Project Reveal: Nantucket Seaside Home

Nestled on a six-acre parcel on Nantucket’s waterfront is an extraordinary home; a dream realized for a young family of four with a generations-long connection to the island. Having designed several spaces for the clients’ primary residence years earlier, we at Acampora Interiors were honored to be asked back to create a comprehensive plan for this 7,500-square-foot new build.

From start to finish, this beloved seaside project took two years to complete, with a few minor pauses to solve for waterfront zoning considerations and ensure historical commission compliance. When the project came to fruition in early March 2020, the home was move-in-ready in the truest sense — down to the silverware neatly tucked in the kitchen drawers and the toiletries unpacked in the second-floor bathrooms. On reveal day, our clients brought their suitcases with them; we saw to everything else.

Join us for a virtual tour of the home, and learn how this remarkable labor of love came to life.

Generations of Island-Dwellers

Photo: Cary Hazlegrove

For many, the island of Nantucket is a meaningful locale, recalling summers of family vacations and warm, sunny days relaxing on New England’s island shores. But beyond lush hydrangea bushes and cozy summer cottages, the island holds special family significance for our clients, with generations of family members serving as longtime island residents — and grandparents who survived the fateful 1956 shipwreck of the Andrea Doria. (The Italian luxury liner collided with another ship late one night in a thick Nantucket fog — a weather phenomenon so notorious there is even an eponymous Benjamin Moore paint color).

Adding even more meaning to the property is the fact that the home is situated on a parcel of land adjacent to our clients’ parents, now in their 70s. Additionally, the project was one of two homes built in tandem by the builders, with the second home designated for our client’s brother and his husband. This dreamy layout ultimately realized a life-long dream of creating a family compound that enables easy gathering for grandparents, children and grandchildren — for years to come.

Deciding Where to Start

Tackling a new build head-on can be a challenge for any homeowner, and we were honored to be approached by our clients early on to help guide the process. To kick off the project, we introduced our client to KVC Builders, a premier custom home building and renovation company that serves the New England area. Together with KVC, we began interviewing leading residential architects to find the best fit. We were delighted to partner with Michael O. McClung of Shope Reno Wharton, an architectural firm based out of Norwalk, Connecticut, who was hired as the lead architect for the project. Sudbury Design Group, a leading landscape architecture firm based out of Sudbury, Massachusetts, was also brought in to create a concept for the home’s exterior. With the full design team established, the project was officially underway. 

Settling on a Style 

Despite its geographic location and proximity to the ocean, it was essential to our clients that the home not feel like a beach house, a limiting aesthetic that speaks to a specific time of year in New England. Instead, we worked with our client to develop a timeless and polished design that would enable the home to be used year-round. With two young children afoot, it was equally critical that the home carry a cheerful and family-friendly vibe, while remaining elegant, light and bright.

Our clients’ nostalgia for the past created a perfect opportunity to tap into classical design elements: symmetry in layout, elegant touches throughout the home, and finishes that recall a bygone era. Unlacquered brass is one of our favorite metals to use to achieve a more nostalgic look, offering a patina over time to give a space a historical feel. We also combined other metal finishes throughout the home to achieve a ‘collected’ feel; that the home’s contents have been amassed over time. The goal: to make the home feel lived-in, warm, and with an abundance of character.

Designing a Cohesive Home

With the home’s style determined, how exactly did we go about designing a home that feels cohesive without every room feeling…the same? Our team safeguarded against repetition by intentionally designing several rooms in parallel. For large-scale design projects, we first determine a larger color palette that remains consistent throughout the home, while adjusting the level of color saturation depending on the space. 

For our Nantucket Seaside project, we opted for a palette of soft ocean blues, taupes and sandy hues for a subtle nod to the home’s seaside locale. For more formal spaces like the living room and dining room, we dialed the palette down to feathery shades of sky blue and rose and mixed in airy whites and neutrals that reflected abundant sources of natural light. For more casual spaces like the den, we leaned into saturated hues on the palette — like navy, cobalt, cranberry and coral, mixed in with warm neutral shades. In doing so, we echoed the spirit of the larger scheme to create a cohesive home, while letting each space’s intended use guide the design.  
The primary difference between each of the home’s individual spaces was in the application of the palette, selection of textures and finishes, and mixing makers in the same room.

Similarly, we made a point to source pieces from a variety of different vendors to achieve the style we’re looking for. This mixing and matching of makers helped to safeguard against that “straight-from-the-catalogue” feeling. We embraced mixing and matching in many regards, from combining painted and stained wood finishes in the same space to juxtaposing hardwood and metal tables for a collected look. (Despite what our mothers may have told us, no — it doesn’t always need to be matchy-matchy.)

Layout and Traffic Flow

Photo: Cary Hazlegrove

On the first floor of the home, we worked with Shope Reno Wharton to develop an open floor plan that offered laid-back sophistication. With this concept, a gracious kitchen flowed effortlessly into the formal dining room, which subsequently flowed into the formal living room, offering a natural progression when hosting more formal events in the home. The goal for the first floor: to create ample seating, easy traffic patterns, and spaces that invite conversation and gathering.

For the kitchen, Shope Reno Wharton worked with KVC Builders to develop hidden pocket doors between the kitchen and the dining room, offering optional privacy between prep and serving areas for hosting formal events. 

Our mission for the dining room, a space quite literally situated at the center of the home, was to design a versatile room that could either be dressed up or dressed down. Our clients needed it to feel comfortable enough to play board games together on a Sunday night, but polished enough to transition the space for formal dinner parties (with a dining room table that can expand to sit twelve guests). 

As a designer, it’s just as critical to understand where not to place a furnishing. In the case of our Nantucket Seaside project, the home features a breathtaking oceanfront view upon entering the home. We intentionally left this vantage point unobstructed to celebrate the architectural elements that create a serene vista that greets anyone who enters the home.

We were honored to partner again with our clients on this incredible labor of love, which was completed in early March of 2020. It was impossible to know at the time, but the project concluded just days before the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the world and business shutdowns abruptly took effect. Thankfully, the stars aligned for this island property, and our design team was able to successfully reveal the project and return safely to mainland Massachusetts on one of the last running ferries off the island. 

Our hope is that this home emanates warmth for the loveliest family of four, and that it becomes a home to treasure for years to come.