucket.” With its history, charming architecture, and the Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum, voted one of the ten places you must see before you die, it’s a destination for some of the most fascinating and accomplished people on earth. Its island setting makes it a very “green” community. Few pesticides are used there as people are aware of the fragility of the eco-system. What’s dumped in the landfill ends up in the water supply very quickly. A downside to any seaside community is mold growth, with the constant moisture in the air. Still, island living offers quite a trade-off.

nantucket harbor

 Nantucket, Massachusetts

Another popular feature  is being surrounded by a wildlife-friendly habitat. Not only does it provide beautiful scenery, but it offers a green oasis for birds and other wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation recognizes eighty three communities that have worked to be certified as wildlife habitats.

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Charlotte, North Carolina has over 17,000 acres of parks, 21 nature preserves, and 33 miles of greenways. Photo courtesy of

Sweetwater in the Foothills, Arizona is a planned community whose organizing theme was to create a community that is harmonious with its natural upper Sonoran desert setting. It provides critical habitat for birds, reptiles, rabbits, javelina, bobcats, and coyotes.  Landscaping is committed to low water usage and retaining the native desert plants.

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Sweetwater in the Foothills, Arizona

 As the second largest city located south of San Diego, Chula Vista has long been recognized for residential design and environmental innovation. There are over fifty miles of gorgeous coastal landscape, rolling hills, mountains and canyons. Hundreds of miles of trails attract hikers, bikers, birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts. There is a thriving downtown with a historic district known as Third Avenue Village, making this one of the most desirable places to live in the U.S.

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Chula Vista, California

Another lovely choice that celebrates progressive thinking and sustainable living is The Pinehills, a planned community of 1,700 homes in Plymouth, Massachusetts, located in the world’s third largest pine ecosystem. A commitment to environmental stewardship resulted in setting aside 2,200 acres (70 % of the total area) as preserved open space, homes are carefully sited to harmonize with the woodlands, roads follow–rather than alter–the natural valleys and contours, and a village green serves as the heart of the community.

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The Pinehills at Plymouth, Massachusetts

Powder Mountain, Utah, in development now by, a group of young entrepreneurs with a modern vision for mountain living, is designing a number of homes limited to 1,000 square foot dwellings, and capping the size at 4,500 square feet. One of their goals is to stop the “mcmansionification of mountains,” according to Thayer Walker, Summit’s chief reconnaissance officer. Part of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, less than an hour from Salt Lake City, Summit is building their development on 10,000 acres on the southern side of Powder Mountain and leaving most of it open space. They plan to use locally sourced, reclaimed and recycled materials that conserve energy and comply with LEED specifications. When complete, it will consist of 500 ski-accessible homesites with cultural amenities and miles of walking, biking and nordic trails.

retire powder mountain

A comprehensive guide to green retirement communities doesn’t exist yet, so it’s important to be wary of “greenwashing,” the practice of presenting a product or building as green when it doesn’t meet many of the requirements for a true sustainable community. Some of the features to look for include:

  • Meets the EPA’s Energy Star standards
  • Achieves high standards of indoor air quality
  • Uses locally produced or recycled building materials
  • Incorporates water conservation
  • Achieves a minimal footprint on the land
  • Has renewable energy sources or efficient building envelopes
  • Preserves natural resources
  • Built with non-toxic materials
  • Eschews the use of pesticides in favor of Integrated Pest Management

The original experiment in environmental accountability is Arcosanti, the self proclaimed “laboratory” of mixed-use buildings and public spaces where people live and work together. It operates as a not-for-profit educational organization devoted to urban planning research.


Arcosanti: photo courtesy of the Cosanti Foundation

No individual town or development listed here should be taken as an endorsement of their suitability by me. I recommend that you carefully investigate any community before purchasing a home there. You may find that you agree with some practices, and disagree with others. You are the only one who can choose the right location for you and your family. 

I’m curious to know what places you’re looking into, and why. I’d love to know what pros and cons you’re considering. Let me know what you find!

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 Cape Coral, Florida: photo courtesy of

Light It Up Blue!

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An organization that has always been close to my heart is Autism Speaks, and their fabulous month-long campaign called Light It Up Blue.

I’ve supported Autism Speaks for years, alarmed by the rapid increase in children affected by the disorder. I have written about autism every year since I began this blog in 2011. My most recent post is here.

Autisim Walk with Frank

My husband, Frank, and our Bichons at Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Autism is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. One in 68 children per year are diagnosed with disorders on the autism spectrum today, a forty fold increase in the last ten years. For boys, the rate is four to five times that of girls, at one in 42. The rate for girls is one in 189. I’ve walked on Nantucket to raise money and awareness (Walk Now for Autism Speaks: there are walks all over the country–check it out!), and in 2013 created a very special holiday tree to honor the families who struggle with autism and to help bring attention to their search for a cure.

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Nantucket Whaling Museum’s Festival of Trees, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2, 2015, and kicks off a month of autism awareness with Light It Up Blue. Light It Up Blue (LIUB) asks everyone to honor people with autism worldwide. Buildings, landmarks, hotels, concert halls, schools, and thousands of homes will light it up blue. This year, even the Great Pyramid in Egypt will Light It Up Blue!

light it up blue pyramid

Here’s how you can help:

  • Light your homes, businesses and schools blue! Change outdoor and indoor light bulbs to blue bulbs.


  • Wear blue: ties, scarfs, shirts, shoes! Ask your family and friends to wear blue, too.


  • Post blue. Use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram and Pinterest to share your support for Light It Up Blue. Use the hash tag #LIUB.


  • Distribute information about autism and Light It Up Blue in your community.



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The Cleveland Clinic is doing their part, too. Beginning Monday, April 13th through Sunday, April 19th, 43 participating Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Northeast Ohio will bake a specialty puzzle piece shortbread cookie and donate 100% of the proceeds to the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. Not in northeast Ohio? You can purchase a virtual cookie here. 

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The Winter Antiques Show


It’s no secret that I love antiques. Old furniture and objets d’art hold the secrets of our past, as well as reverence for our future: they are the ultimate in green! By reusing and respecting heirloom furniture, china, jewelry, paintings and ephemera, we help to preserve antiquity and the earth.

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That’s why one of my favorite destinations is an antiques show, where the number of exhibitors and antique experts gathered together under one roof offers a fabulous opportunity to browse, learn and buy. I love collections. A group of similar items, whether antique scrimshaw or Chinese Export porcelain can add a conversational sizzle to any room. I often begin a collection for my clients when I select something special to accessorize a space; they often delight me (and themselves) by falling in love with the fun pursuit of other examples of their treasure.

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From now through February 1st, you can enjoy some of the world’s finest antiques and meet some of the most respected antique experts and dealers in New York City at the Winter Antiques Show. Held at the Park Avenue Armory, at 67th Street and Park Avenue, a $25 admission fee brings you face to face with 73 exceptional exhibitors. One third of them are specialists in Americana; the rest feature English, European and Asian fine and decorative arts.

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It’s for a good cause, too: the show is a fundraiser for East Side House Settlement, a community resource in the South Bronx, offering education and technology as gateways out of poverty. Friday, January 30th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. is Expert Eye Evening, when exhibitors will share tips on collecting works from antiquity to Midcentury modern while you enjoy wine tastings and discussion.

Peter Pap

If you go, please be sure to visit with Peter Pap, of Peter Pap Oriental Rugs. Peter has been dealing in oriental rugs for more than 35 years, and is recognized internationally as a foremost authority on antique oriental rugs, carpets, and tribal weavings. His website offers a section called Learn, which offers information on the history of rugs, how to choose a rug, and more. There’s nothing like learning from an expert!

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A Barnyard of Blessings

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Here’s how to make a difference in the world, the way Heifer International does it: Start a cycle of positive change. When you think about it that way, it’s simple, isn’t it? That’s why Heifer International has been my charity of choice for holiday gift giving for many years. I  celebrate all the goodness in my life and the success of Dujardin Design Associates by doing what I can to end poverty and hunger.

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None of us can change the world, but we can change the life of one person for a day, a week, or more. Heifer International’s mission is the same one behind “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” The way Heifer founder Dan West saw it nearly 70 years ago, don’t give a hungry child a cup of milk, give her a cow. Or maybe a pig.

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Heifer helps to bring sustainable agriculture to communities with a long history of poverty. Heifer animal gifts provide both food and much needed income, when turned into products such as eggs, milk and honey.

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This year, Dujardin Design Associates has purchased two Barnyards of Blessings, with gratitude to our clients and friends who have made this donation possible. If you’re looking for a charity to support this holiday season, I encourage you to consider Heifer International. The goal of every Heifer project is to encourage self reliance by providing the tools communities need to sustain themselves.

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We can’t change the world, but maybe we can change a village. I hope you’ll join me!

Nantucket Christmas Stroll

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I’m not sure there’s anything more enchanting than the annual Christmas Stroll on Nantucket Island. It’s part of Nantucket Noel, which is a monthly long celebration organized by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. Christmas Stroll this year is from Friday, December 5th through Sunday, December 7th.

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My husband, Frank, and I will be there, as always, with our three little white Bichon Frises, and my dad, Bob! We wouldn’t miss the carolers in Victorian costumers, the bell ringers, the magical talking tree, and of course Santa arriving by boat!

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This year is extra special, as I’ll be at Mitchells Book Corner for a book signing on Saturday, December 6th from 12 to 1 p.m. I hope you’ll come by to see me if you’re on the island.

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My publisher tells me that my book, Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior, makes a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone wanting a more beautiful, elegant, and healthier home. (And don’t tell anyone, but all my secrets are in there!)

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It’s such a magical time of the year. I hope you enjoy every minute of the holiday season, no matter where you are.

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Photos courtesy of the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce; except first photo courtesy of 

My Whirlwind Book Tour

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It’s hard to pick the best part of the experience of writing and launching a book, but the chance to meet so many wonderful people, see my many dear friends, and share my message of sustainable design and green living has been very rewarding! Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior was first introduced on Nantucket, and then we were off to Boston and New York!  Join me for a look back at the friends who opened their doors to me and have helped to make Comfort Zone a success!


First stop: 26 Main Street, Nantucket, at Quidley and Co.!  A beautiful summer evening brought friends, visitors, wine, and hors d’ouevres together for a festive introduction for Comfort Zone!

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A big thank you to Chris Quidley for hosting our first party. Here he is with Dujardin Design’s Sondy Rexford and Price Connors.

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Next stop: 54 Main Street, Nantucket, and Mitchell’s Book Corner! This is where I gave  my very first talk about what it was like to write Comfort Zone, and all the information inside!

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I explained to my guests at Mitchell’s that Comfort Zone could just be read as a beautiful design book, with more than 350 color photographs, or readers could drill down deeper and really learn about sustainable design.

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Then it was on to One Chestnut Street, Nantucket, and the beautiful Flowers on Chestnut.

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Comfort Zone and I were warmly welcomed by shop owner Michael Molinar.

Michael Keane

My longtime friend, renowned marine artist Michael Keane stopped by to see us. Here we are with my dad, (and my biggest fan), Robert Stefanov. For a look at Michael Keane’s incredible talent, see my blog post The Sea-Worthy Artwork of Michael Keane.

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We couldn’t launch a book without a stop to see our friends Ken and Deborah Withrow at the Union Street Inn. We’ve been entrusted with designing the inn’s historic common areas and guest rooms twice. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the inn’s back patio. Here I am with Ken!

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Before we knew it, it was September, and I was scheduled to appear at What’s New, What’s Next? at the New York Design Center, 200 Lex. This time I was welcomed at Calger Lighting, where Carmella Califano had arranged wine and hors d’ouevres (and some amazing brownies!) for all our guests that day.

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My husband, Frank Fasanella, is always there to support me (even taking care of business from our book tour!) Here I am with Calger’s Carmella Califano.

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Up for the drive to Boston, anyone? Come along for my panel discussion at the Boston Design Center!

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Kyle Hoepner of New England Home Magazine moderated a panel on sustainable architecture and design. I was joined by John R. DaSilva, AIA, of Polhemus Savery DaSilva, and Susan Brisk, a kitchen and bath designer and a faculty member at Boston Architectural College. The morning was sponsored by EcoModern Design and Cosentino. Eco-Modern’s David Sanborn and Cosentino’s Merry Leclerc joined us in this photo.

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A book signing followed at EcoModern Design’s showroom. They put out a delicious spread of appetizers to welcome our guests. A big thank you to David Sanborne and the staff at EcoModern!

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Then it was back to Connecticut, and a visit to Fairfield University’s bookstore on Post Road in Fairfield.

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Many of the university’s design students attended and we had a lively discussion on sustainable design.

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My thanks to Elizabeth Hastings for arranging such a lovely evening. Here I am with Rob Hardy, the director of Interior Design programs at Fairfield University.


No time to rest yet! Next on the schedule: a panel discussion on why antiques are the ultimate in green. Hosted by de Le Cuona during Fall Market at the Decoration and Design Building in New York, Creating an Eco-Elegant Interior was the topic for moderator Kerry Howard, who led the discussion. My co-panelist was The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines. I wish you all could have been there!

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Finally, the fabulous New York launch of Comfort Zone! Hosted by the gracious Stark family at Stark Carpet, we threw ourselves a wonderful fete, with Prosecco and wine, delicious bites and sparkling conversation. It was truly the celebration of the year!

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Our hosts for the evening: John and Chad Stark. My deepest appreciation for their warm support and beautiful showroom!

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Lots of books…

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and lots of signing!

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The party in full swing!

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It was truly an elegant and very special evening.

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And on October 20, here we are at Currey and Co. in High Point, North Carolina. On the right is company owner Bob Currey with his poodle companion, Reeves. My deepest thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this tour possible!

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So Long, Summer

Summer Is Over

Summer passes so quickly by. Join me for a last look at the season we love!

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Photo courtesy of David Fingerhut

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“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

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“Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.” Deb Caletti

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“One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” Jeannette Walls

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“The cure for anything is salt water–tears, sweat or the sea.” Isak Dinesen

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“A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.” Henry Grunwald

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“Hark now, hear the sailors cry, smell the sea and feel the sky…” Van Morrison

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So long, Summer. It’s hard to say goodbye but a new season is right around the corner, and there’s always something to look forward to. I have new things to share with you then.  I can’t wait to tell you about them!

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Battling the Autism Epidemic

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I’ve written before about my concern for for the 70 million people affected by autism worldwide, and their families. Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders–autism spectrum disorders–caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors.

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The numbers are rising, as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control’s new statistics: 1 in 68 children, 1 in 42 boys have autism. It is an urgent public health priority that requires increasing global awareness, services and research. World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated each year on April 2, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing health crisis. Autism Speaks recognizes that day with its international Light It Up Blue campaign.

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Thousands of communities participate, with iconic landmarks, businesses and homes across the globe uniting by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families around the world living with autism.

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I’m doing my small part by helping to spread the word through my blog and Facebook page, as well as providing financial support and participating in Walk Now for Autism Speaks. The Nantucket Walk will take place this year on August 16th, starting from Jetties Beach. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across America. Please visit Autism Speaks here to find a walk in your area!

