Everyone loves a good makeover and the February issue of House Beautiful, dedicated to Before & Afters, is filled with pretty projects. One that stands out for so many of us is a quaint little fisherman’s shack on the island of Nantucket. Apart from the obvious appeal of a tiny cottage in such a wonderful location, the impressive thing about this story is that it took New York designer Kevin Isbell only three weeks to complete the transformation.
The cottage is over 100 years old and has had very few upgrades over the decades – most of the rooms were brown and buttery yellow, the floor plan was wonky and the rooms had no ceiling electrical wiring. While Isbell did perform some decorating magic, he left the integrity of the home untouched. No reconfiguring the floor plan, no knocking down walls – instead he made the best of what was – don’t you just love that?
Some of Isbell’s decorating tricks:
- for a unified look, all the walls were painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove which brightens up the rooms. All the floors were painted a beautiful cobalt-blue – Champion Cobalt by Benjamin Moore – a nod to the home’s nautical setting
- the furniture is a mix of family heirlooms and local antiques shop finds
- all the pieces are appropriate in scale – with the exception of the wicker Serena & Lily sofa(the largest piece in the home), the chairs, tables and beds are small, clean-lined and sleek. This further helps to create the impression of spaciousness.
- for a cheerful mood, Isbell adds touches of blue, yellow and coral reds with accent pillows, ship paintings, porthole mirrors and John Ronbshaw textiles in the upholstery.
I was lucky to find on Isbell’s Instagram account his hand-drawn floor plan and furniture arrangement! It gives a better idea of how the rooms flow and how he managed to fit so many beautiful pieces within such a small space.