Comfortably Elegant -Fall 2014

by: Leslie Linsley

Trudy Dujardin has been decorating Nantucket homes for several decades and knows a thing or two about Nantucket style. Known for her classic rooms, she aims to make Nantucket’s natural beauty very much a part of the interiors of the houses she decorates.

Her approach is refreshingly down to earth and, in fact, has an absolute concern for the Earth itself. Dujardin is totally and wholeheartedly devoted to creating the eco-elegant interior.

“It was a labor of love,” she says proudly about her latest project, her new book “Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior” (Pointed Leaf Press), in which she welcomes readers to a fresh 21st century attitude about interior design. The book is proof that Dujardin puts into practice what she preaches, emphasizing beautiful rooms with healthy furnishings and building materials that are eco-friendly.

A LEED-accredited professional, with a specialty in interior design and construction, Trudy Dujardin, ASID has compiled a handsome collection of work in Nantucket homes as well as Connecticut, where she has a firm in Westport; and homes she has designed throughout the country. Her approach to interior design is one of thoughtful regard to the environment and the world outside our doors. Her signature passion and commitment that made her a pioneer in the sustainable-design movement come through on every page. The striking color photography throughout the book illustrates how she has created gracious, classically-elegant interiors from chic urban apartments to luxurious coastal vacation homes, meticulously-restored sea captain’s houses and modern homes designed by some of the country’s best-known architects.

Aside from the beautiful photographs and thoughtfully-written text, Dujardin offers solid information on how to choose non-toxic paints and finishes, how to find out which room is really the most important in a house, and you’ll discover that traditional upholstered furniture may not be the best seat in the house. Her aim is to inspire homeowners with taste and conscience to create a comfortable, “greener” home. Dujardin believes that an eco-friendly home is, in the long run, more comfortable, enduring and enriching.

Dujardin started her career as an artist and a teacher.

“I didn’t like the solitude of an artist’s life and wanted a broader engagement that comes from working directly with clients on larger, more complex projects,” she says.

She became intrigued with the idea that design should be about much more than aesthetics and has concentrated her awareness and concern on creating healthy and productive places to live, work and play. Using her own house on Nantucket as an experiment, she carefully chose materials that were natural, organic and free of harmful materials. At the time, this seemed like a radical idea, but her influence began to grow and soon she was gaining the admiration of clients and the contractors with whom she worked. Nantucket proved to be a perfect canvas where she could take advantage of the natural beauty and light of the island.

The book is divided into chapters that begin with Dujardin’s early work and progresses to “The Many Shades of Green,” followed by “My Signature Design Touches” and then to the four R’s: “Realize, Relax, Respect and Restore.” The book also contains a very extensive directory of green products and materials as well as design resources and recommended reading.

While the book does a fine job in showcasing the breadth of work her design firm has created, and to promote her mission for creating greener homes, it also takes the reader on a journey from one designer’s early beginnings to show us the influences that impacted where she is today. It’s an interesting read. Throughout her life, whether she was creating store-window displays, managing a small design studio in Connecticut or attending classes at the Parsons School of Design, Dujardin was on a course, not always evident even to her.

Now, after designing hundreds of houses, her expertise shines through. On every page we see, illustrated, just what she’s talking about. Not only is the book a visual treat, exposing us to ideas that can easily be incorporated into our own homes, but we are given good, solid information. For example, on one doublepage spread the author points out that the carpeting is 100 percent organic wool and tells us that neutral tones are best, as dyes are made with potentially-harmful chemicals. In this particular room the wood floors are finished with water-based Basic Coatings StreetShoe, and the fireplace surround made of limestone was sealed with a low-toxic sealant. Not only do we get good, practical advice that’s easily adopted, but such esoteric information as optimal indoor humidity range. Dujardin makes us aware of the availability of environmentally-friendly paint and other useful tips without compromising on style.

If you are familiar with Dujardin’s work from her many articles in Nantucket Today magazine, you won’t be disappointed. Those lovely shades of blues and seafoam greens she’s known for are very much in evidence. Her fans will be pleasantly rewarded to find her most successful projects presented all together in this impressive collection. For any families with allergies, “Comfort Zone” is a wealth of information to study before redecorating or renovating a home.

Available at bookstores and through ///

Leslie Linsley writes the “Life & Style” blog and column for The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket’s newspaper since 1821.

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