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Autism Speaks is a worldwide organization co-founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright. They are tireless in approaching autism from every avenue, and transforming lives, one person at a time. A new documentary, Sounding the Alarm, has been produced. The film follows autism families as they follow tangled rules and regulations, and steadfastly fight to find and afford the right care and treatment for their loved ones throughout their lives.

Autism Walks Bob and Suzanne Wright 2010

Watch the trailer here. It’s available now on Netflix.

Bring the Look Home with Coastal Living!

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Used with permission by Coastal Living Magazine; Photo by Ozerov Alexander

We’re in the Summer Issue of Coastal Living Magazine!


According to the July/August 2014 issue of Coastal Living Magazine, the Union Street Inn on Nantucket is one of the most friendly and refined of all the B&B’s on the island. I would wholeheartedly agree, as Dujardin Design had the privilege of working with innkeepers Ken and Deborah Withrow to create an updated and elegant look that is still quintessential Nantucket. Our five-phase design of the inn began more than 12 years ago, and was completed by redoing every room and common area in time for guests arriving in Spring 2013.


As Coastal Living says: “Housed in a 1770s whaling captain’s home minutes from Nantucket’s humming wharves, this intimate inn embraces a crisp, modern look created by Dujardin Design Associates–there are no doilies here.”

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“Its gently sloping hallways and narrow doorways lead to 12 guest rooms dressed in broad-striped wallpapers and richly patterned fabrics in a quartet of colors–pale yellow, nautical blue, sea glass green, and deep crimson. The shell white Frette linens and Matouk duvets on the beds make the rooms at Union Street feel like especially comfy havens.”

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“Guests linger over the library nook’s seafaring titles.”

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“In the sunny common rooms, oak pedestal breakfast tables are set for cooked-to-order breakfasts…”


“…while a sleek settee and chairs are clustered around an antique chest in a corner made for coffee and easy conversation.”

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You won’t regret a stay in an inn named “one of the ten most romantic hotels in the U.S.” by Fodor’s. In the meantime, check out the The Summer Issue of Coastal Living!

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All Union Street Inn Photography by Jeffrey Allen

Sand, Salt, and Shingle Style Architecture

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There’s nothing that says Nantucket so much as its weathered grey houses with white trim. Although Nantucket is famous for shingle style houses, the architectural style is a tradition on beach front properties across the east coast, including Long Island, Cape Cod, coastal Maine and Newport, Rhode Island. They first appeared in New England after the 1876 Centennial celebration, when America was fondly looking back on rustic Colonial style buildings, and architects were happy to a rebel against Victorian fussiness.

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One of the primary characteristics of a shingle style home is the gentle way it blends into the landscape. Key features are its soft grey surface, plain siding, very little ornamentation, a welcoming porch, and a rambling outline. Victorian shingles were made of thinly cut, unpainted cedar that quickly became a weathered grey from exposure to the oceanfront elements.

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Their apparent simplicity belied the fact that most were vacation homes for the very wealthy. Well-known architects such as Henry Hobson Richardson, Charles McKim, Stanford White and Frank Lloyd Wright were drawn to the form, and began creating their own versions of shingle style homes. Perhaps the most famous shingle style home is the summer residence of George W. Bush, built in 1903 on Walker’s Point near Kennebunkport Maine.


Bush Summer Residence; Photo Courtesy of

On Nantucket, a large population of Quakers greatly influenced the social mores and architectural styles on the island. Their insistence on simplicity and minimal decoration  made the shingle style house enormously popular during the 19th century, and the island’s large stock of historic homes has set the standard for any new homes built since.

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Today, the Nantucket Historic District Commission oversees homeowners’ building and renovation plans with strict regulations that dictate a home’s height, use of shingles, and a pitched roof to protect the island’s historic character.  Homes are often surrounded by charmingly old fashioned gardens, overflowing with hollyhocks, peonies, foxgloves, and larkspur, and bordered by trellises covered in tumbling pink roses that give the island its signature grace and charm.

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Earth Week 2014


Earth Day is on Tuesday, April 22nd this year, but many organizations and individuals are celebrating the entire week as Earth Week. From Monday April 21st to Friday, April 25th, you can help mark the event in your community, your workplace and your home. Every little step counts, often for the littlest creatures among us.

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For a new approach to celebrating with family and friends, the Earth Day Network is suggesting an Earth Day Dinner,  prepared with as many local, seasonal and organic products as possible. Look for new sources of locally grown produce and organic meats and vegetables. Include information behind the history of each food, and if you know something about the farm where it was grown, or the farmer who grew it, share that, too.

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This is also a good week to make the switch to “green” household cleaning products.  See my March blog post on ways to Clean Green.

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In this month’s What I Love, I share information on how to keep your pets free of ticks and fleas, without resorting to chemicals that are toxic to them, and to you and your family. Read it here.

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Seventh Generation offers excellent green living tips on their website for the entire month. Some of my favorites are:

-Open windows and doors occasionally (even in winter) to bring in fresh air and rinse out pollutants that have accumulated inside. I also suggest investing in a whole house air filtration system. Learn more here.

-If every home in the U.S. replaced just one 12-pack of 300 sheet bathroom tissue with Seventh Generation’s 100% recycled product, we could save 1.9 million trees and 690 million gallons of water.

-Dust with a damp cloth to ensure that household dust, the final resting place of many toxins that enter our homes, is removed and not stirred back into the air.

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My five things that everyone should do to live more healthfully are here. 

Tips on creating a “green” and healthy bedroom are here.

There are many more posts on my blog about choosing non-toxic products and materials, and living a clean, holistic life. I encourage you to read through the archives and learn more!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”–Margaret Mead

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My Environmental Hero: Chief Oren Lyons

oren lyons 3There are many passionate activists working to educate people about the dangers of climate change, and doing what they can to make a difference. They are my environmental heroes, and I’d like to introduce them to you on Holistic House. As the first in a new series,  I decided to begin with Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy). He is also a member of the Council of Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee. You may have heard of him as a professor, author, publisher, outspoken advocate of both environmental and Indigenous causes, and if that weren’t enough, honorary chairman of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team!

Years ago, I sat with him at my first sustainable design conference. He said that when the tribal council of elders gathers to consider a decision, they look at its impact not to the next generation, or even the next, but all the way to the seventh generation. He also told me that while we in our culture call the trees “resources,” that his people call them relatives. Those thoughts have guided me in making many decisions in the years since.

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Chief Oren Lyons is a voice for the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. He describes it like this: “At first I wanted to defend the Iroquois. Then my sights broadened to embrace other Indians. Then I saw this had to include defending indigenous peoples all over the world.”

In the same way, he has a commitment to protecting the earth. His words are powerful, and I hope that by sharing them with you here, together we can help his audience to continue to grow. I believe that we are in the midst of a crisis on our planet, but it is not too late to take action, wherever we can, to help heal the earth.

Chief Lyons says:

“It seems to me that we are living in a time of prophecy, a time of definitions and decisions. We are the generation with the responsibilities and the option to choose The Path of Life for the future of our children, or the life and path which defies the Laws of Rengeneration.

“We can still alter our course. It is NOT too late. We still have options. We need the courage to change our values to the regeneration of our families, the life that surrounds us. Given this opportunity, we can raise ourselves. We must join hands with the rest of Creation and speak of Common Sense, Brotherhood, and PEACE. We must understand that The Law is the Seed and only as True Partners can we survive.”

He also says:

“Global warming is real. It is imminent. It is upon us. It’s a lot closer than you think, and I don’t think we’re ready for what’s coming. We’re not instructing our people, we’re not instructing our children, we’re not preparing for what is coming. And it surely is coming. We’ve pulled the trigger and there is nothing we can do now to stop it. The event is underway.

“The chiefs, and I personally, feel that we have not passed the point of no return. Not yet, but we’re approaching it. And the day when we do pass that point, there will be no boom, no sonic sound. It will be just like any other day.”

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Chief Lyons was born in 1930, and raised in the Iroquois culture on the Seneca and Onondage reservations in upstate New York. He served in the United States Army, and received an athletic scholarship to Syracuse University. In this video, he describes the beginning of his commitment to environmentalism, during a conversation with his uncle after his graduation.

You can learn more about Chief Lyons by watching Bill Moyer’s PBS documentary, Faithkeeperor by watching Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary The 11th Hour. 


Preventable Anxiety


Life is busy, and often stressful. Anxiety is a very normal reaction to the kind of stress we all deal with: family issues, work deadlines, health challenges, and the smaller, relentless kind of stress that wears at us day after day, such as traffic jams, lost keys, and long lines at checkout counters. Mental health specialists encourage us to do what we can to manage stress, and to minimize its effects, with meditation, good nutrition and exercise, among other things.

My friend Dr. Richard Bloom has taught me another way to manage stress through his term, “preventable anxiety.” (He says the term was inspired by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s emphasis on Preventable Illness.) Preventable Anxiety simply describes the kind of situations where we could become anxious, but where we also have the opportunity to take control. Whenever we can actually prevent anxiety–and it’s different for every individual–it’s something wonderful we can do for ourselves. Here are a few of the ways I prevent anxiety in my life:

A Clean Desk Top

The best way for me to prevent anxiety first thing in the morning is starting each day with a clean, clear desk top. That means stopping work early enough in the evening so I have time to file papers, complete phone calls, and make a thorough to do list for the following day.  An uncluttered office goes a long way toward instilling a feeling of confidence for handling the day ahead. 

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Organized Closets

I love a linen closet that has everything lined up by size and color and season. It’s fun for me just to open the armoire and gaze at it all! Old sheets and towels are given to the local pet adoption agency, P.A.W.S. There’s less clutter, and I love thinking about those puppies or kittens having a cuddly towel to snuggle up to!

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No More Eleventh Hour

This is something I had to learn later in life. In my college days, I always stayed up all night and handed in the term paper at the eleventh hour. No more! Holiday cards are ordered in early November, shopping is done ahead of time, and work is completed before the deadline.

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Safety for Ourselves and Our Loved Ones

Another source of preventable anxiety for our family: our three Bichon Frises clowns are the light of our life. In our hometown, coyotes have been coming closer and closer to residential areas for food. They are no longer afraid of humans, and our little Bichons are just the right size for a snack. Two neighbors have lost their beloved pets to coyotes. Even though our yard is fenced in to 5 feet, we added 8 foot high deer fencing all the way around for further protection so the coyotes can’t jump into the yard. Preventable anxiety!

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Having a plan (or a map) for special occasions and large projects, with all the tasks written down and dates assigned for when each detail will be taken care of can help clear your mind of worries. Delegating tasks is part of this, so write down who’s responsible for what, and when you expect them to complete their part of the project on an outline, and don’t forget to update it. 


Where in your own life can you employ “preventable anxiety?”
I’d love to hear!

A Peek Inside My Library

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One of the pleasures of winter is the warmth of our homes when the cold winds are blowing. Dusk falls early, making a simple dinner of hot soup and crusty bread, a roaring fire, and a stack of books to while away the dark hours all cold weather pleasures. I’m a constant reader, and am always asking people what books they’re enjoying. I thought I’d share with you the pile of books beside my favorite reading chair, the stack of books on my cocktail table, and the tower of books at my bedside. I hope you find something you enjoy here.

Books That Replenish My Spirit:

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After a long holiday season and a whirlwind of parties, presents and merry-making, the (relative) quiet of January is just what I need.  Here are the books that are helping me push the “reset” button for my mind and spirit:

The Four Doors: A Guide to Joy, Freedom and a Meaningful Life, by Richard Paul Evans.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander, M.D.

A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough, by Wayne Muller

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, by Wayne Muller

How Then Shall We Live? Four Simple Questions That Reveal the Beauty and Meaning of Our Lives, by Wayne Muller

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, by Rick Hanson

Books on Travel:

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My husband, Frank, and I are planning our tenth anniversary trip to Italy. It’s where we honeymooned.  The planning and anticipation is part of the pleasure!

Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo, by Tim Parks

The Grand Tour: Travelling the World with an Architect’s Eye, by Harry Seidler

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Sicily

Italy Bed & Breakfasts, by Nicole Franchini and Clare Brown

Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History, by Sandra Benjamin

Italy of my Dreams, by Matthew White

Fabulous Fiction: 

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Reading fiction is pure pleasure.  A good novel takes me away to another place and time, filled with people I feel I know by the time I shut the cover. Here are a few on my nightstand:

A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry

The Light Between Oceans, by M. L. Stedman

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy

Design for a New World : 

I’m a continual student of the latest thoughts and ideas in my industry, and about our impact on the earth. I’m intrigued by the concept of living “off the grid,” and creating the smallest possible footprint on the planet. Here are two books I’m reading now.

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Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid: Your Path to Building an Energy-Independent Home, by Sheri Koones and Robert Redford

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150 Best Eco House Ideas, by Marta Serrats

I’m never sure if I buy too many books, or not enough. What I am sure of is that books are the warmest path through winter. Let’s all let books light a fire within us!

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“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”–John Green



Trudy in the News!

Coastal Living Magazine interviewed me for their December 2013/January 2013 issue:



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 I was also featured in Mahon About Town’s November 8, 2013 Nantucket Newsletter:

Umani* of Nantucket/Trudy Dujardin

by Sara Boyce

I have known Trudy Dujardin through the years, as she has a passion for fine arts and visited me regularly at The Brigham Galleries. We overlap at many of Nantucket’s social events and both attended the Food and Wine trip in Burgundy for the 5th anniversary of Nantucket Jumelage in Beaune, but we never had an in depth conversation about Trudy’s career until this summer at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Antiques & Design Show,  August 1 – 5, 2013.

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Trudy Dujardin is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and splits her time between Westport, CT and Nantucket. Trudy was one of the three designers to create a showcase booth at the Antiques & Design Show to detail how to incorporate antiques into a home.

A LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction, Trudy is licensed for Sustainable | Green Design. “LEED” stands for “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” and the third-party designation created by the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.

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A “Green” sustainable home, designed by Trudy Dujardin

What is your design style?

“Classic, clean, timeless, eclectic, personal, sustainable, and non-toxic. I love to do interiors that support the health of the homeowners or end users.”

What was your first big break into the business and do you have any advice for younger designers?

“I was a Fine Arts major first and then went back to school for Interior Design because I found that doing commissioned paintings in my studio was too solitary and isolating for me. I thrive on interacting with people! I began by doing store window displays and that caught the eye of a local business person who wanted to open an interior design studio. I helped launch the business and became Director of Design there.

“Young designers: select a well-known design firm that you admire and apply to be an apprentice! You will be learning from the best and learning things that are not taught in design school.”

What advice would you give a client who has a limited budget but wants your input?

“Select just one space or room to begin. We usually suggest the foyer since first impressions are lasting.”

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Foyer designed by Trudy Dujardin

What is the most interesting or challenging home you’ve designed?

“The gatehouse to the ancient castle in St. Andrews, Scotland on the North Sea. We transformed the gatehouse, which was being utilized as a dorm, into a four-story private residence. Andrew Black was the architect.”

Where (or from whom) do you get your creative inspiration?

“I find inspiration from Billy Baldwin, my travels, and all museums and galleries. I also teach sustainable interior design at Fairfield University. I’m always inspired by my students and their creative solutions to the projects we’re working on.”

