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Sense & Sensibilities

An intrepid interior designer strikes a balance between traditional sophistication and seaside charm for an Oyster Harbors retreat.

In Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, the author presents an era of romanticism and propriety which is largely dictated by rules and expectations. In her writing, Austen lays out what will ultimately become the trademark features woven into all her stories: insightful observation, wit, and an astute understanding of the surroundings. Another Austin, albeit a different spelling, over two hundred years later, has channeled many of the same attributes as he accomplished a very special design project for a discerning homeowner. Dane Austin, principal and founder of Boston’s Dane Austin Design, remembers the day a new client, whose seasonal home in the tony community of Osterville’s Oyster Harbors granted him the opportunity to update her home that had been the backdrop to the rich and fulfilling life she had shared with her recently departed husband. 

“Their original intention when purchasing the property was primarily for fundraisers and hosting large gatherings of family and friends. The stories of that heyday era, when every summer weekend was an event to remember, have been shared with me through the years, and have literally become part of my collective memory of this home,” Austin says of the close, long-term relationship he has enjoyed with this special client.

“They had owned the home for several decades and although they had renovated and redecorated several times; a recent flood caused by the icemaker in the built-in bar in the great room necessitated the replacement of flooring and other remediation. As a result, the client felt the home needed updating, and the vision I shared with her provided a sense of energy and excitement,” Austin shares. The renovation this time around would resolve the damage caused in the…



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