A Nantucket Cottage Before and After

It was 92 degrees today in Boston and the start of Memorial Day weekend is only hours away. Summer is here along warm breezes, sunny skies, open windows and weekend trips so it's a great time to think about summer cottage decorating. Unfortunately, I don't own a summer place, but I recently found photos of designer Jeffrey Bilhuber's summer cottage on Nantucket. These before and after photos of the cottage are from the September 2003 issue of Architectural Digest and show his unique take on the cottage look. The living room (shown here) is crisp and tailored with classic upholstered furniture, but also light and airy thanks to the open beamed ceiling and white sheers on the windows. The tangerine accent color on the chairs and pillows is a refreshing change from the blues typically used in summer homes near the beach.

Above is the same room before Bilhuber's transformation. To say that this designer has great taste and skill is almost an understatement.

Here's a before shot of what appears to be a den.

And the after. Chocolate brown walls warm (or cool) the space.

The dining area before with its gray stained walls.

Bilhuber kept the gray colored walls and added more tangerine colored accents. My favorite elements are the white contemporary dining table paired with traditional style chairs.

Here's another view into the den from the dining area.

And of course, the house only gets better. Here's a before shot of a room....

...that was transformed into a master bedroom. The matching chests must provide ample storage in this house where closet space is likely scarce.

A bright bedroom gets even better....

...with the removal of dated carpeting and wallpaper and the addition of original art plus sheer cafe curtains.

The house looks so tiny from the exterior, which is typical of the original cottages on Nantucket. No one would know from passing by what a fresh and inventive interior awaits inside. It's the perfect weekend retreat, if you ask me.

Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend!

All Photos by Peter Vanderwarker for Architectural Digest


  1. Wow! I love to see these Nantucket Homes!! This one was especially appealing because the color palette is so sophisticated - beachy but not blues which are so prevelant. I loved the browns and grays. Amazing it was done in 2003 and it still wows and looks current. Another example that good design is timeless! Great post!!

  2. hi deborah,

    what a beauty! i adore the exterior also. i'm getting our little place ready for the summer this weekend also. have a great weekend too.


  3. Oh adorable... how chic and I love the colours he has used - what a wonderful cottage. Thanks for posting this.x

  4. Oh my....cute AND gorgeous!! Thank you for sharing this little gem. Good things can come in small packages!
    AK xo

  5. Not your typical cottage and still looks current 7 years later.

  6. What a coincidence, I was going through some old magazines the other day and ran into this article too. Loved this cottage. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. An amazing transformation. Really a surprise inside!!

    Art by Karena

  8. Hi Deborah!
    After popping over to Maine yesterday I soooo have a beach cottage on my brain!! This one is lovely!
    Happy Weekend to you to!

  9. Cute little Nantucket cottage! Happy Memorial Day!

  10. Just a magical transformation Deborah! How could you ever get in the car on Sunday night & return to the City & leave this behind?! In total agreement with Gina, it's great to see this colour palette used so effectively in a coastal cottage.
    Millie ^_^

  11. What an adorable little cottage. I once made a quilt and called it "Nantucket" to remind me that one day I shall get to see it.

  12. Hi Deborah,
    I just found your blog and have very much enjoyed reading through your past posts. You have a beautiful home and a great sense of style. Can't wait to follow along and get more inspiration!
    Have a wonderful weekend ~

  13. Hi Deborah,
    Beautiful cottage! Oh I love it all, especially the room that is become the bedroom now!!
    And the exterior of that tiny house is so charming!

  14. Cute little cottage, it looks very cosy.

  15. deborah
    i adored this post and will go back again and many details!

    what a perfect summer cottage

  16. Hi Deborah, This is a wonderful transformation! Enjoy your beautiful summer weather! Ax

  17. This is beautiful. I loved the mirror on the window. I did that in my last house. Lots of great details and lots of inspiration. Just what we are all after. thanks!

  18. It's not only the perfect summer retreat, it's the perfect "I want to live here full time" spot!!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  19. What a fabulous transformation. This is such a gorgeous little gem, who wouldn't just adore going there for summer? xo Lidy

  20. The transformation is fabulous and all the colors are so soothing'
    happy weekend~Deepali

  21. it is fabulous.
    i love nantucket and it's cottage's.
    this one is a real sleeper.

  22. nantucket is so charming... and this transformation made it even more so!
    i love your blog and will enjoy following along... xx pam

  23. Oh! I've seen pics of this home's exterior but had no idea what was inside... or that it was Jeffrey Bilhuber's. Thanks so much for the tour. I love his style and am not at all surprised that his take on "beach house" is so original.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your comments are part of what makes blogging worthwhile! In an effort to control spam, comments are moderated and word verification has been enabled. Apologies for any inconvenience.