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A Cure for the Winter Blues

Photography courtesy of Janine Dowling

“There’s such an incredible history that is important to honor on Nantucket,” says Dowling, explaining that the project spanned nine months, giving her time to explore, meet local vendors and pull inspiration from the island’s splendid scenery and storied past. “I’ve done a lot of work on both Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, and Nantucket just feels different. There’s no place like it.”

Dowling’s best advice for homeowner’s looking to create their own perfect design is to be honest with themselves about how they live in their space. “You want to walk in and feel that beautiful, calm sense of being home,” she says. “Choose the products that are really going to honor your lifestyle—whether you have dogs or children, be honest with yourself about your routine. There are always ways to make it beautiful, but if it doesn’t function for you or your family, the beauty doesn’t matter. You have to find balance.”

For Dowling, a large part of that balance is discovering a way to give pieces a new purpose, and recycling furniture from the homeowner’s own collection gave her the opportunity to do just that. She created a true sanctuary, clad in rich blues and eye-catching accents, largely out of recycled pieces, repurposing them to fit the needs of both the couple and their new space. “If I can repaint it and give it a new fabric, I can create a piece that looks and feels totally new without ever having to send things to a landfill. It’s really important,” she says. Perhaps the truest measure of her success is the lifelong relationship that she’s created with her clients, one built on pulling from their personalities and unique design tendencies simply by drawing from items they’ve already loved. 

Lord Byron once wrote, “Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll. Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain. Man marks the earth with ruin, but his control stops with the shore.” Though clearly Lord Byron never met Janine Dowling, whose control extends far beyond the shoreline, evidenced by the ocean oasis she created inside the walls of this home. As her incredible love for creativity and affection for the homeowners is felt crashing from room to room on dark blue waves of diligently reupholstered furniture, her remarkable design sparkles like the far reaches of the Atlantic. And as those waves crest, sweeping mightily into visions of inviting sitting rooms clad with coral accents and nautical paintings as a nod to the true ocean beyond the shores of Nantucket, they demonstrate not only Dowling’s immense talent, but also her unmistakable dedication to her craft—her very own ocean of knowledge.

Photography courtesy of Janine Dowling

For more information, visit Janine online at

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