A Blue & White Nantucket Summer

A Coastal Home lends itself with ease to decorating in nautical blue & white especially in a kitchen and family room flooded with sunshine!  

Blue & white decor carried outside to our garden furniture.

The décor of every room in our Nantucket home shares some version of this color scheme to provide a cohesive and restful palette for island living.  It’s a cool combo for summering on the island, and a neutral palette that beautifully receives changes of accent colors throughout the year; my favorite are autumnal corals and oranges at Thanksgiving and bright yellow at Daffodil time in spring.


Blue & white porcelain and cobalt extends to the family room.

Creativity begins with inspiration

My inspiration for this tablescape came from a Facebook friend whom I do not know personally.  She sent me these beautiful porcelain globes accompanied by a lovely note and a print of Nantucket. It was one of the kindest gestures I’ve ever experienced. She taught me the importance of paying-it-forward, which I have done many times since.

Step out of your life for a few minutes each day and be gentle to the world around you…

As I began to “gather my nuts”, I knew these precious globes would take center stage. I placed them in the center of each bowl. To keep them from rolling around, I hot glued (my favorite tool!) hydrangea leaves to the bottom.  When guests and family members were seated, they were easily removed as a single unit.


My personal treasure and inspiration for this tablescape.

For this summer’s no-muss, no-fuss family vacation, I decided to freshen things up with the use of a tablecloth to add a huge punch of fun to the epicenter of the house, the kitchen.

I usually use placemats for the ease of upkeep for everyday use.  But, I’ve gotten into using tablecloths recently, a FUN divergence.  And boy, does it change the scape of not only the table, but the whole room.  I love it!  I left most everything else white to keep the eye restful, except for the addition of new accent pillows for the five Family Room club chairs.  Best deal on the planet! These 100% cotton (look like velvet) Pottery Barn pillows were delivered in a week to the front door. They arrived with an exquisite quality custom monogram, A C K, in bright white, the aeronautical symbol for the Nantucket airport! The deep rich color of navy astounded me. The pillows were $39 each with a 20% discount code and an additional $8 for each monogram. They were far more than I had anticipated and looked a lot more expensive than they were. And did I say they are washable? Love a summer deal!

Swapping pillows from room-to-room is allowed!

The table was designed for a light summer make-ahead dinner served after a long day at the beach.  I love straw anything; chairs, ice bucket, casserole dishes, placemats and every other thing you can see here, including the family room coffee table which you can see below.

Straw accessories spell warm weather and carefree living, and are a fun change from the winter when everything turns to more formal silver.

The casserole dishes go from oven or refrigerator to table, and look great against the blue & white. The straw ice bucket has been a keeper for years. We use it for chilled wine or Prosecco, or simply for ice.  And last, but not least, my favorite purchase of all, the beautiful blue & white porcelain wine stopper from The Nantucket Hospital Thrift Shop I found for $5!  There are always birds, boxwoods or pineapples somewhere in my tablescape designs.  I used small boxwoods which I placed in blue & white porcelain containers I found years ago at Whole Foods. They were planted with Paper Whites at holiday time. I scooped them up knowing I would have them forever.

And of course, cobalt…

What’s a blue & white tablescape without something cobalt?  I love it for its richness of color and the magical way it receives sunshine. If you look closely, you will see that I alternated stemware styles to jazz it up a bit, and used my high vases in both the kitchen and family room to draw the eye from one end to the other.



A treasured gift from a friend, a serving piece I use for crushed red pepper or grated cheese and Pottery Barn pillows custom monogrammed.


Best summer find! Blue & white porcelain wine stopper from Nantucket Cottage Hospital Thrift Shop, $5


Meet Charlotte my Havanese

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 

A Glittery Nantucket Christmas Stroll

~Nantucket Island~

The Nantucket Christmas Stroll began in 1973, as a brilliant idea, to keep islanders from leaving the island to do their Christmas shopping.

