A Nantucket Beach House in Orange and Blue

Clearly beach homes are my jam right now. I can’t help it, it’s all I can think about! 🙂 This colorful little cottage stuck with me since last summer, after seeing it in House Beautiful because I thought it had some great design take aways. Bold design choices, managing a contrasting color scheme, renovating a total wreck…that sort of thing.

Boston designer Gary McBournie and his partner, Bill Richards, have created a charming summer retreat on the island of Nantucket that is both bold and joyful. Combining influences from their extensive trips abroad, particularly Danish and Moroccan, resulted in interiors that harmoniously blend crisp white walls and floors with deep, saturated colors.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House - hedge

Originally, the 1940s ranch was a total wreck but the couple’s vision and experience allowed them to see beyond what it was into what it could be. Work started from their first month in the house. What used to be a huge parking lot out front, was transformed into little secret garden surrounded by a privet hedge, where an 1890s English armillary takes center stage and adds a dash of whimsy.

‘’I believe in the French way of renovating a property. Do the landscaping first, lay things out and then go from there. ‘’ (Gary McBournie)

As for the architecture of the place, McBournie chose an H-shaped ranch style house because of its openness and easy flow. With great light from every angle and a convenient indoor-outdoor connectedness, it is a perfect architectural style for a summer house.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House - Garden

 When decorating the interiors, the designer kept the bold color palette in check – a royal blue, a paler blue, a soft orange and grass green – and carried it around the expanse of the home, with different interpretations in different rooms.

The master bath opens into an outdoor shower and sink area, which I love. The library is fun and fresh, with secret doors that open into a closet and a powder room, I love that too. The fresh prints and white floors make it one of my favorite rooms in this cottage. I do love built-ins that surround windows and this one is very fresh.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House - Library

The painted checkerboard floors – another favorite.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House Kitchen

The dining room walls are covered in a reflective treatment that glows beautifully at night in candle light. I think that is a very smart choice in a space where atmosphere is so important.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House - dining-room

I love how serene this bedroom corner feels like, despite so much color and pattern.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House orange-bedroom

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House Bedroom

The master bath returns to a nautical theme.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House Bathroom

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House gallery-master-bedroom

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House Desk

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House Gallery-outdoor-shower

One of the best ways to enjoy a summer home is to create ample and comfortable outdoor spaces. This large porch has both –  plus tons of charm. Marine varnish covers old 1940s and 1950s bamboo furniture, for year-round exposure to the elements while fresh pillows make it look contemporary.

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House gallery-porch-1

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House porch-2

And last but not least, pups make any home feel homey. Pictured below is Winston, their Welsh terrier, making the garden rounds!

Cafe Design | Nantucket Beach House Porch-exterior

Happy summer!



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  1. Kate
    June 22, 2017 / 10:38 am

    Do you know where I can get the rug shown on the outdoor porch?

    • Eva Contreras
      June 22, 2017 / 10:51 am

      Hi, Kate! It is an old rug, there’s no mention to the source in the original story. Sorry!