Born in 1903, William “Billy” Baldwin, Jr. was a designer whose name became synonymous with exceptional American design. Always placing comfort at the forefront, he was one of the designers credited with developing a recognizable “American” aesthetic.” While he described himself as a colorist, Baldwin was known for his instinctual gift for proportion, scale and contrast. At 70, Baldwin retired professionally, and soon after retired from his constantly social life to Nantucket, where he passed the remaining years of his life. According to his New York Times obituary, a partial list of his clients included
Cole Porter, Billy Rose, Mary Wells Lawrence, the Paul Mellons, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mollie Parnis, Mike Nichols and Diana Vreeland. One of the first men in the business of Interior Design, Baldwin became one of the leading designers during his lifetime.

What are your “go to” sources, lines, or manufacturers for quality furnishings and fabrics?

For furnishings: John Boone, Holly Hunt, Rose Tarlow. For fabrics: Holland & Sherry.

What makes the difference between a good designer and a great designer?

“Talent! Of course, the ability to listen and “hear” the client’s vision and then bring that “wish” for how they want to feel in their room into reality.”


Is there anything significant in how you would approach a Nantucket project v. projects off island?

“A sense of place – always and everywhere. You should “feel” as though you are on this very special island 30 miles out at sea. If it’s an historical house, we are diligent about not demolishing history or architectural details, often researching and studying the history of the property and giving that research to the client in a binder for background and appreciation of their home.”
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How do you work with a client who has different tastes than yours?

“Our work is always client driven: it is their home, their sanctuary, and must be a place that feels like home to them. So after many conversations and written programs, I can truly understand what they love. Even if they love a color I don’t favor, that’s not important.

We do not do thumbprint design so each home looks just like the last. Each is truly a custom creation for that particular client. I tell them at the first interview, ‘you might not see exactly what you want in my portfolio or on my website. Those designs were custom tailored to that particular client’s taste and lifestyle and I will create a unique one for you, too!'”

Trudy’s work has been featured in the following magazines:

Architectural Digest
At home in Fairfield County (Trudy sits on their Green Advisory Board.)
Avenue Magazine
Cape Cod And Islands Home
Coastal Living
Colonial Homes
Connecticut Cottages And Gardens
Country Living
Good Housekeeping
Greenwich Magazine
Home & Garden Nantucket
Interiors And Sources
N Magazine
Nantucket Magazine
Nantucket Today
Only Nantucket
Progressive Architecture
Traditional Home (Trudy sits on their Green Advisory Board.)
Westport Magazine
Dujardin publications include a book titled “The Holistic House” and a DVD titled “Seaside Home”.

Best Historic Preservation, American Society Of Interior Design
Best Interior Design Detail, American Society Of Interior Design
Asid Shooting Star Award For Excellence In Interior Design And Best Example Of Creativity, Two Years Running
Greenway Communications – Award Of Excellence For Communication In Sustainable Design.

Awards & Accolades
House Of The Year: Cape Cod & Islands Home Annual Guide
Best Historic Preservation Design: ASID Connecticut Chapter
1st Place For Excellence in Interior Design Detail: ASID Connecticut Chapter
Outstanding Alumna Award: Southern Connecticut University
Award of Merit: Santa Fe Conference & Leadership Summit On Sustainable Design
Shooting Star Award for Best Example Of Creativity, Ingenuity And Design Excellence In Green Design: ASID Connecticut Chapter
Finalist, A-List Awards: Moffly Media, Dining Room Entry

View more of Trudy’s work at the Dujardin Design website, or read her blog.
*”Umami” is something the Japanese recognize as the 5th flavor, in addition to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. A nuanced word, one could define it as the “je ne sais quoi” that deepens flavor, the experience, and imparts satisfaction and sensory delight. To me, it’s “that which makes Nantucket special”.

Food, Wine, and Drink Editor, Sara Boyce has been working in the luxury market since she visited Nantucket for a “three-week” visit after 9/11.

As an Art Dealer turned “Lady in Chief” at Grey Lady Wines, Sara indulges her passions of bringing people together over food, wine, beauty, and travel. Grey Lady Wines specializes in boutique wine recommendations and Private Collections, but Sara feels the best glass of wine is always that shared with friends, ideally before dancing.

To share photographs or comments on Nantucket’s Food, Wine, and Social scene, email her at


alone together

I’ve recently made a promise to myself to unplug more often from the internet, social media and my i-phone.  While I value the ability to stay in touch with my business, clients, family and friends, it’s too easy to spend a day emailing and texting and not have any thing accomplished at the end of it. I was encouraged in my resolve when I watched an episode of Bill Moyers on PBS that aired October 18, 2013, with MIT professor, author and clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle.

In her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,  Sherry Turkle says, “As we instant-message, text and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude…We discovered the network–the world of connectivity, to be uniquely suited to the overworked and overscheduled life it makes possible.  And now we look to the network to defend us against loneliness, even as we use it to control the intensity of connections.”

She describes groups of people in classrooms, meetings and social gatherings, all on their phones, as “there but not there.”  Where people used to speak to each other when they had down time, now they use it to catch up on e-mails.  Time to read, time to talk, time to see the world around us, has been replaced with a screen.  With our attention elsewhere, we don’t interact with the people who are next to us.

happy man talking on the phone, forgetting about his wife

Watch the Bill Moyers interview with Sherry Turkle here, where she discusses the problem of constant interruptions.  She says that technology promises us that we never have to be alone, never have to be bored, and that we can always be heard by someone, somewhere.

For an opposite approach to life, that of mindfulness and being present,  Pema Chodron talks to Bill Moyers about the value of not only powering down our electronic devices, but also quieting our minds. According to Chodron, spending time in solitude each day through meditation makes room for new experiences. It’s an excellent antidote to our fast-paced, constantly connected lives.  She says that even when her mind won’t stop its chatter during meditation, she still thinks more clearly when she is through.


Comedian Louis C.K. has refused to buy cell phones for his children, which he considers especially toxic for young people:  “You need to build an ability to just be yourself, and not be doing something.  That’s what the phones have taken away–the ability to just there like this.  That’s being a person, right?”  Watch him talk about it with Conan O’Brien here.


Turkle refers to the seduction of being constantly connected and endlessly entertained as “moments of more, and lives of less.” She asks us if technology is offering us the lives we want to lead?  And if not, what can we do about it?

Ironically, Bill Moyers turned to his Facebook audience for advice on how to unplug.  Here’s what they had to say:

Create Sacred Spaces:  Make the kitchen and dining room a device-free zone.  Turkle espouses this idea, but warns parents that it will be impossible to do if you wait until the children are teenagers to institute it.  Start when they’re young, and set a good example.

Collect the Phones:  Some people have had success with putting a basket on the table by the front door, and collecting phones as people come in.  If you like, you can add a sign that says, “Place your devices here so we can socialize while we visit with each other.”

Develop Self-Discipline:  People are becoming more conscious of their constant cell phone use, and are making it a rule for themselves not to text or email when they’re with friends and family.

Embrace your partner: Turn off the phone and kiss, says Bradley Harper.  And repeat.


A writer I admire is Richard Louv, author of the international bestseller Last Child in the Woods.  In that book, he warned of the dangers of children growing up with what he called “nature-deficit disorder,” and inspired an international movement to reconnect kids and nature.  In his next book, the Nature Principle:  Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder, ” he speaks this time to nature-deprived adults.  He says that our society has developed an outsize faith in technology, and that we are leaving behind the power of the natural world.

He encourages all of us to find our “one true place” in the world, a piece of land or water that calls to us.  For me, Nantucket has always been my “one true place;” my home on Long Island Sound is another.  Not all of us are blessed with living in the region of our choice, but Louv says we can make our home our “one true place” by discovering and becoming fully immersed in our own bioregion, bringing more nature to our homes and gardens

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I’m reminded of a remark  I heard from Chris Luebkeman, an educator and director for Global Foresight and Innovation at Arup, a professional services firm.  At the Design Futures Council meeting I attended this fall, he spoke about email overload, and said, “My inbox is full.  If you need to be in touch–call me.”

Chris Luebkeman

Let’s all see if we can’t empty our inboxes, and unplug for the holiday season.  I’m looking forward to quality time with the people I love.






Embracing the Autumnal Earth

autumn in ct


Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf’s a flower.–Albert Camus


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God gave all men all earth to love, but since our hearts are small, ordained for each, one spot should prove beloved overall.–Rudyard Kipling






For how many people do you think might yet stand on this planet before the sun grows cold?  That’s the responsibility we hold in our hands.–David R. Brower





We need the tonic of wilderness; to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe.–Henry David Thoreau





How many hearts with warm red blood in them are beating under cover of the woods, and how many teeth and eyes are shining!  A multitude of animal people, intimately related to us, but of whose lives we know almost nothing, are as busy about their own affairs as we are about ours.–John Muir



Orange Kayak


There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.–Michael Nolan


vidal with pumpkins better version


Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. –Neil Postman


The photo above is of my husband Frank’s grandson, Vidal, and the light of my life.  We try to spend as much time as we can with Vidal outdoors, as I am a believer in the Children and Nature Movement, chaired by Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods. Sometimes called Leave No Child Inside, you can learn how to start your own movement here. 

If there are children in your life, I urge you to read Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.  I promise you that you will be inspired to make more room for nature in your every day life, and in the lives of the children you love.


Life on Nantucket with Author Nancy Thayer: Second in a Series

  A Guest Post by Bestselling Author and Nantucket Resident Nancy Thayer

Nancy Thayer headshot 1

 On Island Girls and Houses

In my novel Island Girls,  a young woman named Meg returns to her father’s Nantucket house for the first time in years.  When she arrives, she sees:

“White clapboard, three stories high, with a blue front door sporting a mermaid door knocker…On either side of the front door, blue hydrangeas blossomed, and pink impatiens spilled from the white window boxes.  It was a storybook house.  A house with many stories.”


 Houses hold the stories of our most private lives, and the hues, textures, and furniture reflect our dreams, hopes and memories.  As a writer who has lived year-round for almost thirty years on Nantucket, I find that many of my novels begin with a house.

Street Side Garden

Meg, now a college professor, is eager to return to her bedroom in the historic old house.

“Like all old Nantucket houses, this one rambled oddly around, with rooms that had fireplaces or closets built in at odd angles.  But the path to the bedroom, her bedroom, was embroidered into her memory like silk thread on muslin.”

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We are all shaped by our past, and so are older houses, which we shape, and which, if we allow them, shape us.  One thing I admire so very much about Trudy Dujardin’s interior design is her sensitivity to the past, to the life of each particular house, and her ability to match that to the desires of each particular owner.  It seems to me that something spiritual seeps into the wood and walls of a house, enriching it, just as scotch aged in oak barrels is enriched.

The house my husband and I live in was built in 1840.  It’s a tall, narrow house, with beautiful wide-board floors and peculiar additions, often called “warts” on Nantucket.  When we first lived here, our children were nine and eleven, and we used the attic for a playroom and for my son’s private lair as he grew older.  But I always coveted the attic because of its view of the harbor and two lighthouses, and when our children were in their twenties, we had a half moon window put in, refinished the walls and floor, and now I have a true room of my own to write in.

Nancy thayer workspace

I write on a computer set on a practical new desk from Staples, but I also have an antique walnut desk with brass pulls in my study, and a wicker bookshelf that holds correspondence, calendars, notebooks, etc.  I love having old furniture around me.  So much that I see, hear, and touch inspires me with material for my books.

Nancy Thayer workspace 2

In Island Girls, “Meg cherished the room because of the slightly warped, ink-stained wooden desk and creaking cane-bottom chair placed against the back window, where she could sit and write or contemplate the starry sky and dream.”

Of course, houses must change, just as people do.  The driving plot of Island Girls is the father, who has left the Nantucket house to all three daughters–who have different mothers.  (Their father was a charmer, to say the least.)  The three girls have become estranged, but their father’s will requires them to live together for the summer in the Nantucket house.

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Their first argument begins with two of the sisters both wanted the same back bedroom, “with morning glory wallpaper and…a spool bed, covered with soft old cotton sheets and a patchwork quilt in shades of rose, lemon and azure, echoing the colors in the hand-hooked rug covering most of the satiny old pine floor.”


Some extremely modern events take place in this old house.  Houses are for the living, after all, and just as we respond to them, they settle around us however we are, so a room once full of settees and music boxes becomes a media room with comfy sofas and a flat screen TV.  Houses shelter us against the literal and figurative storms of life, they keep us safe, and they wait for us to come home.

cottage 2

I didn’t know until I was writing the last chapter of this novel exactly how it would end, which sister would get the house, if the ending would be happy or sad…and as in all my novel,s my characters surprised me.  I think it will surprise the readers, too, and I hope it makes them smile.

Nancy Thayer headshot 2

Life on Nantucket: First in a Series

Nantucket by Sondy Rexford

Please join me on a little trip to Nantucket this month! I’d like to highlight some of the things I love about this island, and what makes it so special to me. I’ve been coming to the island since I was a child.  I’ve owned five homes here, including one in town (the historic Captain Parker house) and one in Monomoy, as well as my current home in Madaket.  In the summer, all roads lead to Nantucket.

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The Captain George Parker House

Not only do I live here part time and work here, I also shop here, and do my best to support the good works of Nantucket’s charitable foundations and non-profit organizations.  It’s my way of giving back to the community that’s given so much to me.  August is a wonderful month.  There’s so much going on–the town is bustling, the shops are busy, parties are everywhere and the community is happy to support the many fabulous events in honor of some very deserving organizations.


The Dane Gallery 

Glass artist Robert Dane and his wife Jayne operate The Dane Gallery at 28 Centre Street.  I’m a collector of Robert’s beautiful glassware and bought some wonderful cobalt blue glasses there this summer.  Robert and Jayne represent artists working in glass, basketry, ceramics and wood; they’re one of the premier contemporary art galleries in the country. Visit them online here.  The photo below is whale art by artist Raven Skyriver:  another example of his artwork is in this month’s What I Love post.

whale art dane gallery raven skyriver

Walk Now for Autism Speaks:  August 17

Once again, my husband Frank, our three Bichons (Tuffy, Ellie and G.G.) and I will participate in the signature fundraiser for Autism Speaks, their annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks, to raise funds for autism research and raise awareness of this complex disorder.  Dujardin Design Associates is proud to sponsor signs along the path, signaling our ongoing support for individuals with autism and their families.  The Walk starts from Jetties Beach on August 17; learn more about it here. I hope you’ll join us on Nantucket, or on one of the Walks around the country.

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Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s Boston Pops Concert

August 10th will mark the 17th annual Boston Pops Concert to benefit the Nantucket Cottage Hospital.  The music starts at 7:00 p.m., and the beachside fireworks go off at 9:00!  It’s one of the best summertime events on the island. This year, the very talented Katie Couric will host the event, and the special guest is Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe-nominated star Matthew Morrison, perhaps best known for his performance on the top rated show Glee.  Details are here.


Swim Across America:  Making Waves to Fight Cancer, August 24

The Nantucket Island Open Water Swim takes place on August 24th at Jetties Beach. As part of Swim Across America, an organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, all funds raised will help support new oncology services at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and free cancer support programs offered by Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket (PASCON). Join in by swimming either 1/2 mile or 1 mile, or support the swimmers by making a donation.  Learn more here.


