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A Cure for the Winter Blues

Photography courtesy of Janine Dowling

Janine Dowling’s design expertise and dedication to sustainability make her a force as fierce as the crashing swells of the ocean that hold Nantucket’s classic charm close to her shores. 

“Like most interior designers, I grew up playing with color, fabric and my mom’s furniture. My dollhouse even had wallpaper in it,” says Janine Dowling, owner of Janine Dowling Interior Design. “I don’t think I  knew that interior design was a profession at that age, but once I realized it was something I could do, I just yearned to be creative.”

That drive led Dowling, a Pennsylvania native, to Boston Architectural College where she studied interior design. “It was like my brain was on fire,” she says about finally giving into the unique pull interior design had throughout her life. “I’d dream about my classes all night.” For the first thirteen years of her career, Dowling worked at Wells and Fox Interiors—now Heather Wells, Inc.—in Boston, making her way from design assistant to senior designer. About seven years ago, she branched out on her own, opening Janine Dowling Interior Design. “I came to Boston for school. Like most, you come here and you never leave,” she says.

Dowling describes her personal style as “eclectic.” “I love color, of course. And, I love mixing texture and color with vintage pieces and comfortable, fashionable upholstery,” she says. Dowling is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certified, which means that she is both educated and passionate about sustainable design practices. “I find that people are incorporating sustainable elements into their everyday—from environmentally friendly mechanicals to low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints. So for me, it’s really great to be able to educate clients on the best products for both their lifestyle and their environment,” she says. 

That keen awareness for sustainability carries over into the pieces that Dowling sources for her projects. “Sometimes if you buy a retail sofa it will only last a few years before it makes its way to a landfill,” she explains. “But, if you spend a bit more on a couch with a solid wood frame, all it may take is some reupholstery for it to last much longer. I think a lot about not only sourcing older furniture, but finding things that are built to last, and I really enjoy being able to take a piece that has been well-loved and give it a new life.”

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