Main Street

In 1973, there were fewer than 6,000 full-time residents. Today, the island is home to an estimated 23,000 full-time residents.

Over the past 43 years (26 of which we have attended!), “Stroll” has grown from a tiny three-hour event with holiday delectables and libations, to the Internationally renowned event it is today, drawing thousands from around the world. Sponsored by the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce, this magical weekend is three days long with “strollers” pouring off boats and planes from far and near, dressed in some pretty funny red and green get-ups, which may or may not include old raccoon fur coats and crazy hats, ready for amazing shopping, fabulous food, awesome raw bars, good friends, martinis “shaken not stirred”, and some pretty fine wine!

We have been Stroll patrons since 1990, but I have to say, this year, was the most amazing of all the years! The fabulously chic inns, the gorgeous restaurant additions, the incredible Nantucket Culinary Center and the tremendous increase in year round locals, has contributed greatly to this spectacular happening, which has become an International allure, for sure.

The town is dressed up in all of its holiday finery resembling a time in history akin to a Norman Rockwell (esque) village. Christmas trees line both sides of the entire Main Street lit up with dazzling colored lights, carolers roam in traditional 18th century costumes, Santa arrives by boat, the stores are all open, the sales are incredible, the restaurants buzz with reservation overflows, necessitating outdoor tents with heaters, and the before and after parties take over the island, which glitters like a jewel in the winter sea.

This year, we had a dinner party on Thursday evening, as a kick-off to the weekend for arriving guests. As darkness fell, friends and family members settled in to get ready for the ultimate winter island extravaganza! 

And of course “glitter” was the theme!

A glittery pine forest set the tone for a Christmas romance

A darkness fell, everyone settled in from their travels.

Our collection 19 years of silver bells gifted to us by dear friends, Lalique cherubs, a crystal Nantucket oyster  revealing the fruits of the sea, and my favorite crystal heart, a gift from another dear friend, frequently seen on my tablescapes.

Ralph Lauren “King Charles Paisley” with William Sonoma linens and silk 3” tartan ribbons.

A love "glittery" love affair

A night to remember…

After the parties were over...

Thanksgiving 2016

~Nantucket Island~

TELL A STORY with your tablescape!  It’s creative and fun, and will be an instant conversation piece with your guests! Once you have a theme, the excitement and layering begins!  Give yourself enough time to design it.  Rushing and time restraints promote stress and zap your creative juices. This tablescape took me three hours (with plenty of time to spare!) of adding, deleting and then finally...swooning.  I never think, "oh, I've got to SET the table".  I always think, "Oh, I've got to DESIGN my table".  It's so much more fun.

THE COLOR SCHEME this year was decidedly going to take on a more neutral approach, a deviation from my bold orange design of last year. I waited for the inspiration to come to me. Sure enough, it hit me at the Rooms with a View Decorator Show House in Southport, CT.  My design began with the purchase of two gorgeous ferns in beautiful, natural rolled, birch bark containers, and two large moss balls, I hand-carried on the boat to Nantucket! I supplemented with matching birch bark candle pillars holding tea lights, I found at Flowers on Chestnut, on island. This year, unlike last year, my table linens, in simple ivory, would serve only as a backdrop, not making any statement at all. The same would be true of the china I used, which was my ivory, gold-banded LENOX, from our wedding in 1979, which I love and covet with all my heart! I used tiny kraft name tags at each place setting in small round vases I’ve had for years that house both the flowers/greens and the name tag. I love the natural feel, the color and look of anything kraft.  

These feathered placemats sent me over the edge!

Did you know that until 1918 there had been no American made china in the White House? This upset President Woodrow Wilson, who finally commissioned Lenox to create the first US made china. 

A New York City newspaper reported,“The proud day has arrived when the White House dining service [was] designed by an American artist, made at an American pottery… and decorated by American workmen.”

Since that time, six presidents have commissioned Lenox for their own signature china. 