When I’m not meeting with clients, overseeing design installations, or attending wonderful on-island events with friends, I’m enjoying all the beauty, wonder and mystery that living on an island offers.  The sound of the sea, the smell of salt air and the seafaring history make living on Nantucket like nowhere else on earth.

Trudy photo of nantucket

With your back to the wind and your face to the ocean, you can almost see the whaling ships of long ago arriving in the harbor, laden with treasures from around the world.  We’re 30 miles out to sea, and a world away.  If you haven’t experienced the island, I hope you’ll visit soon.  Whenever you arrive, there’s always a light on.

sankaty point lighthouse

If anyone needs me, G.G. and I will be on the porch.

Dujardin porch compressed

Decorating with Antiques: a Deeper Shade of Green

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The Nantucket Historical Association hosts its annual Antiques & Design Show from August 1 to August 5 this year.  Dujardin Design Associates, Inc. will present a Designer’s Room Vignette with beautiful examples of treasured antiques and a display that shows them artfully placed in a room.  If you’re on Nantucket, come visit us at Bartlett’s Farm, 33 Bartlett Farm Road.  Here are all the details.   

In celebration of the timeless beauty of long-cherished objects and our desire to live lightly on the earth, it’s time we think about antiques in a new way.  Antiques are a part of a sustainable lifestyle, as well as a link to the past.  Let’s take a look at how these enduring parts of history can elevate both your life and your home’s design!

I have always been an ardent collector of antiques, and the addition of carefully selected pieces to sophisticated interiors is a recognizable signature of my design style.  Sharing my love for classic pieces comes naturally to me.  I find that my clients quickly embrace the elegance of antique furniture, and often become collectors themselves.  Homes are brought to life when old paintings, pieces of porcelain, or folk art add their charming artistry.

As we learn more about how to assess the health of our built environments, and steps we can take to keep our homes clean and pristine, it’s important to recognize the ways that antiques can be an integral part of a green lifestyle.

Photo Seven Library

 This is a fabulous collection of treenware, dating from the 19th to the 20th Century.  Note the darning egg, and the antique stereoscope–the earliest form of television!  The book displayed is by British treenware expert Burt Marsh. Photo:  Durstan Saylor

No Chemical Vapors Are Brought into your Home

Your home’s interior should be a place of fresh air and health.  Yet any new piece of furniture, cabinetry, flooring or finished wood has some chemical overtones.  Many fine finishes release vapors in a process called off-gassing.  In a closed environment, such as an energy efficient, airtight home, off-gassing can increase indoor air pollution to levels several times higher than those detected outside.  Antiques are a healthier choice than modern furnishings because they were created with less toxic products years ago, and any off-gassing has long been complete.

antique ships model

This living room is a showcase for beautiful antique accessories, including a 19th Century ship’s model behind the sofa, and a pair of lamps made from 18th Century Chinese Export porcelain.  A pair of 19th Century British hand carved candlesticks and a 19th Century ship’s captain’s lap desk are on the cocktail table.  Photo:  Durstan Saylor

No New Resources Are Used

Every beautiful piece of wooden furniture originated from a tree.  Whenever we purchase new wood furniture, unless we choose products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), we are contributing to the deforestation of our planet.  In contrast, wooden antiques are products of trees culled long ago from old-growth forests. Old pieces add a soothing mix of periods to a room, and since no new resources were used in their construction, their restoration and re-use is a green endeavor. 


 This study reflects the long seafaring history of the coast, with a 19th Century ship’s telescope, and a 19th Century ship’s barometer hanging to the right of the window.  Framed antique prints are on the wall, and the mantle holds part of a collection of sea captain doorstops.  

No Negative Environmental Impact is Created

Beyond the health issues in our homes, we should consider the costs to our planet.  Even the very greenest furniture manufacturers distribute impurities into our air, waste systems and water.  New furniture requires the production of finishes, dyes and sealants.  Shipping them demands the creation of packing materials, and they arrive in retail stores via large vehicles powered by fossil fuel.  The EPA estimates that three million tons of furniture are taken to landfills every year, only to be replaced with brand new pieces that can carry a large environmental cost.


An extremely rare 19th Century English scrimshaw tortoiseshell is displayed above the fireplace; on the mantle are several antique lighting devices:  a corkscrew pigtail candlestick complete with hook for hanging over a chair, a rush light holder and antique binoculars. Photo: Terry Pommett

Antiques Are Recycled Treasures

Beloved family pieces, original wooden floorboards 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.  A federal mirror that has been passed from home to home and hand to hand brings history to life, and honors the work of long-ago artisans.

Dujardin Madaket british woolie

This is a mint condition 18th Century British Woolie, The Ship of Bengal, unusual for the ship’s identification as part of the design, and for its display of the British flag. Photo: Terry Pommett

Antiques Respect the Work of Long-ago Craftsmen 

Rather than purchasing a mass-produced item, treat yourself to something created in a small workshop by a craftsman who made good use of few resources.  In previous centuries, home furnishings were made by hand before machine-assembled items flooded the marketplace.  Artisans from years gone by had knowledge that largely disappeared during the Industrial Revolution.  Old joining techniques were abandoned in favor of more rapid assembly using staples and nails.  Fiber board was created and the beauty of the wood itself was lost.  Take the time to consider the difference between a finely hand-wrought piece and one processed in a factory.  Even contemporary rooms can be striking when modern pieces are blended with well-placed antiques. 

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This Ionic columned fireplace, in the Captain Parker house on Nantucket which I painstakingly restored, still retains its Sandwich glass clothesline knobs; string was wound between them so clothes could be hung to dry. Not all antiques are furniture.

Antiques Have Stood the Test of Time

Classic pieces are sturdy and well-made, which is why they have lasted.  The quality of their wood is usually stronger, created from timber with tighter growth rings, making repair a simple task when necessary.  Furniture that is unworthy of a craftsman’s repair time adds to our cycle of wasteful consumption.  Instead, your rooms can be accented with vintage furniture that has been lavished with love and care, and that honors history and tradition. 

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An old set of nesting baskets, handmade by 19th Century basket weavers. Photo: Erik Rank

Antique Collections Are a 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 collections. There is tremendous beauty in items preserved throughout the years, particularly if they illuminate another time and way of life.  Learning about the subtle differences among artisans, the period when an item was created, or the materials that were used to make it, gives us a greater appreciation for life.  

My personal collections include treenware (handcarved wooden items used in the home long ago), old hotel silver, blue and white porcelain, and things that speak to me of lives lived on the ocean, including whaling artifacts, scrimshaw carvings and sailor whirligigs.

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The foyer of the lovingly restored Captain Parker House on Nantucket, circa 1700’s.

Not All Antiques Are Furniture

You can find antique cabinetry, flooring, doors, beams, posts, mantels and other architectural pieces.  Consider a gorgeous 18th Century door to add punch and personality to your entry, or how about antique doorknobs and a doorknocker?  An old mantel delivers instant charm; remilled old timbers bring panache to the pantry.  Add the incredible details that your home may be missing.


This Victorian milk glass doorknob was added to an old door to restore it to its 19th Century charm.

Antiques Add Beauty and Joy to Life

There is a thrill when you spot the perfect 19th Century French farm table, Georgian stand or double pedestal dining table.  You feel an immediate connection to the Italian walnut commode or a beautiful pair of small paintings.  Antique collectors know that old things have a soul, based on their authenticity.  Whether you fall in love with hand-embroidered vintage textiles or white ironstone pitchers, each well-chosen piece adds to the unique style that is yours alone.  

eye catching blend

Photo:  Durstan Saylor

Blending newly designed furnishings with antique collectibles is a wonderful way to express yourself.  Concrete work surfaces and stainless steel works beautifully when paired with your antique dining table and old wooden doors.  Don’t be afraid to mix periods and textures.  Contrast can be the spice of life, and add spice to your home as well!

A New Look for Nantucket’s Union Street Inn


We’ve just completed the redesign of one of our favorite places on the island:  Ken and Deborah Withrow’s Union Street Inn.  We first had the privilege of designing the inn nearly 13 years ago, so when Ken and Deborah called us to refresh and update the elegant 1770’s former whaling captain’s home, we were delighted to return.  The June 2013 issue of Nantucket Today tells the story of the new inn, and Jeffrey Allen’s photos capture the beauty of the cozy 12 guestrooms, the common areas and the inviting new garden.

cake plate on desk

The hotel is renowned for its full gourmet breakfasts with a home-cooked entree every morning, along with a smoked salmon bagel option with cream cheese, tomatoes, chives and dill, or a fresh fruit plate and artisan breads.  In the afternoon, guests enjoy home-baked treats, such as white chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts, carrot cake or double chocolate brownies.

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We’ve renovated each of the 12 guestrooms to showcase beautiful period details.  The elegant rooms offer luxurious bedding, stunning designer furniture and fabrics, flat screen tv’s and complimentary wi-fi.  The inn has won multiple awards, including “One of the 10 Most Romantic Hotels in the U.S.” by Fodor’s.

bamboo bedroom 2

Owners Ken and Deborah have extensive backgrounds in both hotel and retail management, and have used their experience to create a sumptuous boutique-style inn that has guests returning over and over again.  The staff carefully tailors the concierge service to each individual’s interests, sharing their love and knowledge of the island and helping guests enjoy the “insider’s” Nantucket.

navy sitting room

Conde Nast Traveler described the inn as “impeccable New England by way of France.”

blue settee

We used crisp blues, whites and yellows throughout the inn, with fresh, tailored fabrics, wallpapers and accents.  The foyer, living room, dining room and kitchen were completely updated with the kind of sophisticated touches you’d expect from a boutique hotel, while never forgetting its origins as a sea captain’s home.

reading nook

The new library features a cozy reading nook.  It’s fully stocked with hardback titles ranging from contemporary fiction to design and Nantucket classics.


Just off Main Street’s cobblestones and the harbor, Ken and Deborah have made The Union Street Inn one of life’s unforgettable experiences.  I hope you’ll come to Nantucket and visit them.  Be sure to tell them I sent you!

Behind the Scenes at the Union Street Inn

The Union Street Inn, Nantucket

The Union Street Inn, Nantucket

A short walk down the cobblestone streets of “faraway island,” as the Native Americans called it, is an intimate boutique hotel called the Union Street Inn.  Owned and operated by Ken and Deborah Withrow,  experienced hoteliers who make the inn the luxurious and welcoming place that it is, this circa 1770’s hotel is a classic example of Nantucket architecture in the heart of the island village. I first designed the inn’s gracious circa 1700’s rooms thirteen years ago, and I have just had the pleasure of redesigning the inn from top to bottom for another generation of guests.  (Go here to see photos of the inn as it looked before the redesign!)

union street inn keys

Next month, I’ll share some wonderful photos of the new inn, but first, here’s a peek at what goes on behind the scenes at a design installation!


How many lamps does it take to fill an inn with light?  Handmade by a potter in Vermont, these lamps are arrayed in careful order before placement in the rooms.


We found this wonderful antique milk glass doorknob with a Victorian backplate for the door.


We took fabric and backed it with paper to create the wallpaper shown by this staircase.  It’s a contemporary adaptation of an 18th Century Chinoiserie pattern. (“Chinoiserie” is a french term, meaning ‘Chinese-esque.’)  This is typical of a wallpaper that would have been brought back by a ship’s captain from his ocean travels.


This is original bullseye glass with the typical 18th Century pontil mark.  To create it, the glass blower would gather about 30 pounds of molten glass at the end of his blow tube and blow the lump out to a small, hollow pear shape. This would then be transferred to a pontil  (a solid rod), and flattened and spun until centrifugal forces flattened the glass out into a smooth disk. When cooled, the pontil would be broken off.  The center piece, called a “bullseye,” would be cut out.  It was considered waste, and was either recycled into the glass furnace, or became an inexpensive pane for windows such as these.

This kind of interior door was common in 18th Century Nantucket.  The glass at the top was necessary in order to detect fires in the room without opening the door.


Here is Price Connors helping to unload a truck full of treasures for the inn!


Here I am, taking my turn with the unloading!  Everyone pitched in.


Once the tables were safely inside, the real fun began.  Where, oh where, do all these tables go?

I’ll show you just where everything ended up in my June Holistic House post.  Ken and Deborah are so pleased with our design work, which makes us very happy!  I think you’ll love it, too.  You can book a visit to the Union Street Inn here.

A Splash of Yellow: Daffodils on Nantucket

daffodil festival

From early April to mid-May, Nantucket bursts into bloom with millions of daffodils across the island  To celebrate, the island throws itself a party:  its annual Daffodil Festival!

daffodil festival 3

This year, the festival takes place from April 26 to 28.  More than just a weekend of flowers, islanders enjoy an antique car parade and tailgate picnic, art shows, a Daffy Hat contest, contests and lectures.  It’s a beautiful time to be on the island:  my husband, Frank, and I never miss it!

_daffodil festival 2

The splashes of yellow from coast to coast are pure inspiration after a long colorless winter.  Think about the ways you might use yellow to enliven your home and lift your springtime spirits.  Of course, bringing bouquets of fresh flowers inside is a pretty touch in any room.

Dujardin Website 332

Touches of yellow are also playful and bright when used in fabrics and upholstered furniture.  A small dash of yellow can go a long way.  In the photo below, yellow is used in the plaid upholstery fabric and in the trim on the ottoman.

touch of yellow

This month, celebrate the yellow in your life, wherever you find it!

DujardinMadaket 009


The Power of One


I often speak about my belief in the Power of One, the power each of us has to make a difference in this world.  Sometimes the problems we face as human beings can seem insurmountable, but they are not.  Together we can create a better world and a kinder planet, but someone has to take the first step.  The second step is easier, the third step easier still.  That’s when you find other people following you.

Here are a few of the things that inspire me to take a step:  Earth HourLight It Up Blue for Autism Speaks;  Her Haven, a new organization I’ve joined as a board member; and sharing what I know about eco-conscious living.



Dare the World to Save the Planet.  Switch off your lights on Saturday, March 23rd at 8:30 p.m. your local time, and show the world what you’re willing to do.  The world is using the equivalent of one and a half planets to support life on earth today.  Earth Hour is the single, largest, symbolic mass participation event in the world.  Born our of a hope that it could mobilize people to take action on climate change, Earth Hour now inspires a global community of millions of people in 7,001 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories to switch lights off as a massive show of concern for the environment.

There is no doubt that the world is facing some of the most critical environmental challenges in history.  That may make a sustainable future seem difficult to imagine, but it is possible.  Change this big needs you.  It needs every one of us. Join the global community at Earth Hour to see where change is already underway.





Light It Up Blue, annually observed on April 2,  is dedicated to raising awareness of Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. This initiative is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month in the United States.

Iconic landmarks around the globe – including the Empire State Building in New York City and Willis Tower in Chicago along with the CN Tower in Toronto and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia – as well as airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, restaurants, hospitals, and retail stores, are among more than 100 structures in over 16 U.S. cities and nine countries around the world lthat lit up in bright blue on the evening of April 1, 2010 – the first night of Autism Awareness Month in the United States and the eve of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).

