Interior designer Liz Stiving-Nichols turns traditional into contemporary by bringing the outside in.

Liz Stiving Nichols 6 12 bedroom 3

Photography by Eric Roth

When a young family stumbled upon a Martha’s Vineyard home for sale surrounded by open fields and grazing horses, they knew they had found their dream summer spot. However, while the agrarian views were just what the couple desired, the style of the house was not: A two-story, cedar-shingled abode with neoclassical elements did not match their 21st-century sensibilities.

After contacting island interior designer Liz Stiving-Nichols, owner of Martha’s Vineyard Interiors, they asked her to transform the traditional home into a contemporary. “I first met the couple at their primary home outside Boston and was surprised they had chosen such a traditional house for their summer place,” notes Stiving-Nichols. “Their primary residence is ultra-modern and nothing like the property on the island.”

Liz Stiving Nichols 6 12 vanity

Photography by Eric Roth

Stiving-Nichols listened to her clients’ wish list for the new interiors. Along with incorporating a more modern feel, the couple wanted a place to entertain friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere. The major challenge Stiving-Nichols faced was that the unfurnished house had to be completed within six months—just in time for the start of the summer season.