There are 1,200 houses on Nantucket Island and many historical cottages. Most of these were built in the 17th and 18th centuries and are based on characteristic resident needs because they are small and in terms of space, have practical constructs to utilize every square inch. These are pared-down homes mostly because of limited plot space or because of a momentous design; but that constraint often makes it possible to spend money on things that give a house character such as unique weathered furniture, art and small outdoor spaces.
” …[cottages] have practical constructs to utilize every square inch.”
These factors and other design elements including luscious gardens and dynamic entrances, that is to say, under trellises, past large flowering shrubs, or into outdoor pocket rooms make for charming spaces and that is the subject of a new book entitled: Nantucket Cottages and Gardens: Charming Spaces on the Faraway Isle written by Leslie Linsley, a resident and author.
Inside this volume you will find 200 full-color pictures of delightful cottage homes, interiors and gardens. You will find yourself studying each image. The beach-goer way of life for those closest to the sea means a resident will: sweep sand out of the house, use furnishings that can take wet swim suits with élan, yet, have small spaces ordered, including simplistic areas that still appear charming in an authentic Nantucket cottage-way.
The gardens too, are ever so much a part of the island’s life—plantings cultivated to climb around a window or doorway, overflow a window box, or create an outdoor room made up of indigenous plants that thrive in the spring, summer and fall. All these carefully tended cottages are contained on an island seven miles wide and fourteen miles long. They are, as the author says, “…mindful of the natural beauty and the history of Nantucket and how it impacts the way we live.”
Some of the classic elements found in Nantucket cottage style homes are presented in a great list on page xiv and we give a sneak peek here:
- Pastel or white interior paints
- Wooden floors
- Weathered furnishings
- Handmade textiles
And so on….
The gardens often have a wild growth look because of the abundance—as if they grew up around the lot—but are well-tended and many have trailing, climbing or clinging varieties of flowering shrubs including a favorite, hydrangea. Often white fences anchor the lot, trellises hold down roses, and window boxes adorn all entrances complete with small flourishes, as with one house, which displays ‘paper parasols’.
This is a charming book and if you are wont to get the cottage look–or plan to downsize to a smaller yet carefree style, this is a title you can look at again and again.
NANTUCKET COTTAGES AND GARDENS: Charming Spaces on the Faraway Isle
By Leslie Linsley; Skyhorse Publishing hardcover; May 26, 2015, 2015; ISBN: 978-1-63220-701-2; $35.00. Photos by Terry Pommett