THE GRAPES in the centerpiece contributed majorly to my design, which was clearly taking an organic turn! To incorporate natural colors, I thought fruits! Yes! Different colors of grapes! I loved the idea of them cascading down a 3-tiered cake stand, but wondered how I would keep them perfectly in place (crashing down on the votives would not be good). I got out my favorite tool of all time, a glue gun, and anchored the heavy part of the stems to the cake stand tiers. I bought a couple of bags of loose moss, which I used to gently nudge (wedge) the grapes to remain where I wanted them! And then, of course added my birds!

Grapes, as a the centerpiece

BIRDS OF A FEATHER  are always part of my holiday designs in some way shape or form. So out came my collection of birds! And then, speaking of feathers, why not use fabulous feather placemats?!  Lion's Paw of Nantucket, I love you!  While we're at it,  let’s add feathers elsewhere, too…. I used 3 inch burlap ribbon for the napkins and inserted an 18 inch single feather into each one. I used the other feathers in a grouping near the moss balls on my sideboard. This really got me excited! This was when I added the gold deer antlers in the fern plants to pick up the trim of the china.  Burlap, fruit, moss, pinecones, ferns, deer antlers, birch bark, birds and feathers!  I think I’m getting somewhere with this, and I think it's a woodland theme!

PUMPKINS always add a lovely autumnal look and feel to Thanksgiving, especially since they are used so much in cooking and baking during the season! I was happy to find little white ones on island, keeping everything in neutral tones. And so it began…. Our Thanksgiving tablescape was on its way to paying homage to the forest and the fruits of the land! Your story becomes pivotal in the design, the colors you choose, and the style you see evolving. Have fun with it! Be whimsical and creative. It sets the tone for FUN before the FUN even begins!

Our Culinary Excursion!
Our Thanksgiving morning was a bit more relaxed this year, as there was no zooming out the door for the 8am 5K race, since our daughter had just run the New York City Marathon! But we were up bright and early and had a nice cozy, breakfast before the traditional ice cold Turkey Plunge!

Corn and Cranberry Pancakes (compliments of my husband, Jim, the pancake genie!)
• Fresh fruit of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
• Orange Juice
• Mimosas

Traditional Post-Plunge Bloody Mary Party
(my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law’s home)
• Classic Bloody Marys
• Shrimp Cocktail
• Cheese Platters

Thanksgiving Dinner
• Corn Chowder with Squash & Bacon served in “squash bowls” (pictured)
• Turkey
• Gravy (The gravy fairy visited me this year with a perfectly smooth and tasty gravy!)
• Mashed Potatoes
• Sweet Potatoes with marshmallows (the kids are never giving this up!)
• Brussel Sprouts with bacon and maple syrup
• Oyster Cornbread Stuffing with mushrooms
• Mixed Fruit Stuffing with grapes (of course!), apples and pears
• Carrot Pudding
• Cranberry Citrus Mold (A great presentation)
• Penny's Cranberry Sauce (See recipe on Cranberry Blog in Food & Cocktails)

Corn Chowder with Squash & Bacon served in “squash bowls”

Place card holder and floral vase all in one! 

My favorite of all the birds in my collection

Wait...I'm having a Cinderella deja vu...with this bird and moss green velvet ribbon...


Star Light, Star Bright

~Nantucket Island~
The first star I see tonight… is the starfish that will sit at each guest’s plate and set the theme for this tablescape in white!

The white Matelasse' table cloth provides a floating oasis for these works of art. 

Celebrating the sea and all the joy it brings in the form of sea life, is a bit of a ritual for me when entertaining on Nantucket.  Let’s face it; it’s hard not to be influenced by the wonderment and romance of Moby Dick's home, when you’re on an island 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide, 30 miles out to sea. 

My collection of starfish, corals and shells of all kinds, continues to grow with my love for the island and my respect for the sea. I scour the magnificent beaches and covet my finds.  I’m also wooed by the selection of fabulous starfish, shells and coral sold at places like the HUB, where you can find some pretty exotic species, while picking up the New York Times and a cup of java!

