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A Cure for the Winter Blues

Photography courtesy of Janine Dowling

Dowling’s years of experience and palpable devotion to creating spaces that are both striking and functional led her to a unique project on Nantucket at the home of a couple with whom she had built a relationship through previous projects. “I was able to come into the home really knowing the clients and how special their personalities are,” says Dowling, who describes the project as a puzzle. She used existing pieces from the already-furnished home on Nantucket, as well as ones from storage and the clients’ other homes, and pieced everything back together. After that, it was about adding layers of detail to the design. “I had like two and a half houses of furniture to work from,” she laughs. “It was really fun to look at those individual pieces and find the best combinations.”

A life of boating and travel meant that deep, ocean blues and stark whites were the perfect color scheme to incorporate for this couple, and Dowling put her skills to the test, reupholstering pieces and breathing new life into not only the furniture but the home as a whole. “We added a lot of color to that blue and white palette,” says Dowling, noting the coral and green accents throughout the home. “The window treatments really transformed the space. In particular, the husband loves window treatments—all the way down to the beads on the trim,” she laughs, pointing out the spirited personalities of the homeowners.

“Their connection as a couple is really special and unique,” Dowling says fondly about the pair. “Whenever I design for them, I always like to imagine where they’re going to sit together and talk. There are always ‘his and hers’ chairs.” The design process for this home actually took place entirely over PowerPoint and via FedEx while the couple was at their home in California. “They just completely trust the process,” says Dowling. “Their appreciation and respect for interior design truly made this experience so special.”

In the family room, a light breeze blows through an open window, bringing with it a pleasant chill and the distinct smell of saltwater from the ocean beyond. As the draft makes its way farther into the home, over the cushy settees and striking cobalt pillows, it mingles with the comforting scent of a warm winter’s meal in the oven—the smell of sea breeze and sweet potatoes blending into a singular scent that can only be described as a Nantucket holiday. It’s this room where the couple chooses to spend most of their time, soaking in the sweeping sights of their island getaway outside the window. “The views are just stunning,” says Dowling. “I walked into the family room and said, ‘you spend all of your time here, don’t you?’ The light is incredible, and with that room in particular I feel like we were able to pull it all together in a way that is just perfect and intimate.”

“In fact, the whole home feels really cozy,” continues Dowling. “Sometimes with a big house, nothing feels warm and welcoming, but I love how comfortable and personal this space is.” In true reflection of the close nature of the couple’s relationship, their home is equally inviting thanks to Dowling’s attention to detail—from finding the perfect upholstery, to a coffee table that’s exactly the right height to rest your feet. 



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