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A Subtle Case of the Blues

“For me to be just a builder and chasing subs and looking at numbers all day, that’s not the romantic part of the job,” Stahl’s husband says. “The design is the romantic part—the brainstorming and ideas flowing between us and the client.”

Together, the two Stahls constitute a Mom-and-Pop design-build firm bringing to fruition some of the finest looking properties on Nantucket. To a degree they are the kind of presence on the island that a certain HGTV couple were for Waco, Texas. In fact, Stahl’s husband’s name is—wait for it—Chip. 

The couple works almost exclusively by referral these days, and it is not surprising to see their names used as design selling points in descriptions of properties listed by real estate agents in the eight figures.

Sometimes they get repeat clients, like the ones with the painting of the glass jars. In fact, this home is next door to the one they originally bought from the Stahls. When it came up for sale, they considered their expanding progeny (currently at four grandchildren and counting), and bought it to create a family compound with a shared driveway and a gate connecting the two yards. 

The Stahls’ first order of business was to demolish the newly purchased house—a cottage that had never been winterized—and build the 3,500-square-foot home that was to be made warm and cozy in soft blues, greens, and off whites. 

While a short walk from the shoreline, it’s not a beach house per se. You don’t think of flip flops trailing sand through the back door. But it’s not formal, either. The rooms are on the large side but not forbiddingly voluminous, and the furnishings don’t have an off-limits feel. 

Stahl designed the interior like that on purpose. “That’s the way the clients are,” she says. “They enjoy beautiful things, but they want to be able to feel comfortable using them, not afraid that they’re going to get a stain on the sofa. Nothing feels ostentatious.” For instance, she says, “All the fabrics are soft and comfortable and practical.”

Stahl also helped warm things up with texture and patterns and varying patinas, important elements of layering in a home with a demure color scheme. The floor in the powder room opposite the mudroom, for instance, is made of narrow glass tiles configured in a herringbone pattern, arresting but durable in alternating blues placed alongside greys. She found a jewelry box in the same herringbone pattern with similar colors for one of the guest bedrooms, continuing a theme that can also be found on the doors of a cabinet in the mudroom and even the kitchen ceiling, done in white oak that Stahl had custom stained, resulting in an approximation of the color of sand.  

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