Life on Nantucket is a never-ending tapestry of natural beauty. This island is where I find joy in the simple rhythms of the day, as well as much of my design inspiration. Although many people come here for the summer, with the beautiful beaches, warm evenings and the whirl of social life, there is just as much to inspire us when the weather turns colder and the leaves have fallen.
My husband, Frank, with G.G. at the Farmers’ Market
Come along with me as I share how I find comfort and beauty as the seasons change!
The first place I go: the island’s Farmers Market, sponsored by Sustainable Nantucket. It had been a long, quiet, and lonely road through the pandemic, so the joy I felt being with the artists, craftspeople and island farmers at the Saturday markets this summer was indescribable. (Luckily, there are a few more days this year to gather: for the Downtown Holiday Market on November 25 and 26, and then the Farmers and Artisans Market during Christmas Stroll on December 2 and 3. )
The colors of autumn!
Here’s what I love: the way original artwork and crafts combine with fresh food and locally-grown produce to bring people together! That combination also brings fresh ideas, and a new way of seeing. Fall changes the slant of morning sunlight, and breathes its frosty breath on the last of the autumn roses. I rush home from the Farmers Market with an arm full of bright red and orange tomatoes, eager to lay a fire and light candles.
“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t, they should, for their feet are dusted with the spices from a million flowers.”–Ray Bradbury
It’s time to say goodbye to the bees until spring, but the market offers a final glimpse of a busy hive. Nantucket is home to many island beekeepers, with Sustainable Nantucket offering a beekeeping mentoring program for novices. I love bees, birds, and butterflies, and have long forbidden the use of pesticides and fungicides on my lawn and garden. A connection with nature is vital to our health.
Watching the busy little gold and brown insects gives me other ideas for autumn-warmed rooms. Inspiration can come in the tiniest of ways!
The local artists and craftspeople find natural beauty to inspire them, too. Nantucket’s unique whaling history and the salty ocean waves that surround the island bring internationally famous artists to our shores as well.
From the mid 1700s to the late 1830s, Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world.
In the waters surrounding Nantucket, you can find Humpback whales, Finback whales, Minke whales, Pilot whales, and the endangered Right whales.
I believe in bringing the patterns and textures of nature inside. As a sustainable LEED-accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED AP + ID + C), I love fresh flowers, nature-based artwork, and natural fabrics.
Each of us will look at the jewel-tones of autumn and find a unique way to bring the outdoors in. “The question is not what you look at,” said Henry David Thoreau, “but what you see.”
The painting, “Finches–Right Eye,” is by the American Neo-Expressionist painter Hunt Slonem.
You can nestle right in to sumptuous hues such as persimmon, spice, pumpkin, sage, and olive in fall. Dujardin’s Senior Designer Price Connors and I used those rich colors in our design work at the historic Thomas Starbuck House, brought to Nantucket’s Milk Street by barge in 1790.
The dining room retains its original cooking fireplace with two ovens, considered one of the finest examples of its kind in New England.
Warmer hues were perfect for this historic home, built when earthy colors such as stone, ocher, red, pumpkin and sage were widely in use.
Poet A.D. Posey said, ” Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.”
The paneled wall surrounding the fireplace is painted with a Farrow & Ball paint that reflects the traditional colors of the period.
You’ll want to place a soft blanket where you sip your morning coffee, with a throw pillow that brings a touch of nature indoors . Little details are not little at all.
On the contrary, as the painter N.C. Wyeth said, “To elevate the little into the great is genius.”
A contemporary version of a Hepplewhite sofa is a graceful addition to the parlor.
The last fall touch takes place in the kitchen with a pot of soup simmering on the stove, Helen Keller told us that “scent is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”
Do you have a favorite recipe from your grandmother? If not, I’ll share mine!
My favorite Butternut Squash Soup recipe is actually one of Ina Garten’s.
Old school green bean casserole
And since I’m originally from South Carolina, side dishes from Southern Living really resonate with me! My favorite is the Old School Green Bean Casserole, made with canned fried onion rings. My mother made it even simpler with Campbells’ Cream of Mushroom Soup. Here’s the recipe!
My other favorite is the Sweet Potato Casserole--we always had it with marshmallows!
And Price loves the Corn Pudding, and makes it every Thanksgiving!
Wherever you find yourself this fall, remember that your life is enriched when you attend to the small details and the little moments. I wish you all the comforts of home as you celebrate the season.
Watch for my new blogs once a month, and Instagram (@dujardin_design) and Facebook (@DujardinDesign) posts on Thursdays. Once a season I send a newsy email letter to you, too! Be sure to subscribe to get all the best design advice and beautiful inspiration through photos of our projects. I want all of us to live in happy, well-designed, healthy homes!