Island Life

INTERVIEW WITH KATHLEEN HAY, KATHLEEN HAY DESIGNS & CHIP WEBSTER, CHIP WEBSTER ARCHITECTURE

This looks like the ultimate summer house. Where is it located?
Kathleen Hay: It’s in an area of Nantucket called Monomoy across the harbor from town that’s known for its beautiful homes, many right on the water. It’s a very desirable location, but really, there are no bad neighborhoods on Nantucket.

Who owns the home? And who are their lucky house guests?
KH: Kathy Sidell, owner of Boston-based Met Restaurant Group, and her husband, Carl Goldberg, and their blended family of adult children and grandkids. They’re a very close family that extends to her mother, sister, sister’s kids and friends. She has a huge circle of people around her and just embodies hospitality. She’s warm and generous and wanted a house with an amazing gourmet kitchen and space for large and small gatherings.
Chip Webster: Kathy spent summers here as a child. They bought the property some time ago and engaged us to design a house and guest house. Every three years, we would renew the approvals, and twelve years later they said, “OK, we’re ready to build.” We did a substantive redesign but maintained the driving principles: a U-shaped house, very symmetrical, focused on the outdoor space and pool in the rear of the house.
KH: It’s a family compound, a place to get away from their very busy lives and their restaurants (including award-winning Saltie Girl in Boston), though they have a restaurant on Nantucket too called Met on Main.

Tell me about that amazing indoor/outdoor connection.
KH: Kathy lived in California, and her adult kids still live there. She wanted that sense of California living, that easy flow to the outside.
CW: There’s an accordion French door system leading out to the patio and pergola. When it’s closed, you can open just the middle to walk in and out like a regular door. When it’s nice out and you want a continuous flow, the entire door system opens up and connects the interior with the patio, dining area and pergola.

What were some must-haves on their wish list?
CW: The pool was paramount. There’s also an integrated hot tub/spa and an outdoor fire pit plus a great grill area.
KH: We designed with entertaining in mind and flexible seating arrangements, so if there were only four people in the main living area, you wouldn’t feel like you were sitting in this crazy-big room, yet when you have a lot of people, there’s plenty of space for everyone.
CW: It’s interesting because there’s no dining room; the dining spaces feel more like a club or restaurant with the large kitchen banquette, the full bar with a tavern feel and a seating group around the fireplace. They wanted the primary dining for the house to be outside, under the pergola.

What was her vision for the overall look of the house?
KH: She wanted sophisticated and chic yet still very relaxed and family-friendly. Nothing fussy. A place where people feel comfortable in shorts and swimsuits, with soft textures. We tried to bring in a sense of the unexpected, like the driftwood-and-glass table that divides the living space.

The main living space looks like many rooms in one.
KH: It was fun to divide that balanced space into different areas. One is the sofa with the TV and fireplace, where Kathy and Carl can feel cozy within the larger room. The center section acts as an entry table, but it can also become a dining table for six to eight people. On the left side, we did a lower table with loungey chairs so you can sit near the bar and have a drink. It feels kind of sexy.

What an amazing, unusual kitchen.
CW: The kitchen is a focal point. It was an exercise in integrating three concepts into one space. One is a full-blown commercial-level kitchen with fans and an exhaust system, the same as a restaurant kitchen. We had to hide that with the hood. At another level, it’s a residential setting, and the cabinetry and details speak to that. The third is that the kitchen is part of the primary living space. We didn’t want it to be too kitcheny and tried to minimize upper cabinets.
KH: The kitchen is extraordinary, with a beautiful built-in rotisserie and a nook at the end with the banquette and side chairs. The island stools have a cool, coastal aesthetic.

What inspired the understated color palette?
KH: That’s her vibe. I’m not a huge colorist by nature, and it was great to work with a client who has a similar aesthetic. She loves soft neutrals and blues. She fell in love with the big, bold Sonia Rykiel floral with pinks and grays on the pillows in the “whale-tail” guest room. She couldn’t believe she was doing a pink bedroom, but it turned out to be everyone’s favorite. Adding that whimsical whale-tail sculpture over the bed gave a nod to nautical without hitting you over the head.

