A Nantucket Holiday Soiree in a 1750’s Nantucket Whaling Captain’s home

~Nantucket Island~
Photography by Brian Sager

Christmas on the magical Island of Nantucket often feels like a page out of a Norman Rockwell book coming to life. When invited by Nantucket Magazine to style the dining room for their winter issue feature, “Festive Fashion", I was thrilled, albeit a bit concerned, about how I would pull it together in such a short period of time. I was in the Pacific Northwest in Vancouver, British Columbia about to make the journey to our tiny island in the Atlantic sea; a trip that is always "iffy" at best, given wind and sea conditions.  But then again, that is the allure, isn’t it?  I arrived on Nantucket full of energy and excitement at the thought of working in this iconic historic home with the amazing crew from N Magazine, in my favorite place in the world.

“There was something poetic about journeying from sea to sea.”

Built in 1750, this classic brick Colonial originally belonged to the whaling Captain Silas Jonas. I stared for a long while at its rooms, its gorgeous stair banister and its original wide plank pine floors, trying to imagine all that had taken place within these walls almost 300 years ago. I looked to its history for design inspiration and began by researching the history of hospitality during the whaling era. There it was….pineapples!  Sea Captains arriving home on island after years out to sea, would bring pineapples back and proudly display them both inside and outside of their homes to symbolize their return.  

“Pineapples have since become the symbol of hospitality and welcome around the globe.” 

Pineapples are always somewhere in my kitchen, so I set out to purchase a few of them figuring I would plant them here and there… Much to my surprise, I found amazing baby pineapples instead, which I decided to use at each of the 8 place settings.  What better way to pay homage to history than by setting a meaningful tablescape? The island shopkeepers, always so willing to let me borrow their beautiful goods for photo shoots, were more than generous.  My tablescape began with two rectangular mirrors set down the middle of the table to reflect the chandelier and table glitter.  I went with a simple white plate on a matte silver charger, clear crystal stemware and white flatware from 28 Centre Pointe, and holiday decorations from my home. Since there are always birds and boxwoods in my tablescapes, I used them here to add a touch of whimsy to offset the serious tenor of the home and the dining room. I used gold stars on the chandelier and on the table. The boxwoods were adorned with bells and silver circus glitter twists. The three-tiered  dessert stand displayed favors of individually wrapped boxes of chocolates to be given post dinner to each of the 8 guests. After everyone was seated, the pineapples were taken away and replaced with the brilliant color of a splendid butternut squash soup which really livened up the table!  It said, "Bon Appétit! And a very happy holiday to you and yours!"

“I always like to add a touch of whimsy to my tablescapes. After all, dining with friends and family should be about fun, happiness and a sea full of laughter!”


Special thank you to 28 Centre Pointe on Nantucket