Here are a few ways you can help in 2013:

  • Wear your Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin every day throughout the month of April, and tell people about autism if they ask about it. To purchase your pin and other Light It Up Blue items, visit the shop at
  • Wear blue clothing and ask your friends, co-workers and schools to wear blue too.
  • Take a group photo and upload it to
  • Purchase blue light bulbs and lanterns from Home Depot and replace your outdoor lighting with these blue bulbs, or you can buy blue lighting filters to cover existing lighting.
  • Buy a Light It Up Blue yard sign to show your support throughout your community
  • Visit and download the free Light It Up Blue iPhone application so you can add your photos to the Light It Up Blue website.  Visit the website for lots more ideas!




I recently was invited to join the board of a wonderful charitable organization called Her Haven, dedicated to giving women in need a serene and comfortable space for themselves, Her Haven aims to honor women who are inspiring, deserving and giving by redesigning a room in their home or work environment. I’ll be providing information on sustainable design and keeping it “green” for the clients helped by Her Haven.  Visit their website here to find out ways that you can help us in our mission to design a difference.  


Debbie Phillips, founder of the fabulous organization Women on Fire, a membership organization of women dedicated to making a difference in the world,  interviewed me on Monday, February 18th.  She wanted me to share my passionate belief that A Healthy Home is the Ultimate Luxury with her 3,000+  dynamic followers.  We talked about the fact that when we begin to embrace the idea of change and holistic living, we must first start in our own homes. 

My website, blog, Facebook page and personal outreach efforts are all dedicated to helping people understand the importance of sustainable design and healthy lifestyles.  I hope if I’ve been able to help you learn more, that you’ll pay it forward by sharing my social networking sites with your friends and family.

It all begins with education.  I’ve also been asked to work with a Sustainable Design class at Keane University, and will be skyping with them on March 27th.  I’m excited by the opportunities I’ve been given to share the knowledge I have gained in my years of living an eco-elegant life, and sharing it with my clients, friends and followers.

Theodore Roosevelt said to “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  That’s what I’m doing.  I hope you’ll do it, too. 




Save the Nautilus!

One of the most beautiful shells in the world, belonging to the nautilus stenomphalus, is facing a stunning decline in recent years.  Sold as a cheaper alternative to pearls due to its lustrous shell, there are no regulatory protections in place for this vulnerable species.  This softball-sized mollusk is a slow growing animal that takes fifteen years to reach sexual maturity, so a perilous situation has been created through overfishing.

“A horrendous slaughter is going on out here,” said Peter D. Ward, a biologist from the University of Washington, during a recent census of the marine creature in the Philippines. “They’re nearly wiped out.”

“In certain areas, it’s threatened with extermination,” said Neil H. Landman, a biologist and paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History and the co-editor of “Nautilus:  The Biology and Paleobiology of a Living Fossil.”  Scientists began a formal census in 2011 in at least six regions to find out just how endangered the Nautilus is.

The nautilus has been around for about 550 million years, and hasn’t changed much in the last 200 million.  But it has a new protector:  Josiah Utsch, a 12 year old boy from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, was forwarded an article about the animal’s peril from his grandmother, and decided to take action.  He contacted Dr. Ward, and when he found that there was no organization devoted to saving the nautilus, he and his friend Ridgely Kelly, age 11, launched Save the Nautilus.   

Today, news of Save the Nautilus has spread from the United States to Canada, Greece, Spain and the Netherlands.  The boys are using social media, including Facebook, to continue their efforts. The majority of donations have come from other children, but recently, the boys were able to take a flight out of Portland to personally hand Dr. Ward a check for $9000 in his office at the University of Washington.

Years ago, I chose the chambered nautilus as the logo for Dujardin Design Associates, and I have always had a deep love for this sea creature, along with artists who have for years immortalized it in poetry and paintings. I wrote about it in a post in August, 2012, sharing examples of how its spiral has influenced the world of art and design.

Its name means “boat” in Greek, and it first fascinated collectors in renaissance Europe who saw the logarithmic spirals as reflecting the larger order of the universe, as well as the curved arms of hurricanes and distant galaxies.

 “Chambered Nautilus,” by Andrew Wyeth

Thanks to children around the country who have responded to Josiah and Ridgely’s pleas, more attention is being focused on the animals’ plight.  In February, Dr. Ward will conduct research in the American Samoa to determine how fast the nautilus can swim and how long it takes for the creature to reach its natural habitat, 2,000 feet below the surface.  Josiah and Ridgely will join him.

“These boys, out of the blue, show up in my life and they’re doing what I hope all their generation does,” Ward said.  “Start thinking scientifically.

Marine biologists are lobbying for protection of the nautilus.  You can help by spreading the word, and sharing your concern with others.  And of course, donate to Save the Nautilus; Josiah and Ridgely will appreciate your support.

This issue first came to my attention through E Magazine.  You can read more here.


The Chambered Nautilus, by Oliver Wendell Holmes 

THIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main, —
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed, —
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings: —
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

Drink Your Vegetables


Part of living a Holistic lifestyle is taking the best care you can of your mind, body and spirit.  Today our world is host to innumerable chemicals and potential toxins that we breathe into our lungs, absorb into our skin, and digest with our food.  Some of the environmental assault is unavoidable, but we all can make healthier choices to feel good so we have the energy to do good.

I feel my best when I eat foods that are gluten-free, sugar-free and organic.  Everyone’s body and nutritional needs are slightly different, so it may take some trial and error before you find the foods that make you feel terrific and energized, instead of drowsy and fuzzy-headed.

For those of us in Connecticut, there are organic cafes nearby that offer healthy, green drinks and organic, raw foods to add energy and zest to your life.  Here are two of my favorites:


The Stand Juice Company

The Stand Juice Company,  located in both Norwalk and Fairfield, Connecticut, serves vegan muffins, cupcakes and cookies, as well as salads, vegetarian sandwiches and of course, a large array of juices.  The “Greenie” has kale, collards, cucumber and celery; the “Freshie” is a blend of cucumber, apple and lemon.  You can find a smoothie with raw cacao, dried cherries, banana, flax seeds and almond milk (the “Choco-Cherry) or apple, banana, cinnamon, hemp protein and almond milk (the “Hempster.)

The guiding principle behind their foods and juices is that our bodies need fresh, organic, alkaline foods for optimal health.  You can find them in Norwalk at 31 Wall Street, and in Fairfield at 87 Mill Plain Road.  Or check out their website here.

Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe

Healthy Habit founders Glen Colello and Lisa Storch created the raw food and juice cafe to offer their customers a wide array of foods that cover the healthy-eating spectrum.  They offer raw juices, smoothies, and meals that sound familiar (burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, pad thai) but that are made from healthy ingredients.  The pad thai has zucchini and kelp noodles, for instance.  And the “meatballs” are meatless.

Mr. Colello trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in Manhattan and is certified as a health counselor.  Although he changed his eating habits in one day ten years ago, giving up meat, dairy and sugar, he understands that most people transition to healthy eating more slowly.  The shop is designed to help customers on their healthy eating journey, and appeals to all different palates.  Visit them online here.

Connecticut Green Drinks

Every month, people who are focused on green, sustainable living and who are working toward a healthier planet can meet to discuss their plans and goals at events across the state called “Green Drinks.”  Green Drinks offers a social networking venue for the eco-conscious, and most groups meet monthly.  Groups meet in Stamford (Wednesdays), Norwalk (Saturdays), Fairfield (Tuesdays), Bridgeport (Wednesdays)  and New Haven (Wednesdays).  For more information, go to

I hope 2013 is the year you take better care of yourself.  Start small if you need to, by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.  And try out some of the delicious juices offered at The Stand and Catch a Healthy Habit!  You’ll love how you feel.






The True Spirit of Christmas

There’s something so touching about Christmas trees.  It’s not just the beauty of the lights and the ornaments.  It’s the tradition of creating a beautiful display that stands for something bigger than ourselves:  a renewal of light and love, and the memories of all the Christmases that we’ve enjoyed through the years.

The display above is one I did several years ago, inspired by a Russian Folk Tale called The Snow Maiden.  You can see her silhouetted in the white cathedral between the trees.  It celebrates my Russian heritage, which makes it all the more special to me and my family.

Something I look forward to each year is decorating a tree for the Nantucket Whaling Museum’s Festival of Trees.  More than 80 brilliantly decorated trees designed by local merchants, non profit organizations, community members, school children and artists are displayed at the museum at 13 Broad Street from November 30 through December 31st.

This year, I indulged my love of dogs:  all kinds, from Poodles to Bassett Hounds to Golden Retrievers!  The tree celebrates all things doggy, everything from paw print ribbons cascading through the greenery to a dog’s best friend, his bone.

It’s all great fun, and a delight to be involved with so many creative and talented people at the museum.  I hope you’re able to make a visit this year!  Learn more at the Nantucket Historical Association’s website.


I’d like to share a story with you that means a great deal to me.  About 12 years ago, my good friend Theo, who lives in Switzerland, told me about a Christmas with his family. The Swiss celebrate on Christmas Eve, when they decorate the tree together, light candles, open gifts and enjoy a sumptuous meal.  His son (also Theo) had just come home from college for the Christmas holidays.

Soon after their celebration began, Theo, Jr. explained that the local butcher and wife were closing their mom and pop store and tonight was their last night in business.  A new “chain store” had come in, and was slowly but surely ending their village life as they knew it.

“We all have so much,” he said.  “I’d like to return all of our gifts, and give the money to the butcher.”

The family quickly tallied up the value of all the presents and were shocked at the total. Theo, Sr. came up with a couple of thousand in cash to match the amount.  As a family, they all went to the butcher’s shop that night and presented their gift.  You can imagine the scene:  tears of joy and overwhelm from the butcher and his wife.  Everyone felt complete peace as they walked back home in the snow.

The very next Thanksgiving, I discussed this story with my family and we were inspired to make some changes to our own holiday. We wanted to create a celebration with meaning, rather than just gift-giving.  We agreed that children should still receive gifts, to commemorate the Three Wise Men and the Christ Child.  Anyone who had something already that they just HAD to give to another should do so.  Or a tiny token could be given, such as a small handmade ornament.

We realized quickly that no money had to be spent:  visiting a lonely or elderly person and giving them the gift of one’s time was just as valid as a donation to a favorite charity.  The possibilities were endless, and each person was asked to report back at Christmas dinner to tell their stories.

It was the best Christmas we ever had!  No one had the usual fatigue of being up all night wrapping, or wracking their brains about what to buy, or complaints about the traffic and the crowds.  We were refreshed and excited to hear everyone’s story.

The gifts were varied and profound:  one person sent the Sioux Indians in the Dakotas warm wool blankets to help them get through the harsh winters, another sent a large donation to Greenpeace, a water buffalo was sent from Heifer International to a lucky family overseas.  One person went to a nursing home and gave their gift of time, another made amends with a friend over a past dispute, and someone gave a ride home to a very elderly woman with too many grocery bags and placed them all in her home.  I loved this story because the woman’s name was “Grace,” my mother’s name.

We delighted in how this made us all feel in touch with the spirit of the season and especially with each other.  This year, like others, Frank and I will be purchasing a heifer through Heifer International.  Their motto is “peace begins when hunger and poverty end.”  Visit their website at and consider giving your own gift of peace to a community in need.


May you all feel the true spirit of Christmas in your own holiday celebrations, and enjoy the love of family and friends throughout the new year.  LOVE LAUGH HUG! (repeat)

Wendell Castle Exhibition at the Aldrich Museum

In mid-October I had the opportunity to attend Makers Market, an open-air display of artisans’ work held at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.  DJ Carey, a longtime friend of Dujardin Design, is the talented editorial director of Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Magazine and served on the host committee, which made this event a must-see for me.  The artisans presented in this three-day celebration of the arts offered an inspiring look at what’s being created in modern design, covering everything from furniture to candles, jewelry to ceramics, and more.

Wendell Castle, father of the Art Furniture Movement

The highlight of the day for me was the chance to meet  “the father of the art furniture movement,” Wendell Castle.  The Aldrich Museum has curated an exhibit of the modern furniture designer’s stunning work, and as the first major exhibition by Mr. Castle in more than 20 years, you shouldn’t miss it!  The exhibit coincides with Mr. Castle’s 80th birthday; he’s been creating unique pieces of handmade sculpture and furniture for over five decades.

(He reminded me of my father’s brother, Uncle Willie, a furniture designer in the East Village for many years who gave me my first wooden paint box that I carried all through high school, college and graduate school, and taught me so much about design.)

His pieces are bold and graceful, often organic, and are crafted from beautiful hardwoods, plastics, veneers and metals in a timeless contemporary style.  The pieces selected for the Aldrich exhibition were chosen for the narrative they tell about his work.  Almost all of them were hailed as revolutionary in changing the way we look at furniture.  He was one of a group of designers who were recognized in the mid-twentieth century as important to the growing studio craft movement.  Today, his masterpieces are fast becoming some of the most coveted examples of twentieth century design.

Wandering Forms–Works from 1959-1979 is at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum until February 24, 2013.  If you haven’t been to the Aldrich yet, or if it’s been a while since you visited, don’t miss this chance to see a museum nationally known for curating outstanding new art and cultivating emerging artists.

Larry Aldrich (1906-2001) opened the museum in 1964 as one of the country’s first museums devoted exclusively to the exhibition of contemporary art.  Today, the mission of the museum is to advance creative thinking by connecting today’s artists with individuals and communities in unexpected and stimulating ways.   The building itself, located in a historic district with colonial roots, was built in 2003 and based on an abstraction of traditional New England architecture.  The white clapboard and granite museum is a beautiful addition to the original “Old Hundred” building, built in 1783, where Mr. Aldrich first housed his extensive art collection.

A visit to the property and the exhibition would make a wonderful day out in Connecticut–I hope you’ll go!

The Union Street Inn

If you wander down the cobblestone streets of “faraway island” (as named by the Native Americans), you’ll soon find yourself at the door of Nantucket’s Union Street Inn.   Ken and Deborah Withrow are the experienced hoteliers who own this intimate boutique hotel, and make it the warm and welcoming place that it is.  It was my pleasure to design its public spaces and private rooms several years ago.  The circa 1770 Inn’s many fireplaces and historic town views provide the perfect setting for beautiful antiques and luxuriously duvet-covered beds, authentic period details and fine marine art, all signatures of Dujardin style. Come along with me and and experience the distinctive charm that makes the Union Street Inn one of my favorite places in the world.

What do guests dream about after a stay with Ken and Deborah?  Deborah’s homemade gourmet breakfasts top the list.  French toast, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, poached eggs and sausage greet you in the morning, and home-baked white chocolate chip cookies or double chocolate brownies tempt you in the afternoon.

The Union Street Inn is the only B&B on the island to serve a full breakfast. There’s a home cooked entree every morning.  Deborah is a fabulous chef!

Best place for breakfast and a cup of coffee on a warm summer morning?  The patio.

There are twelve guest rooms, all beautifully outfitted for your comfort.  The couple describes the Inn’s elegant feeling as “New England by way of France.”

Guests who return every year call it romantic.

