This Nantucket Beach House Showcases the Power of Neutrals
New York designer Tharon Anderson relied on a handful of textures, patterns, and family-friendly materials to bring this summer home to life.
For one city-dwelling couple with two young children, Nantucket is the ultimate warm-weather respite. Their home—a 5,000-square-foot six-bedroom, six-bathroom estate they purchased two years ago—on the coastal island recently underwent a full remodel with the help of interior designer (and Nantucket native) Tharon Anderson. The creative understands Nantucket—and what a family who retreats there would truly want out of an upgraded, maximized space. "This is their summer home, so it's all about enjoying time with their kids," she explains, adding that tapping into and enhancing the natural surroundings was also a top priority. "You can walk through the house and end up right on the beach. It's pretty idyllic."
The two-story home was renovated as a flip in 2006, and while a lot of money was poured into it, it wasn't done well—Anderson inherited the result. There were many renovation challenges the second time around, included dark mahogany flooring (an odd choice for a beach home) and wall-to-wall lackluster taupe paint. There was also a time crunch, as the family had purchased the home during the winter months and wanted the project completed ahead of the summer season. "It was a big undertaking," Anderson says.
But she knew it could be done and focused on crisp furnishings and modernized lighting to bring levity to the family's second home. The best part? She created a stunning outdoor space, complete with a patio, pool, and pool-meets-guest house, transforming all parts of the home into a summer oasis perfect for those sunny months on Nantucket.
Paint the Floors
One of the first things interior designer Tharon Anderson did to the home was take care of the flooring, which was originally a dark mahogany. She originally planned to bleach it to yield a white-washed, beach-appropriate look, but took a different approach, instead. "We ended up painting the floors white and luckily found a skilled flooring person to do it all for us," she says. "It instantly lightened up the space."
She chose mostly white for the walls, too. "Everything felt very 2006, so we freshened everything with crisper whites," she says. "The walls are mostly Farrow & Ball in All White and the ceilings are Decorator's White from Benjamin Moore. I like to use that color on the ceilings because it has a little bit of gray in it. It's nice to have a slightly different, cooler tone—it reflects light well."
Swap Out the Lighting
"We didn't modify anything in the bathrooms, or the kitchen and all the millwork remained intact," she says of the project. But Anderson did swap out all of the home's decorative lighting: "It's a really fast way to update and refresh a space. The fixture in the dining room is a handmade plaster chandelier from Julie Neill."
Use Outdoor Fabrics
Anderson intentionally selected fabrics that could weather "wet bathing suits and little kids," she says. "A good trick is using outdoor perennial fabrics on indoor furniture. They can be washed really easily." In the living room, she slipcovered the two white love seats, which are frequently utilized.
She considered these fabrics' prints, as well. Because the home is awash in white, beige, and blue, Anderson went for a mix of small-scale patterns to bring visual intrigue to the space. She selected a sofa with a subtle print; the cream chairs opposite the slipcovered set feature an ivory stripe. "All of the upholstery complements one another, but offers different things," she says.
Bring Back the Wallpaper
The foyer is one of Anderson's favorite spots in the home with "a rope-wrapped console, wavy mirror, and sea-grass area rug," she says. "The wallpaper is a grass cloth option by Sally King Benedict. "What's really interesting is that it's actually comprised of tiles and you can see the change in direction when you look closer. First and foremost, she's a fine arts painter but did this for a showroom in New York. I love that it brings interest without feeling too formal."
Throughout the bedrooms and on the stairs, the designer opted for jute carpeting. "It's a really great fiber for a beach house and sets the tone," says Anderson. "If you have sandy feet, the sand stays on top, unlike woven or high-pile carpeting, making it easy to vacuum up."
Go for Upholstered Headboards
The couple chose twin beds with upholstered headboards for their young daughter's bedroom. "It's fun for her to have two beds to choose from and great if she has sleepovers," Anderson says. "We did upholstered headboards and footboards, which are nice and safe for kids, and the fabric feels very whimsical."
The space outside the little one's bedroom reinforced the blue-and-white floral motifs inside, thanks to a bold blue wall covering.
Create an Outdoor Entertaining Space
Outdoors, Anderson used an outdoor dining table, perfect for evenings of entertaining on the island, to define the patio; opposite, across the pool, textural lounge chairs offer a place for sunbathing. The exterior's pièce de résistance, however, is the pool house, which serves as an extension of the home in both form and function.
Upgrade the Guest House
The pool house's open first floor was finished with a full kitchen (perfect for overnight guests) and furnished with durable fabrics; Anderson returned to tried-and-true outdoor textiles for the daybed. A slipcovered couch references the fabrics inside the interior living room.
Upstairs, a guest bedroom features grand ceilings, which Anderson made full use of by adding a four-poster bed. "It felt really appropriate to do something like this, "she says. "It's very simple with squared-off posts, but still feels very special. It's a modern take that draws the eye up."