How does your design evoke texture?
KH: I’m a big fan of texture. It’s often missed in interiors and is a very necessary element, especially in a place like this, where a client wants a clean aesthetic and neutral palette. I was able to add it with furniture, lighting and wallcoverings, like the thick woven hemp around the bar area, cork stools surrounding the lounge table and rope stools by the driftwood table.

How did you design rooms durable enough for a summer house?
KH: We sourced luxe outdoor fabrics (like Loro Piana) and did a lot of stain-treating to mitigate wear and tear. There’s a new technology: I’ve been able to get red wine, chocolate and indigo dye out of light fabrics because of Nanotex. Older treatments were spray-on and not healthy for pets or the environment, but these new technologies are low- and no-VOC. Fabrics get sent out to be dipped with stain treatment, so they hold up for much longer.

Tell us about that amazing outdoor shower.
CW: Typically, outdoor showers can be accessed from the yard. Carl said, “I don’t want anyone to get into it from the outside; we want it to be an extension of the master bath.” So we decided as long as it’s an extension of the bathroom, why not make it an extension of the indoor shower?
KH: I’ve done a few of these inside-to-outside showers here on the Island.
CW: You can leave the door open, and if you’re using the indoor shower, the steam and humidity flow out.

I love the bedrooms. Which is the master?
KH: The house was actually designed with two masters. Kathy wanted guests, especially her mother, to feel like they’re not just being relegated to a little guest room. She wanted really comfortable rooms, with one on the first floor if someone couldn’t manage stairs easily. They’re almost identical in layout and size with similar amenities: walk-in closets, beautiful baths and small porches to sit outside and have a cup of coffee. The second-floor bedroom features blue tones and a beautiful wall of floral marble tile behind the tub. The first-floor bedroom has beige tones and the indoor/outdoor shower.

All the bedrooms and baths look like they could be in a boutique hotel.
KH: Kathy wanted each one to have its own personality and color story—and its own bathroom. Though space was limited for some of the bathrooms, guests only need to wash up, use the loo and head out to the pool—they’re not spending tons of time there. For smaller guest bathrooms, we came up with the idea of sliding barn-style doors to save space. We thought it would be fun to do them in glass to let in light, frosted for privacy.

Biggest challenge of this project?
CW: Integrating the restaurant kitchen into the house. Part of it is the aesthetic, and part of it is functional. That hood is gargantuan; what is even more surprising is how large all of the fan systems, blowers, ducts and pipes are that are hidden inside. But it doesn’t look like a restaurant. It was a success.
KH: The biggest challenge for me was the really long but narrow living room. The sectional by the fireplace is only about nine feet across because we needed room to walk around it with the staircase on one side and the entrance to the master on the other.

What was most rewarding?
KH: Working with the team—Kathy and Carl and Chip. It was such a collaborative, pleasant, egoless group. It was really so much fun to work on a house that had these really gracious spaces.
CW: Yes, they were dream clients. As far as rewarding features, I really like the widow’s walk. There’s a joke on Nantucket that there are two times you use a widow’s walk: when you buy the house and when you sell it. Many are too awkward to reach, requiring a ladder and a hatch. I always say if you can’t carry your drink up there, you’re not going to go up there. Here, we had room for full stairs and a motorized hatch, so you just hit a button and walk right up. We even worked in a little wet bar in the attic space. It’s easy to get to, they use it regularly and the views of the harbor and town are unbelievable.


RESOURCES:
Interior designer: Kathleen Hay Designs, Nantucket, MA; 508-221-0159; kathleenhaydesigns.com
Architect: Chip Webster Architecture, Nantucket, MA; 508-228-3600; chipwebster.com
Landscape designer: Mark Lombardi, Nantucket Heritage Landscapes, Nantucket, MA; 508-228-5187; nantucketheritagelandscapesllc.com

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