The authentic period ambiance makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, but each of the guest rooms offers flat screen tv, complimentary wi-fi, private baths and air conditioning on warm summer days.  It’s the best of old and new.

After a day of sand, sun and surf, each elegant room promises a quiet night’s rest, so you’re ready for the next day’s island adventure.

Ken and Deborah utilize their shared backgrounds in hotel management to create an exquisite experience for their guests.  The Inn’s town location means it is only steps away from world-class restaurants, museums and shops. The town’s grey-shingled buildings were built to withstand seaside weather; they create a unique island look you won’t see anywhere else.

The Union Street Inn is the recipient of “Best Of” awards from Boston magazine (2006) and Cape Cod Life (2006-2010), as well as a “Fodor’s Choice Award” from Fodor’s Travel (2008-2010).  The rare beauty of “faraway island,” complete with skippers piloting their boats past lighthouses and rows of ship captain’s houses lining the streets a stone’s throw from wharf and waterfront makes a trip to Nantucket a memorable one.  A stay at the Union Street Inn makes it unforgettable. Visit the inn at

Living an Artful Life

Twelve Meter Cup Contenders by Michael Keane

Art has always been important to me.  I began my studies in Fine Art, graduated from college with a degree in Art Education, and first embarked on a career as an art teacher.  The homes I design must include space for beautiful and significant pieces of artwork, integral to creating an elegant and welcoming interior.

There is nothing like wandering through a gallery to develop an eye for what you love, and really, that’s what collecting art is all about. I have several galleries I turn to again and again for their solid judgement and ability to curate a collection of breathtaking work with emotional resonance.Two of my favorites are Quidley and Co., and Cavalier Galleries.

Quidley and Co has two locations:  one in Boston, and one in Nantucket at 26 Main Street.  Known for their ability to cater to their clients’ unique tastes, they offer a selection of master artists’ work from the United States and Europe and pride themselves on assisting their customers in acquiring and maintaining a fine collection.

Marine artist Michael Keane’s work is represented by Quidley and Co.  Here are two of his paintings currently offered at the gallery, in addition to the work at the top of this post.

Miacomet by Michael Keane

Great Point Lighthouse by Michael Keane

Forrest Rodts is another artist whose work I admire, available through  Quidley and Co.  His seascapes and illustrations capture the sunsets, seascapes and skies of New England.

Window Shell by Forrest Rodts

Peek-A-Boo by Forrest Rodts

Doug Brega is a contemporary artist who paints in the style of American realism.  His New England portraits and landscapes have a wondrous visual and emotional impact.  Here are a few from his collection at Quidley and Co.:

House in Thomaston by Doug Brega

Monhegan Painters by Doug Brega

Amy on Nantucket by Doug Brega

Another favorite artist there is Sergio Roffo, whose work Madaket Mist appears at the top of this post.  Roffo’s coastal landscapes have a luminous feeling that have earned him numerous awards.

Sunset on the Dunes by Sergio Roffo

Path to Great Point by Sergio Roffo

Another favorite gallery is Cavalier Galleries, with locations in Greenwich, Connecticut and on Nantucket, at 35 Main Street.  Cavalier offers fine painting, sculpture and photography, and a stable of artists whose works range from traditional and representational to modern and contemporary.

Wolf Kahn is a favorite artist found at Cavalier. One of the most important colorists working in America today, the German-born Kahn demonstrates a unique blend of Realism and the formal discipline of Color Field painting.

Mostly Magenta and Gray by Wolf Kahn

Vineyard Pond by Wolf Kahn

Whether you visit Quidley and Co., Cavalier or another gallery in your hometown, there’s no substitute for the serenity, beauty and inspiration you’ll find just inside their doors. I hope you’ll be moved to purchase artwork you love, and join the collectors who support the work of fine artists.  Life, and home, would be a poorer place without them.


The Most Powerful Weapon on Earth to Fight Climate Change

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
– Marshal Ferdinand Foch

In Fall 2011, I attended the Design Futures Council’s Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design, and was impressed by the number of thoughtful, committed architects, designers and builders who are determined to create a more sustainable future in American cities.  At the Summit, our mantra was “you must stand for something, or you will fall for everything.  Never has this been more true than in addressing the risks of climate change, and identifying ways to counteract this dangerous warming of our earth.

I have long been a believer in the “power of one,” the power of each individual to stand up, speak out, and make a difference.  Now is the time to do so.

Summer 2012 has been a dangerous season for heat, drought and wildfires, exemplified by the blazes that scorched parts of Colorado and blackened hundreds of thousands of acres of New Mexico wilderness.  The August issue of Food, Nutrition & Science called this summer’s dry heat the worst American drought in nearly 50 years. Corn crops have been hit particularly hard; their decimation reminds us how fragile our environment really is.

Missouri has been hit hard by drought, as seen in this withered stand of corn.

(For an excellent discussion of the perils of wildfires throughout the U.S., read Timothy Egan’s opinion piece from July 2012 in the New York Times here.)

Even on the island of Nantucket, fire walls are being built, and the Nantucket Conservation Foundation is working on a Wildfire Risk Reduction Program, including brush cutting firebreaks and scheduling prescribed burnings.  The goal of this effort is to identify land management strategies that will reduce “fuel loads” of highly flammable vegetation on Foundation properties, especially where they occur in close proximity to homes.

Photo courtesy of Jim Lentowski and the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.

In a world where people still debate the concepts of climate change and global warming, in spite of overwhelming evidence of steadily increasing temperatures, I turn to James E. Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) for a clear-eyed view of our future.  A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he received the Heinz Environment Award in 2001 for his climate research. Research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) emphasizes a broad study of global change, addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment — from one-time events such as volcanic explosions, to seasonal and annual effects such as El Niño, and on up to the millennia of ice ages — that affect the habitability of our planet.

In an opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Post on August 3, 2012, (Climate Change Is Here, and Worse Than We Thought), Hansen discusses a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which reveal a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers.  He is emphatic that the analysis shows that for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is no explanation other than climate change.

On June 20, 2012, published a list of 23 ways the earth has changed in the 20 years since the first “Earth Summit” was held in Rio de Janeiro.  (Read more here.)  Among the trends they’ve identified are:

  • There are about 1.5 billion more people in the world, an increase of 27%
  • The average person eats 20 pounds more meat each year.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions increased 36%, from 22 billion tons to 30 billion tons.
  • The ten hottest years since records began in 1880 all occurred since 1998.
  • Artic sea ice has declined 35%.

Who’s Taking Action?

A movement called Architecture 2030 is underway, driving a national grassroots movement to foster private/public partnerships to create sustainable urban growth.  The 2030 District Model brings property owners together with local governments, businesses, architects and planners to provide a solid business model for urban sustainability.  First established in Seattle, today more cities are joining the effort.  This month, Pittsburgh joined Cleveland and Seattle by launching a Pittsburgh 2030 District.

2030’s mission is to rapidly transform the U.S. and global Building Sector from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate change, energy consumption, and economic crises. Architecture 2030’s Edward Mazria will deliver a lecture titled “The Next Built Environment, Today” on Monday September 10th at Carnegie Mellon University.  Read more about the movement here.

What Can You Do to Help?

The scope of our activities that generate carbon dioxide emissions are great, including driving our cars, turning on a light, and heating or cooling our homes.  But you can make a difference by taking action:

  • Plan your errands to make fewer short car trips.  Cars emit the most carbon dioxide when the engine is cold.
  • Properly inflate your car tires to prevent excess fuel consumption.
  • Turn down the heat or air conditioning a fraction.  Even moving the thermostat up or down a degree or two can make a huge difference.
  • Recycle whatever you can.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Switch off appliances not in use at the wall.  Anything connected to an energy source uses standby power that can consume unnecessary energy.
  • Before buying anything, ask yourself, “do I really need this?”  Rampant consumerism plays a huge role in carbon emissions.

Look for more ways to help, by visiting or

As James Hansen says, “This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it…There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time…The future is now.  And it is hot.”







Nantucket Walk Now for Autism Speaks


The people of Nantucket Island are known for their generosity and warmth of spirit, and never do they show it more clearly than each year when hundreds of people walk to fund vital research for autism.  This year, Nantucket Walk Now for Autism Speaks takes place on Saturday, August 18th at 9:30 a.m.(registration at 8:30 a.m.), beginning at Jetties Beach. With a distance of only 1.5 miles, it’s something I hope we all can try to do.

Every 11 minutes, another family receives the devastating news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder.  The Walk, founded by islanders Bob and Suzanne Wright, is one way to help change the future for all who struggle with the challenge of autism.

Come join me, Frank and our three Bichons, Ellie, Tuffy and G.G.!  Learn more at, or call 646-843-6675.

The Timeless Elegance of Antiques

One of the most highly regarded antiques show on the east coast is taking place on Nantucket from August 3rd to 6th.  A benefit for the Nantucket Historical Association, the show is a highlight of the island’s summer season! This year, their 35th, will be a wonderful week of parties, lectures and activities. Read more about it here.

It all starts with the Preview on August 2nd, and continues through Monday, August 6th at Bartlett Farm, 33 Bartlett Farm Road.  Don’t miss it!



Mark Tercek of The Nature Conservancy to Speak at The Sconset Chapel

I hope you’ll join me on Sunday, August 5th at 7:30 p.m. when Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, makes a visit to Nantucket to speak at The Sconset Chapel as part of their Siasconset Chapel Sunday summer lecture and concert series..  Mr. Tercek will reflect on conservation in the 21st Century, and what it will take to protect nature in a rapidly changing world. 

This former managing director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. spent more than two decades on Wall Street before joining The Nature Conservancy.  Now, with the help of his board and the input of the Conservancy’s 600 scientists, he wants to remake the face of the American and global environmental movements.

Admission is free. I’ll be there–hope to see you there, too!

Read more about Mark Tercek here

To find out more about what the Nature Conservancy is doing to help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, read their Spring/Summer 2012 newsletter here.

Guest Blogger Michael May: Summer Kitchens House Tour and August Fete

Please join me and Michael May, executive director of the Nantucket Preservation Trust, in celebrating Nantucket’s architectural heritage at the NPT’s Summer Kitchens House Tour and August Fete!

The interior of 4 Traders Lane, open for the July 19 Kitchens Tour, NPT easement; photo by Kris Kinsley



The Nantucket Preservation Trust (NPT) encourages preservation activity by showcasing the work of others. One way we do this is by organizing special house tours, including our annual Summer Kitchens House Tour and August Fete.  This year Pine Street is the site of the NPT’s Eighth Annual Summer Kitchens House Tour which will be held on Thursday, July 19, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The tour provides the opportunity to view a wide array of kitchens—from a retro 1950s kitchen to one that is very twenty-first century.

Retro 1940’s kitchen at 4 Traders Lane; photo by Kris Kinsley

Tour goers can view the properties at their own pace, and along the way will be offered treats prepared by local chefs.  They will also have an opportunity to shop at the Kitchen Marketplace for unique gifts and kitchen items.



August 9 is the date of the NPT’s August Fête– one of the summer’s most memorable evenings, because it is more than a party—it is a celebration of Nantucket’s historic architecture.  This year, participants will tour five historic summer homes in the village of ’Sconset and learn some preservation pointers along the way.  There also will be a special tour of the restoration work at the Siasconset Union Chapel.

Embroidered Narrative by local artist Susan Boardman to be auctioned on August 9 to support NPT programs; photo by Jack Weinhold

For ticket information on both events or to learn more about the work of the Nantucket Preservation Trust visit our website.

Guest Blogger Michael May is the executive director of the Nantucket Preservation Trust

Behind the Scenes at a Photo Shoot

I recently shared photos of a beautiful Dujardin-designed home on Nantucket, featured in New England Home Magazine’s Summer 2012 Cape and Islands issue.  It is one of my greatest pleasures to ready and stage a home for a photo shoot for a wonderful shelter magazine, where the homeowners can enjoy seeing their home in print, and I can share the work I love to do. I’ve found that what inspires me to do my best work can also inspire others to do theirs.  Our surroundings matter!


But just as getting dressed for a wonderful night out on the town is a different experience than your appearance at the party, so a photo shoot is a different experience from the completed photo spread in the magazine.  So here’s a little peek of what goes on behind the scenes:  come along and join us as we get ready!

The team arrives early.  First we meet with photographer Michael Partenio and stylist Stacy Kunstel for a brief strategy session, planning our day, room by room, shot by shot.

Bringing a room to life for the camera is creative work, and it takes a village of collaborators! My husband, Frank Fasanella, is helping to hang this picture.

Senior Designer Price Connors arrives with a stack of pillows, then helps me finesse the table decor.  Every person makes a contribution!

Our photographer, Michael, has the final say as he examines every shot from behind the lens of the camera.

It’s been a beautiful day, but a tiring one.  Good work, everyone!  See you in the magazine.




People Can Be Hazardous to Your Health, Too! Guest Blogger Debbie Phillips

Photography:  Rob Berkley

 I’m delighted to share the wise words and thoughts of a special friend and this month’s guest blogger, Debbie Phillips.  Debbie is an author, speaker and the founder of Women on Fire, an organization that promotes women’s success through inspiration, strategies and support.  She and her husband, Rob Berkley, conduct “Vision Days,” life coaching retreats on Martha’s Vineyard which have helped me tremendously in my own life and work. 

I’ve just completed a weekend of Vision Days, and am re-energized with new goals, both personal and professional.    Please enjoy Debbie’s insights here, to inspire you in your own life.

You’d never roll toxic paint onto your beautiful living room walls.

And, you wouldn’t hand your precious child a cadmium-tainted toy.

Ditto for cleaning solvents with odors that knock you on your heels.

So, why on earth would you ever allow a toxic human being to contaminate you, your lovely environment and your peace of mind?

In my nearly two decades working as a life and executive coach, how to handle toxic people is right up there with “how do I discover my life’s purpose?”

Almost everyone has someone who wreaks havoc on their well-being – and many people live with an abundance of toxic intruders.

The offenders range from help-rejecting complainers to down-right nasty or hurtful people who zap your energy, leaving you physically or emotionally drained.

These include people with explosive tempers, offensive and annoying behaviors, people without boundaries who trample all over yours.  There may even be people you don’t feel physically safe to be around.

“But I’m related to her,” I will often hear.  Or, “he’s my boss and I’m at his mercy.”

There is good news!

Just as you can transform your home from toxic to eco-friendly, you can do the same to your life by removing toxic human energy.

Photography:  Rob Berkley

By following these steps you are on your way to a “greener life”:

1)      Make a list of toxic people in your life. They can be relatives, co-workers, bosses, friends, neighbors, anyone you may feel dread seeing, thinking about or being with. If you’re not sure who is toxic in your life, ask someone you trust who cares deeply about you.  Sometimes we’ve put up for so long with someone toxic that we become numb to the abuse.

2)      Create a scale from 1 to 5 — with 1 being annoying to 5 being harmful or destructive to your spirit and well-being.  Now rate each toxic person on your list.

3)      Starting with anyone who receives a 3 or higher score, decide how you wish to handle.

Photography:  Rob Berkley

Here are some effective ways for handling most toxic people:

1)      Minimize your contact with them.  Just because you’ve known gossipy, negative Jane since the 6th grade, it doesn’t mean you have to keep her on your invitation list or accept one from her.

