Nantucket House Tour – Hippie House Chic

On the southeastern shore of Nantucket, where conservation protects over 2,000 acres of natural landscape, sits a house nestled in the dunes with expansive views of sea and sky. When the owners approached designer Jeffrey Bilhuber, their directive was for what they called a hippie house, with that nostalgic spirit of summers past.

Hippie House Chic on NantucketAnd while the resulting residence is hardly a hippie shack, it is redolent with soulful images of sandy feet, biking, board games and the timeless accoutrements of summer life at the beach.

Nantucket entry, hippie shack chic

On the existing footprint of a grandfathered house set into the dunes, Bilhuber and his clients worked with local architects Botticelli and Pohl to build their image of what a shack buried in the sand should be. Here family heirlooms, like the needlepoint bell pull in the entry, above, mix with fine antiques and more eccentric finds for a confident yet personal and idiosyncratic take on tradition.

Nantucket Hippie Shack, design by Jeffrey Bilhuber,In the open main living space, wooden planked walls, painted the color of driftwood and oyster shells by local artist Audrey Sterk, echo the outdoor shingles and boarded walk to the ocean.

Nantucket house tour living space

A hodgepodge of furniture from various eras and styles conjures up memories of what the island once was – lazy, sultry and innately stylish, as if generations of family have summered here and left their mark. The wife’s mother needlepointed the array of pillows scattered throughout the house.

needlepoint cushions in Nantucket house tour

The room opens to a dining area where an upholstered banquette and rattan seating can comfortably hold a crowd.

Nantucket house tour dining area

The map has a certain naiveté that as, Bilhuber describes it, “references the allure of found objects – is it rare or was it found at the church thrift shop?”

chair upholstery by Jeffrey Bilhuber in Nantucket beach houseAnd the chairs reveal the level of sophistication that supports such seemingly casual chic.

Nantucket House Tour family roomThe showstopper of the house is perhaps the family room, a converted winter garage that serves both as hangout and “catchall for summer pursuits.”

Nantucket family room barn doorsHere a cozy niche, strewn with more needlepoint pillows, shares the space with a surfboard and bike in front of barn doors that open onto the grass and path to the beach.

Nantucket family room by Jeffrey Bilhuber

From the painted brick floor to the sleeping loft, the space is a masterful layering of daring personality and style

converted garage in Jeffrey Bilhuber Nantucket project

replete with subtle yet deft details.

chair detail in Jeffrey Bilhuber Nantucket project

Head upstairs and and the unexpected choice of an intricate Jaingsu Chinese lantern lights the way

Jaingsu Chinese lantern in a Nantucket house

to the generous landing where

Nantucket house landing

the beaded entrance to the wife’s office is the only clear reference to their hippie house reverie. Capturing the vast ocean views is an upstairs sitting room with the same airy insouciance.

Nantucket upstairs sitting room

Here a cheeky mix of fabrics and furniture offer a welcoming and accommodating space for family living.

Nantucket family room

An Indian inspired sofa against pale blue paneled walls with more needlepoint pillows

Nantucket family room details

and accessories, offer a personal sense of both space and place.

Nantucket Family room accessoriesWith his signature fearless color combinations and inimitable mixing of disparate elements, Jeffrey created a narrative of the lives lived here and their meaning of home – a place that not only reflects its owners but can evolve with and become a part of them, their family and their future history.

Nantucket sitting room details

Details in Nantucket sitting room by Jeffrey Bilhuber

As Jeffrey explained, “It’s a snap to do a grand house on island – it’s a breeze to do a boastful residence – but it takes effort and talent to make a house as relaxed, inviting and as atmospheric as this.”

Nantucket beach houseall photos by Stacey Bewkes for Quintessence

Part of Jeffrey’s team working on the house was Kevin Isbell, then Design Director, who years later worked on this family’s tiny guest cottage, featured in House Beautiful earlier this year. You can see both the legacy of his tenure with Jeffrey (talent begets talent) and the family’s continuing island connection – both something to be proud of.


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14 Responses to Nantucket House Tour – Hippie House Chic

  1. Dolores Pap says:

    I very much enjoyed your post on this quintessentially happy, confident and timeless summer ‘cottage’- a home meant for making memories, and recharging of batteries.
    I loved this house since I first saw it in Mr Bilhuber’s book The Way Home: Reflections on American Beauty, and I’m so happy to be able to see so many more photos of it. It’s just a wonderful home, by an amazing designer!

  2. Paula Moreshead says:

    What a refreshing change from all of the usual “coastal” decorating! I love the warmth and personality that comes through in this home!

  3. A delightful happy house!

  4. Tom Samet says:

    This is as good as it gets!

  5. Katherine Stephens says:

    The Nantucket I knew….deliberately tacky…it’s an art form!

  6. Jentrified says:

    Pure joy. God, I love him.

  7. Linda Ort says:

    Mr. Bilhuber, as always, brings fun and beauty together. He’s definitely an inspiration for my Charleston County, S.C. Home. Thank you Mr. B.

  8. Walker says:

    What a view and what a space! And Jeffrey hit it right on the head (as he always does) when he talked about the effort that goes into grand and imposing spaces compared to something eclectic and livable like this beauty. Every last inch was pretty entrancing, but I have to say those needlepoint pillows are the true stars! Kudos to mom!

  9. sara says:

    Charm, character & style! Jeffrey’s work is fantastic. Thank you for sharing, your blog is always inspiring.

  10. Deborah Peterson Milne says:

    Love every choice, detail, color & pattern. It’s a fun, soothing, lovely home that anyone would be happy (& privileged) to enter. A true thrill to see. Thank you as always!

  11. Helen Carmody Stroud says:

    Oh, I love every little, tiny thing! Charming and so refreshing!

  12. Susan bowers says:

    Good Lord… those delightful,extraordinary pillows.
    And right up there as well.. the sensuous,sexy feel of faded fabric keeping you all tucked in and sheltered.
    Thanks,Stacey. Hi Susanna 💋

  13. Kris Pierce says:

    As seen on the pillow on the “family room” couch…”I LOVE THIS PLACE”!!!
    Thank you…terrific post.❤️😎

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