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9 Design Ideas to Steal from The Pearl, a Nantucket Institution Redone

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9 Design Ideas to Steal from The Pearl, a Nantucket Institution Redone

Matt Kisiday August 2, 2023

After three dormant years, Nantucket institution The Pearl has reopened with new management and an updated look that pays homage to the beloved restaurant’s previous three decades of service.

The refreshed interior—which mixes traditional millwork with contemporary furniture to bring the 1850s building into the 21st century—is the work of Brooklyn-based design firm Home Studios. Its founder, Oliver Haslegrave, spent a formative summer on the Massachusetts island as a teenager and took special care to reimagine this space while maintaining its welcoming essence.

“Especially in a small community, with a place that people really liked, the goal was definitely to preserve the spirit of it, to preserve the feel of an evening there,” he explains. “But we completely renovated. We changed everything, but we wanted to echo the kind of experience that people had at the original.”

Oliver kept the existing layout of the restaurant so it would seem familiar to diners. He also stuck with a neutral color palette but opted for warmer tones as opposed to the former cool hues—except with the aqua velvet banquette that nods to the oceanside locale. And he combined intentional architectural details with a variety of texture-rich materials to recreate the cozy vibe. Here are nine ideas to steal from the inviting space.

Photography by Matt Kisiday

1. Honor history with traditional millwork.

the pearl occupies a colonial style house that&#8\2\17;s over \170 years ol 17
Above: The Pearl occupies a Colonial-style house that’s over 170 years old, so Oliver was mindful not to over-modernize. He designed traditional millwork that could’ve been original to the home, like a wood-paneled ceiling and wainscoting on the walls, which he adorned with custom flush mounts and sconces. “Paneling is generally a historical approach, but the way that we finished it and the way that the lighting was articulated on it felt contemporary, too,” he says.

2. Experiment with a datum line.

in the dining room, the wainscoting stops a few feet before the ceiling. oliver 18
Above: In the dining room, the wainscoting stops a few feet before the ceiling. Oliver purposely specified this break in the wood paneling, which is finished with plaster, to trick the eye. “Creating that datum line defines the room a bit more and helps it feel larger than it is,” he says.

3. Highlight a dysfunctional fireplace.

instead of trying to hide the two non functioning fireplaces, oliver transforme 19
Above: Instead of trying to hide the two non-functioning fireplaces, Oliver transformed them into eye-catching centerpieces by covering them floor to ceiling in milky zellige tiles and installing mantels.

4. Create intimacy with cafe curtains.

since the dining room is open and airy, oliver crafted pockets of intimacy usin 20
Above: Since the dining room is open and airy, Oliver crafted pockets of intimacy using cafe curtains. “You’re basically just surrounded by people the whole night, so we’re always thinking about the ratio of everyone being able to see everyone versus a little bit of privacy,” he says. “It’s about the lines of sight. What can you see? What’s obscured? Is there a mystery to it? We wanted to create a little bit of intrigue.” (For more on the allure on cafe curtains, see our Trend Alert.)

5. Commit—subtly—to a theme.

with a name like the pearl and a location like nantucket, the restaurant could  21
Above: With a name like The Pearl and a location like Nantucket, the restaurant could have turned into a nautical nightmare—but Oliver stayed subtle. While the custom white oak chairs and bar stools feature spherical details and circular upholstered backrests inspired by the pearl motif, it’s not obvious. “I wanted to tie it in without being too on the nose about it,” he says. “That was the thinking.”

6. Add arches wherever possible.

oliver opted for an intricate archway to connect the dining room with the bar f 22
Above: Oliver opted for an intricate archway to connect the dining room with the bar for four reasons: “We’re a big fan of arches and of curves in general,” he says. “Arches are harder to achieve, in terms of making them, and maybe, subconsciously, people feel that it took a little bit more time. And it just softens up traditional rectilinear construction. It’s a nice balance. Also, the bar is definitely a moment. That threshold was an important way to distinguish the two places. Had it just been a traditional casing, it wouldn’t have set that tone.”

7. Consider mirror art.

part of what gives the bar its own personality is the striking floral mirror ar 23
Above: Part of what gives the bar its own personality is the striking floral mirror art by Paul Clifford, which adds antique-style allure. It’s paired with a botanical mural by Lukas Geronimas Giniotis.

8. Go totally tonal.

upstairs, there are two private dining rooms and a lounge, which is a study in  24
Above: Upstairs, there are two private dining rooms and a lounge, which is a study in tone on tone palettes. Browns, beiges, and terracottas are layered upon one another for a homey atmosphere. “We wanted the palette to be warm and natural, be it the wood or the textiles or the caramel leather,” says Oliver.

9. Incorporate vintage furniture.

modern fixtures mix with antiques throughout. here, vintage \1950s ton pine din 25
Above: Modern fixtures mix with antiques throughout. Here, vintage 1950s Ton pine dining chairs add elegance and authenticity to the stately private dining room.

For more on the Cape and islands, see:

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Frequently asked questions

What is The Pearl Nantucket?

The Pearl Nantucket is a luxury hotel located in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Where is The Pearl Nantucket located?

The Pearl Nantucket is located in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Is The Pearl Nantucket a design-focused hotel?

Yes, The Pearl Nantucket is known for its design-focused approach.

What design ideas are showcased in The Pearl Nantucket?

The Pearl Nantucket showcases various design ideas such as contemporary coastal decor, nautical elements, and beach-inspired color palettes.

Are there images available to see the design ideas at The Pearl Nantucket?

Yes, you can find images of the design ideas at The Pearl Nantucket on their website or featured in the article.

Can I book a room at The Pearl Nantucket?

Yes, you can book a room at The Pearl Nantucket directly through their website or via phone.

Does The Pearl Nantucket offer amenities?

Yes, The Pearl Nantucket offers various amenities including a spa, fitness center, restaurant, and bar.

Are there nearby attractions to The Pearl Nantucket?

Yes, Nantucket offers a range of attractions including beaches, historic sites, museums, and shops.

What is the price range for rooms at The Pearl Nantucket?

The price range for rooms at The Pearl Nantucket varies depending on the season and room type. It is best to check their website or contact them directly for current pricing.

Is The Pearl Nantucket suitable for events or weddings?

Yes, The Pearl Nantucket offers event and wedding venues and can accommodate such occasions.

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