I often opt for greenery versus florals, to allow the place setting to be the main attraction.  It may also be because I usually have a very tall vase of flowers on my sideboard reflected in front of the tall mirror, and usually think that is enough for the room. I created variations on the same theme, using three different types of greenery, to show you options and how you can play around with a setting, tweaking it to your liking!  

I thought the boxwood was a bit heavy for the delicacy of this place setting and ultimately went with the light, airiness of the long blades of ornamental grass I cut from my garden.  I also loved the light fern with it, but since I already used the fern in my last blog, ornamental grass it was for this place setting!  And this is why I like to "gather my nuts" first and mull it over for a day or two!  There is no one way to do something. The right way is the way that is right for you! Experiment! Be creative! And most importantly, have fun!  NOTE: Leave yourself plenty of time so there is no stress! You will find that your creative juices will flow much more feely!

Tess Anderson, of Anderson’s of Nantucket, one of my favorite home decor boutiques, and a regular stop for me for over 27 years, was so generous in allowing me borrow some of their beautiful dishes and accessories for this photo shoot.  The first thing that caught my eye was the placemat! I always start with one thing and then build around it.  For me, it was the glamour of this placemat in neutral tones (my favorite) studded with beads and tiny shells.  It’s hard not to start with Kim Seybert accessories when they are staring at you!  They just jump off the display, wherever they are, and into your lap! I then chose this beautiful white napkin with a coral embroidered in gold threads, which I was super excited to find, as it stood up beautifully to the drama and weight of the placemat. The lucite napkin ring with a gorgeous shiny shell attached to it, pulled it all together, keeping all the colors in the same tones.  And then I was on to the dishes…

I am especially attracted to the influence the sea has had on designers, whose coastal vibes & creations radiate through homes and over tabletops! One of my favorites is Kim Seybert, whose designs are inspired by elements from the sea. Her elegant execution makes it possible for us to enjoy the riches and opulence of her creations on our very own tabletops.... 

The blades of ornamental grass remind me of the miles of swaying grass over the dunes.

Oh my, the dishes! I wanted a clean and simple dish, since the accessories were so fancy!  I chose this gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous,  Jasper Conran by Wedgewood  dinnerware in a pattern called Baroque.  It is a stunningly modern rendition of the arches from the Baroque period, clean and crisp.  I used this creamy flatware from the Lion’s Paw to enhance the tones and let “neutral” continuing doing its wonderful thing. 

Check out the details in the placemat and napkin!  And how about these dishes?! 


On a naked table.  You can see how it  sets a completely different tone. 

Part of my collection of etched glass which Anderson's is so well known for.


A large bowl etched with the shape of Nantucket island, a gift from our children, from Anderson's of Nantucket

I wanted to show you an example using the delicate ferns I just love, from Flowers on Chestnut. My preference for this place setting is the ornamental grass.


Visit my blog about Anderson’s of Nantucket at www.lyonslifestyle.com/florida-nantucket/ to learn more about this popular home décor boutique on Main Street! Better yet, visit their website at www.andersonsnantucket.com (508.228.41.87) You won’t believe their Christmas selection of ornaments and gifts.

Anderson’s of Nantucket
29 Main Street
Nantucket, MA 02554


  • Dishes: Anderson’s of Nantucket
  • Placemat: Anderson’s of Nantucket
  • Napkin Ring: Anderson’s of Nantucket
  • Flatware: The Lion’s Paw
  • Glass Etched Bowl: Personal Collection
  • Glass Etched Glass: Personal Collection
  • Coral: The Hub
  • Starfish: The Hub
  • Crystal Stemware: Saint-Louis “Tommy” Personal Collection
  • Vase: Anthalusa infuser bottle
  • Fern: Flowers on Chestnut
  • Ornamental Grass: My garden
  • Boxwood: Private Collection