2)      Declare your space a Positive Zone.  One client informed her toxic mother that she would no longer participate in any negative criticism about family members.  She then told relatives that if they heard through the grapevine anything she said that was less than flattering, they could be assured it wasn’t true. She created a Positive Zone in her life.  It worked! Over time, she simply politely excused herself from family conversations that devolved into character assassinations of others.

3)     Calmly and clearly inform toxic offender that “it’s not OK to yell, criticize, berate, etc.” Let them know you will remove yourself from the situation.

Photography:  Rob Berkley

You’ve turned the corner to a more non-toxic life when you can easily answer these questions and make a choice:

1) Does this person leave me feeling depressed, demoralized, belittled, misunderstood, criticized or exhausted?

2) Or, does this person leave me feeling uplifted, supported, understood, respected, cared about, and alive with possibilities?

May your life be filled with eco-friendly people!

Debbie Phillips  and her husband Rob Berkley live on Martha’s Vineyard and in Naples, FL.  Learn more about Debbie and her work at or at  www.visionday.comAll photos kindly provided by Rob Berkley.  See more of his work at


Photography:  Rob Berkley









Walk This Way on May 12th

“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something.
Then I realized I was somebody.”—Lily Tomlin

The opportunities to be of service to our communities are boundless.  There are so many good people and organizations doing heartfelt work in the world, yet they have difficulties sometimes getting noticed in the general busyness that makes up our day to day lives.  I’d like to highlight an organization that Dujardin Design Associates has sponsored for several years, and one of their events that we wholeheartedly support.

The Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital will hold its annual Walk This Way and Sally’s Run on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, CT. The event proceeds support patient care initiatives, research, clinical trials and extensive support services.  Last year’s event drew more than 2,500 participants and raised a record $415,000.  To date, $1.6 million has been raised to support the Cancer Center.

The 3K Walk and 5K run starts and ends at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk.  Registration begins at 9 a.m., with the walk/run starting at 11 a.m.  There will be a great day of prize drawings, kids activities and entertainment by DNR—Fairfield County’s (Almost) All Physician Band, featuring Dr. Richard Frank, the director of cancer research at Norwalk Hospital.

You can register, build a team and donate online at, or call 203-852-2216.  Registration is $30 per person and includes a free t-shirt.  If you go, watch for Dujardin Design’s tribute signs along the way.


The Nantucket Wine Festival: May 16-20, 2012


Over the past 15 years the Nantucket Wine Festival has blossomed into one of the nation’s most celebrated wine and food events. With the help of Nantucket landmark hotel, The White Elephant, most of this year’s festival will be staged entirely in the heart of downtown Nantucket.

More than 200 wineries converge on Nantucket for the Grand Tastings:  this year promises to be one of the most exceptional with a fabulous collection of wineries, chefs and food purveyors.  The Harbor Gala takes place on Thursday May 17th at 6 p.m., where both special guest celebrity chefs and some of Nantucket’s great restaurants combine to serve great food and delicious wines.

A Luncheon Symposia offers a series of three great wine symposia at some of Nantucket’s most special addresses.  In the intimacy of a lovely home, a distinguished winemaker will lead a discussion of their wines with the guests.  The marquee event of this year’s festival is the Celebrity Chef and Winemaker Auction Dinner on Saturday, May 19th at 7 p.m.

Various charities are beneficiaries of these wonderful events, including Nantucket Combined Charities, Inc., and the Nantucket Historical Association.  My husband, Frank, and I have attended for years.  Please join us!

For more information, visit the festival website at



Daffodils and Earth Day!

Where can you go to see three million daffodils in bloom, along with a parade, an antique car show, and breathtaking vistas of sea and sand?  Nantucket Island celebrates its Annual Daffodil Festival this year on April 27 to 29th.  Everyone on the island participates in this joyful extravaganza; gardens and shop windows are full of yellow blossoms, islanders (human and canine) are decked out in daffodils, and there’s even an Daffodil Tailgate Picnic, with gourmet cuisine served on fine china or in box lunches.

My husband Frank and I, along with our three bichon frises, Ellie, Tuffy and G.G., never miss it.  (For a brief history of the festival and photos of previous year’s fun, see last year’s blog post.)

The event began in 1974 when the late Jean MacAusland (former island resident and publisher of Gourmet Magazine) persuaded the Nantucket Garden Society to sponsor a daffodil show on the island.  The goal of planting over one million daffodil bulbs has long been surpassed, and what a show it is!

Hope to see you there!


This year, Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd, and the theme is A Billion Acts of Green!  The Earth Day Network’s goal is to grow environmental awareness around the world through civic engagement and environmental education.  More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day events in 192 countries, making it the largest civic observance in the world.   For Earth Day 2012, the Earth Day Network hopes to register one billion separate Acts of Green, everything from a pledge to plant a garden, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, or eat more local food.  It’s easy to do:  sign up here.

A Visit to My Nantucket Fisherman’s Cottage


I’m delighted that my summer home on Nantucket is featured in the April issue of Traditional Home Magazine, on stands now.  My husband Frank and I fell in love with this older home in Madaket, near the most beautiful beach on the island, and began a renovation project to make this house perfect for relaxed summer living.  I consider it a blessing to live in a house that’s just big enough:  big enough to invite friends and family to join us for lazy weekends, and small enough to be manageable.  I call it my new “cottage living” phase of life.


I tell my clients that “a healthy home is the ultimate luxury,” and this house is both welcoming and healthy!  We carefully removed any building materials with lingering toxic off gassing, and refinished ceilings, walls, cabinetry and floors with nontoxic paints.  A state of the art ventilation system makes sure the air inside is as fresh and clean as the ocean breezes outside.  And of course, I decorated with all my favorite things, including my collection of nautical antiques.

Pick up a copy of Traditional Home  today.  I hope you enjoy your visit!

Guest Blogging at New England Home Magazine

New England Home BlogNew England Home Magazine has invited me to be a guest blogger.  I’m excited to share my thoughts on good design and good living with readers of this wonderful magazine. Mark your calendar for February 21st, when I’ll be writing about the fun of collections and how to use them to create a truly unique home.  Then you’ll find me there again on March 6th, when the topic is opening up your beach house for the season! Visit m e there at

New England Home is the premier regional architecture and interior design magazine in the northeastern U.S.  They cover all aspects of the New England residential design world, from the hottest new talent to the most beautiful spaces to the fine art and accessories that provide a finishing touch.

You’ll find a very special Dujardin-designed home in New England Home’s Cape and Islands issue, available summer, 2012.  Shhh:  it’s top secret!

Guest Blogging at New England Home Magazine

New England Home Magazine has invited me to be a guest blogger.  I’m excited to share my thoughts on good design and good living with readers of this wonderful magazine.  You can find me there from February 21st  to 27th, and  from March 6th to 12th at

New England Home is the premier regional architecture and interior design magazine in the northeastern U.S.  They cover all aspects of the New England residential design world, from the hottest new talent to the most beautiful spaces to the fine art and accessories that provide a finishing touch.

You’ll find a very special Dujardin-designed home in New England Home’s Cape and Islands issue, available summer, 2012.  Shhh:  it’s top secret!

Glad Tidings for a Happy Holiday!

© Venture Photography

‘Tis the season for joyous celebrations and the loving company of family and friends!

 We’re wishing you all the happiest of holidays, and a healthy, prosperous 2012!

 P E A C E  +  L O V E  +  L A U G H T E R

From all of us at Dujardin Design

Our family has many wonderful customs and we alternate between the years.  The Christmas Pledge is a favorite – it’s printed on parchment paper, rolled and tied with a beautiful ribbon and placed at each place setting to be opened at the dinner table:


The Season of Giving

When the winds turn brisk and trees undress, it’s the season of giving! The snap of cold wind and frosty evenings bring us indoors to sit by a crackling fire.  The holidays are upon us, and everywhere we go we are reminded of the joy of celebrating with family and friends.

In the spirit of enjoying all that the holiday season has to offer, I thought I would share a source for table linens that will add beautifully to your celebrations.  Setting a very special table will be easier this year with Leron’s heirloom quality linens, hand-embroidered and hand-appliqued, that showcase old world, European style craftsmanship.

Nantucket Arts Festival Week

Autumn has been my season for attending conferences and leading seminars on several thought-provoking and important topics.  I was gratified to be invited to speak this month at the Nantucket Arts Festival Week.  Hosted by the Nantucket Arts Council, this wonderful group is an advocate for the arts on the island.  Its goal is to preserve our lively cultural scene and its life-enhancing effect upon the community.

I was pleased to be able to share my presentation, Holistic House ™, with a group of people who wanted to know more about sustainable design at the Afternoon Artist’s Talk Show Series.  I believe that a healthy home is the ultimate luxury, and there are many ways to achieve that goal.  Whether building a new home, remodeling an existing one, or simply redecorating, there are healthy products, paints, finishes, and furniture to choose from that can make a difference in your health, and in the health of your family and friends.

My Holistic House ™ presentation also covers the importance of pristine indoor air, eradicating mold, and non-toxic household cleaning products.  I love to talk about sustainable design—my favorite subject—so I’m available for presentations for groups.

Contact me at for more information.

We’re featured in two Nantucket publications!

Please join me in enjoying articles about Dujardin Design in both Nantucket Today and Nantucket Home and Garden, on newsstands now!

Click on the Home and Garden cover image below to download our article in pdf (1.9mb)

Then join me to help create a “Blueprint for our Coast”: September 29th and 30th


Scientists, city planners, stewards of the environment and government officials will gather on Nantucket on Thursday, September 29th and Friday, September 30th to discuss the impact of how we use our waterways.  The goal?  To explore new tools available to analyze current and anticipated uses of ocean and coastal areas, to achieve maximum social and economic benefits, and to ensure that the sea remains healthy.

Some of the things that impact our waterways are transportation (seaplanes, boats and ferries), fishing, pleasure boating, wind farms, aquaculture, and more.  Bringing all of these concerns together to create a coastal waters management strategy that includes ecosystem protection is one of the most important things we can do to protect the beauty of Nantucket, and allof the New England coast.

This conference is co-hosted by ReMain Nantucket ( and Egan Maritime Institute ( in collaboration with the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (, The Nature Conservancy (, Maria Mitchell Association (,  the Urban Harbors Institute (, UMass Boston and the UMass Boston Field Station.

Join me as we discuss how to knit together the shared edges between the blue water, the near shore, and the watershed!

A Party to Support The Nature Conservancy

There’s nothing like Nantucket in August:  blue skies, soft breezes and the smell of salt in the air.  I was thrilled to be asked to sponsor a festive outdoor cocktail party to support the good work of one of my favorite charities, The Nature Conservancy.With renovations at our fisherman’s cottage on Madaket complete, Frank and I welcomed 60 environmentally-minded guests to our home on Thursday, August 25th .

My interior design firm, Dujardin Design Associates, Inc.,  pulled out all the stops to make it an evening to remember, bringing island caterer Simply with Style on board to serve delicious hors d’ouevres and fanciful desserts, and island favorite Spanky’s Raw Bar to add the proper sea-faring touch with a selection of chilled oysters and clams.

Mike from Spanky’s Bar with Chris McGuire, Massachusetts Marine Director for The Nature Conservancy.

William and Laura Buck with Trudy Dujardin

Gerry Schneider and Grace Hinkley

Trudy Dujardin with husband Frank Fasanella

Tracey Marshall, Bill Marshall, Nina Duchaine, Trudy Dujardin

Chris McGuire, Lynne Hale, Wayne Klockner, Trudy Dujardin

The Nature Conservancy works to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities of the earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive, in order to leave a sustainable world for future generations.  More information is available at

Summertime on Nantucket

There’s always something happening on Nantucket in the summer.  Here are two of my favorite events on the island.  Come join me!

Nantucket Summer Kitchens Tour:  Thursday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Sponsored by the Nantucket Preservation Trust, the tour features historic homes and kitchens in the Milk Street neighborhood in Nantucket. This year, open houses are on Milk, New Dollar and New Mill Streets.  You can get historical facts and stories at each home, and local guest chefs are there to provide delicious snacks and recipes.

The biggest Kitchen Marketplace ever has a variety of vendors with specialty house and kitchen items.   Look for cookbook signings with Lulu Powers, Fran Karttunen and more.

The Nantucket Preservation Trust is an organization concerned with preserving Nantucket’s unique historical architecture, and protecting it for future generations to enjoy.  They provide programs that explore the history of the island’s buildings, and increase appreciation of the importance and fragility of historic sites.

There is no other organization so devoted to preservation of Nantucket’s unique historic resources.  The Trust works to preserve irreplaceable architectural qualities that led to Nantucket’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The August Fete is their second summer fundraiser, held the evening of August 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. This year’s Fete will feature a tour of private homes in the Liberty and Winter Street neighborhood, some of which have never before been open to the public

Nantucket Historical Association August Antiques Show:  August 5-7




This is a real highlight of the summer season, and one I never miss!  A major fundraiser for the Nantucket Historical Association, the antiques show presents a wonderful week of parties, lectures and activities.  The show is one of the most highly regarded antiques shows on the east coast.

This year, a Friends of the NHA Lecture will be held on August 2nd at 6 p.m. at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. Michael K. Brown, Curator of the Bayou Bend Collections Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, will speak.

The Antiques Show Preview Party takes place August 4 from 6 to 9 p.m., at Bartlett’s Farm.


The Antiques Show is Friday through Sunday, August 5 to 7, at Bartlett’s Farm, 33 Bartlett Farm Road.


Don’t miss this wonderful event.  Learn how to support the Nantucket Historical Association at

Keeping Nantucket Beautiful

There are few things more important to me in life than efforts to retain what is rare and beautiful on this earth.  Nantucket, a tiny island just three and a half miles wide and fourteen miles long, can only be reached by boat or plane, making it a world of its own.

Its distance from the mainland has helped it to retain its quaintness and its charm over the years since it first found itself drawn on a map in 1602.  Grey shingled buildings, roses tumbling over fences, sandy beaches, hundreds of historic homes, and boats bobbing in the harbor combine with the natural beauty of the island to make it a priceless treasure.

ReMain Nantucket

ReMain Nantucket is one organization dedicated to strengthening the vitality of downtown Nantucket, while preserving its unique character and spirit. ReMain is committed to supporting a healthy, year round community on the island, and a flourishing downtown.

In the past twelve months, they have sponsored workshops on seasonal parking issues, presented by transportation experts; held a conference about rising sea levels, in collaboration with the Egan Maritime Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Climate Central, and the Maria Mitchell Association; and hosted a presentation on sustainable downtowns, presented by the director for the National Trust Main Street Center.

They have been responsible for community initiatives, such as purchasing the Mitchell’s Book Corner property and leasing it to a local entrepreneur, Mary Jennings. With the goal of renovating an historic property in an environmentally thoughtful way, they sought the expertise of local engineers and architects.  The building renovation was awarded a silver LEED certification from the U.S Green Building Council.

