Nantucket Online


Sun, Sea and Shells

by Andrew Spencer

photography by Dan Driscoll

Given that Nantucket is situated twenty-six miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, anyone who calls the “Little Grey Lady” their permanent home tends to have an affection for all things related to the ocean. That tendency definitely applies to year-round resident Deborah Anderson. She recently renovated her own home’s interior and it is a testament to her love of the ocean. “The house incorporates the primary color created by sunlight shining through cresting waves,” she said when describing her home. “That is set against the ever-present white as the background color. Whether it’s summer or winter, I find that white is always a soothing color.”

The house incorporates the primary color created by sunlight shining through cresting waves . . .

Deb’s love of the ocean is also reflected in accents throughout the house. The andirons in the fireplace, a gift from her oldest daughter Tess, are silver mermaids, a motif that repeats itself throughout the house in different forms, as Deb is something of a mermaid collector. The bed linens are all the colors seen in the ocean: turquoise, seafoam green and teal. Shells collected over years of walking different beaches around the world have found new resting places throughout the house. A large painting of sandpipers by local artist Jessica Sosebee serves as a personal reminder to Deb of days spent sitting on the beach when her three children were young, watching the waves chase after the small shorebirds. Jessica’s mother painted the kitchen counter chairs, all with mermaids.

My greatest design influence is the island, primarily the beaches

Light is another important component of the home’s interior. She does not have any curtains on the windows as a way of letting in more light. Then, there are four chandeliers throughout the house. One over the kitchen counter—made entirely of crystal—it reminds her of sea spray. Another in the dining room has driftwood from local beaches, woven into the silver arms. The chandelier at the end of the couch so that a side table is not used and one at the top of the stairs, made entirely of shells. It was a gift from her younger daughter Tharon, herself an interior designer. The overall effect of all this light is a feeling that you are spending a sunny day at the beach, which is one of Deb’s favorite things about living on Nantucket: “My greatest design influence is the Island, primarily the beaches. I am usually out walking on a beach by six o’clock in the morning or at the end of the day, no matter the season,” she said.

Top photo: A mermaid, gilded in silver-leaf hangs, over the kitchen sink

In addition to prior careers in medicine, a registered nurse from Children’s Hospital in Boston and a graduate of Dartmouth College as a physician’s assistant, she is now a magazine publisher. Deborah is the owner of Anderson Publishing, Inc. Therefore, it makes sense that she has a love of words to go along with her love of the ocean. Ascending the stairs to the second floor of her home, one sees words and phrases related to Nantucket that have been stenciled onto the risers. As for her unique “guest book,” it is actually a collection of stones from Great Point beach which her guests are invited to write messages on at the end of their stay.

Top photo: Master bedroom – Ironwood four-poster bed with shells painted on the headboard
Right photo: Master bath – The walk-in shower has an insert designed with shells from Deb’s extensive collection

Being ever creative, Deb has her own line of jewelry, Nantucket Diamond, with the island coordinates of 41º N and 70º W on each piece (sold at Jeweler’s Gallery on Centre Street). In addition, she loves to knit and her signature pieces are bunny hats with angora ears (sold at Nantucket Looms on Main Street).

The home is an encapsulation of Nantucket itself. Its understated elegance and warmth invite you to come sit and relax, surrounded by elements of the ocean. It is the sort of interior that is a perfect balance of glamorous and casual. But at its core, Deb’s home is a personal reflection of who she is, her heart is always at the beach. An “island girl” for sure, she loves everything about the island, especially the ever-present natural beauty. “There is so much to see and do in every season, and every season has something different to offer. I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” she said.

Three upstairs guest bedrooms await company that is always welcome to come and enjoy the unique events that Nantucket offers

For summer rental of the house view more photos and details at: (Property # 274815)

Contractor/Builder: Warren & Warren 508-221-3130
Painting: Four Winds Painting, Inc. 508-364-4001
Kitchen Design & Cabinets: Kitchenworks Design Studio 508-954-0949
Plumbing Fixtures: The Water Closet 508-228-2828
Tile Contractor: Crown Tile 719-310-9730
Tile Supplier: The Tile Room 508-325-4732

Left photo: Pantry and laundry room
Right photo: The color theme in the house is carried outdoors. Outdoor porch with mahogany deck and beadboard ceiling. The clay-bead chandelier was imported from South Africa. A mermaid watches over the garden and the one bedroom cottage on the property
Share this:

Similar Posts

Join our Newsletter

Stay up to date on everything that's happening on the island!