ReMain Nantucket is a sponsor of Nantucket Race Week, August 13-21, 2011, the Nantucket Comedy Festival, July 28-30, 2011, and the Nantucket Garden Festival, July 20-23, 2011.  The organization only sponsors non-profits, and they ask for a pledge of sustainability for their events, as well as offering guidelines to help make that happen.

Learn more about this wonderful organization at

Sustainable Nantucket

Sustainable Nantucket is working to build a more locally-based and self-reliant food system on-island, along with a strong local economy.  They are making efforts to expand agricultural production, promote local farmers’ markets, encourage local food use in Nantucket restaurants, schools, hospital and other venues, and educate the community about sustainability.

Islanders can support their good work at the annual Farm Fresh Feast, happening July 16 at Moors End Farm. The menu is all “Nantucket Grown,” and will include a Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche, Herb-Crusted Dayboat Cod with Tomato Basil Salsa, Grilled Seasonal Vegetables from Pumpkin Pond and HUmmock Pond Farms, and a selection of delicious desserts.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

Approximately 1/3 of our carbon footprint as a nation comes from industrialized agriculture, which also uses pesticides and herbicides, degrading our soil and water.  When you support local food production, you help to reduce the demand for food produced by this system, and at the same time, enjoy better taste, fresher foods, and a higher nutritional value.

Sustainable Nantucket operates a Farmers and Artisans Market on Saturdays on North Union and Cambridge Streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enhancing the Nantucket feeling of community, vendors include growers, artisans and prepared food purveyors.  There are live music performances, kids’ activities, demonstrations and more.  July is Tomato, Tomato Month, with a “making salsa” demonstration on July 23rd.

Vendors include one of my very favorite places for fresh organic produce, Pumpkin Pond Farm (, as well as Bartlett’s Farm, Gourmet Gardens, Nantucket Coffee Roasters and more!

There is also a Mid-Island Market at 113 Pleasant Street on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. that will run through August 30th, providing a second location and date for islanders who may not make it to the downtown market on Saturday, or who are ready to replenish their supplies.

Sustainable Nantucket also operates a Farm to School program to serve healthier meals in school cafeterias, builds school gardens and provides information to parents, teachers and students about healthy eating.  A Youth Council Program began in 2008 to help the island’s youth become leaders in implementing sustainable practices, and ongoing Outreach/Education efforts are made through classes, workshops and targeted campaigns.

Learn how you can help at

Sustainable Seafood

Although nutritionists agree that eating fish is a great way to add healthy protein and omega 3’s to your diet, there is an issue in our oceans today. Quite simply, for thousands of years, humans have been fishing, and the vast varieties of life in the seas have regenerated themselves. But over the past five decades, technology has entered the oceans, allowing us to fish deeper and more efficiently than ever before. Today, there are estimates that we have lost as much as 90% of the large predatory fish, such as shark, swordfish and cod. In 2003, the Pew Oceans Commission warned that the world’s oceans are in a state of “silent collapse.”

Mercury in Seafood

The other issue in seafood consumption is contaminants, such as mercury.  According to the EPA’s National Listing of Fish Advisories, mercury advisories have risen steadily over the past decade. Mercury is released into the air when fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are burned.  Mercury falls directly on the land and water, and also enters streams, rivers and oceans through rain and surface water runoff.  Bacteria then converts it to an organic form called methylmercury, which is dangerous to humans.

When small fish with low mercury levels get eaten by bigger fish, the level of methylmercury is magnified.  Thus, according to the EPA, mercury concentrations in fish can be many times the mercury concentration in water.  Mercury is most frequently found in long-lived or predatory fish, such as swordfish, shark, orange roughy and tuna. For that reason, the physicians at Canyon Ranch and many holistic physicians recommend that we only eat fish that will fit into a small frying pan, such as herring or mackerel.

There is Good News!

There is a way we can have our fish and eat it too. There are fisheries being run in a sustainable way, and chefs like Rich Garcia, executive chef at 606 Congress at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, are leading the way with their commitment to sustainable practices.  I met Rich at the Great Wines in Grand Houses dinner on May 20th on Nantucket, featuring Saint Emilion wines.

(I’m seated to the right of Edouard Moueix of Saint Emilion wines, my husband, Frank Fasanella, is across from me.  Behind me, standing, is Dennis Toner, wine festival founder.)

At the dinner, I learned that Rich Garcia is one of many people actively promoting the idea of sustainable fishing, ensuring that our oceans’ food supply will no longer be depleted at its current rate.  Rich was recognized in 2009 by industry leader Star Chefs ( as one of Boston’s rising star chefs for his commitment to sustainable practices.

Learn More

Here’s how to learn more about this important issue:

1.) Read Rich Garcia’s blog at

2.) Check out CleanFish works closely with its producers to create next generation practices, from raising fish in polycultures, to wetlands filtration systems, to experimental deepwater aquapods.

3.) Investigate Trace and Trust began when experienced New England fishermen and a few chefs in Rhode Island met to discuss what information their customers wanted to know about the high quality, fresh seafood they put on customer’s plates. Today, the company works with retailers and restaurants to ensure customers know exactly who caught their seafood, as well as when, where and how it got caught.

4.) Read Seafood Watch at for a complete overview of the current situation with our fish, our oceans, and our solutions.

I’m Heading to the Beach!

In celebration of warm weather, sunshine and sand underfoot, I’m not going to be blogging as frequently for the next few months. Instead, look for a blog post around the first week of each month. I’ll still be talking about healthy living, beginning with the importance of joy in a healthy lifestyle in June, when we celebrate love, romance and weddings! All summer long, of course, we’ll continue to be Nantucket-based, so stay tuned for more on the elegant life of this beautiful island.

Several design installations will be completed over the summer, and in the fall, I’ll offer a sneak peek of my work, including before, during and after photos.

See you at the beach!

Summertime on Nantucket

There’s always something happening on Nantucket in the summer.  Here are two of my favorite events on the island.  Come join me!

Nantucket Summer Kitchens Tour:  Thursday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsored by the Nantucket Preservation Trust, the tour features historic homes and kitchens in the Milk Street neighborhood in Nantucket. This year, open houses are on Milk, New Dollar and New Mill Streets.  You can get historical facts and stories at each home, and local guest chefs are there to provide delicious snacks and recipes.

The biggest Kitchen Marketplace ever has a variety of vendors with specialty house and kitchen items.   Look for cookbook signings with Lulu Powers, Fran Karttunen and more.

The Nantucket Preservation Trust is an organization concerned with preserving Nantucket’s unique historical architecture, and protecting it for future generations to enjoy.  They provide programs that explore the history of the island’s buildings, and increase appreciation of the importance and fragility of historic sites.

There is no other organization so devoted to preservation of Nantucket’s unique historic resources.  The Trust works to preserve irreplaceable architectural qualities that led to Nantucket’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The August Fete is their second summer fundraiser, held the evening of August 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. This year’s Fete will feature a tour of private homes in the Liberty and Winter Street neighborhood, some of which have never before been open to the public

Nantucket Historical Association August Antiques Show:  August 5-7

This is a real highlight of the summer season, and one I never miss!  A major fundraiser for the Nantucket Historical Association, the antiques show presents a wonderful week of parties, lectures and activities.  The show is one of the most highly regarded antiques shows on the east coast.

This year, a Friends of the NHA Lecture will be held on August 2nd at 6 p.m. at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. Michael K. Brown, Curator of the Bayou Bend Collections Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, will speak.

The Antiques Show Preview Party takes place August 4 from 6 to 9 p.m., at Bartlett’s Farm.

The Antiques Show is Friday through Sunday, August 5 to 7, at Bartlett’s Farm, 33 Bartlett Farm Road.

Don’t miss this wonderful event.  Learn how to support the Nantucket Historical Association at

On the West Coast? Stop by tACKo!

tACKo, a counter-service taqueria owned by my stepson, Nick Fasanella, will open soon in San Francisco in the Marina at 3115 Fillmore Street. Nick is the owner or former owner of a few of the city’s favorite eateries, including Nick’s Crispy Taco’s and the Taco Shop at Underdogs. tACKo, named to reference Nantucket Island’s airport abbreviation, ACK, will feature a New England theme.

I’m proud to have designed his new décor, with a quintessential Nantucket gray exterior, complete with window boxes and white trim. There’s a nautical theme inside the restaurant, which reflects his passion for sailing and life on a houseboat in Sausalito. Nick plans to open his second tACKo branch on Nantucket in the summer of 2012, and after that, to expand across the East Coast.

Chef Nick looks for the best fresh and organic ingredients when preparing his signature dishes. Stop by and enjoy one of his lobster tortas (photo and recipe farther down), and tell Nick we said hello!

For a review and a photo of the restaurant interior, click here:

Nick and Trudy

On the East Coast? Stop by Pumpkin Pond Farm!

A certified organic 9.5 acre farm and nursery located on Nantucket, Pumpkin Pond Farm offers delicious vegetables and greens, along with trees, shrubs, perennials and garden supplies. Their dedication to sustainable agriculture and good soil science is an integral part of the farm’s approach to producing pure, fresh products.

Salad lovers will soon find the best of Spring, including lettuce, arugula, and wheatgrass, and that’s just the beginning of their growing season.

Owner Marty McGowan and his wife, Holly, have a longstanding friendship with my stepson, Nick Fasanella. Marty likes to tell the story of the day Chef Nick walked through the garden and was delighted to find Mexican tarragon growing there. It became the inspiration for a fabulous Lobster Torta that he created and cooked at the farm. We’re happy to share the recipe from the Pumpkin Pond Farm website:

Lobster Torta
Serves 4

1 bunch of Mexican tarragon
Fresh cilantro
3 Jalapenos thinly sliced
2 Ripe avocados
3 Limes
4 organic Garlic cloves
4 Chili Arbor
8 oz Nantucket butter, melted
4 1.25lb Lobsters steamed & cleaned
2 cups of Black Beans
4 Bolillo or Torpedo Rolls lightly toasted and buttered
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Cook 1 cup of dried black beans with 3 cups of water and garlic cloves. Half way through cooking add salt and pepper to taste. When the beans are tender in about an hour, let them cool slightly then blend them smoothly with just enough of their broth. Return the puree to the pan to cook out some of the moisture, check for seasoning and keep warm. Melt the butter on low heat and steep in the whole tarragon and chiles for 15 minutes, remove pepper and tarragon to reheat the lobster. Mash avocado with salt and the juice of half a lime. Toast the bread cut side down brushed with some of the butter. Spread the bottom bun with black beans and top with avocado. Divide the warmed lobster evenly and top with cilantro and jalapenos. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve with ZD Chardonnay.


Due to their close friendship, Marty and Nick look forward to more collaboration in the future. We’ll keep you posted!

Nantucket Wine Festival May 18-22

The 15th annual Nantucket Wine Festival kicks off on May 18th, when over 165 wineries converge upon Nantucket for one of the nation’s most celebrated wine and food events.

Thursday, May 19th at 6:00 p.m. is the kickoff with the Nantucket Wine Festival Harbor Gala, held at the charming White Elephant Hotel, an island landmark since the 1920’s. The Nantucket Yacht Club is home to the Grand Tastings during the weekend of May 21ST and 22nd, with an exceptional collection of wineries, chefs and food purveyors.

There are wine and food seminars, a luncheon symposium with distinguished winemakers, followed by a four-course luncheon of superb cuisine, and on Saturday, May 21st, a spectacular dinner and auction of rare wines at the White Elephant. This is an event not to be missed by any serious fan of food and wine—and isn’t that all of us?

Please join me!

For more information, visit

Nantucket Daffodil Festival Week

April 29-May 1, 2011

After the long winter months, Nantucket officially springs back to life with the annual Daffodil Festival, when three million daffodils burst into bloom and decorate the island with waves of yellow blossoms. Originated by the late Jean MacAusland, a longtime summer resident of Nantucket and former publisher of Gourmet Magazine, the first daffodils were planted in 1974. That was the year she convinced the Nantucket Garden Club to sponsor a daffodil show; the original goal was to plant one million bulbs.

Thousands of daffodils were added each year, and in the early 1980’s Mrs. MacAusland ordered eight tons of bulbs from the Netherlands. Today, roadways, gardens and meadows all boast blossoms of white, orange, and yellow, in an explosion of color.

Highlights are the Antique Car Parade on Saturday, April 30, with over 100 decorated antique cars, the Children’s Parade and the Tailgate Picnic. This is the perfect time to plan a weekend on Nantucket. Come join me!

This is a photo of my husband, Frank, and dog, GG, enjoying the parade!

Earth Hour 2011

On Saturday, March 26th, at 8:30 p.m. (your local time), people all over the world will turn off their lights for one hour, in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common:  our planet.  Lights will go out in neighborhoods, cities and countries around the world, as hundreds of millions of people take a stand against climate change.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, with 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turning off the lights.  Only a year later, Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating.  Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome’s Colosseum all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for the future of our planet.

March 27, 2010 was the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries joined the global display, and lights from Asia Pacific to Europe to Africa to the Americas switched off the lights

I joined this movement in 2009, and look forward to my third year of switching off the lights on March 26th, 2011.  I hope you’ll join me!

For more information, go to  You can sign up there, and add your name to other individuals and businesses who are working to build a future where people live in harmony with nature.





Working Together to Curb Chemical Use

Make Cancer Prevention a Priority – Sign the Greenpeace Petition!

Greenpeace is joining up with 200 coalition groups to deliver a petition to President Obama in early May, asking him to make it a top priority to stop the use of cancer-causing chemicals in American products.  Despite the devastation caused by this horrendous disease, it’s still legal for companies to add known cancer-causing chemicals to products we use every day in our homes, schools and workplaces.

In order for this to change, people need to speak out.

Please sign the Greenpeace petition asking the Administration to create a cancer prevention plan and eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in everyday products.

I’ve signed the petition:  Please Join Me!

I’m Helping to Build Healthier Communities

I’m excited to join the Connecticut Chapter of the Green Building Council (CTGBC) as a Board Advisor.  The CTGBC is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Connecticut through the promotion of intelligently designed and constructed high performance green buildings.

Volunteering for this position is one of the ways I can share what I’ve learned about sustainable design, and give back to the community where I live and work.

You can find out more about the work of the CTGBC at

Please Join Me in Reading

Anthill: A Novel E.O. Wilson

I’m reading a wonderful book:  Anthill: A Novel, by E.O. Wilson.  Join me!

Edward O. Wilson, a Pulitzer-prize winning author of 22 non-fiction books, has written a wonderful first novel.  Anthill tells the story of three parallel worlds:  the smallest is the world of ants, then there is the world of humans, and last, “thousands of times greater in space and time…the biosphere, the totality of all life, plastered like a membrane over all of earth.” (from the Prologue).

Wilson, a naturalist and ant expert, has become increasingly concerned about the declining health of planet Earth.  He has written deeply on topics of conservancy, including in 2006, The Creation—An Appeal to Save Life on Earth.

Anthill tells the inspirational story of a boy who grows up determined to save earth from her most fierce predator:  man himself. The novel follows the boy as he grows up, first witnessing through a child’s eyes the creation and destruction of four amazing anthills, and then later, his life as a legal gladiator in a fight to preserve the wilderness he loves.  It is a parable for our times, and can teach us all important lessons about survival in a world that we must learn to treat with more care.