Elegance and Comfort on Union Street -June 2013
When the Union Street Inn opened for the season at the end of April, the downtown building had a NEW LOOK, both inside and out.
by: Lindsay Pykosz
photography by: Jeffrey Allen
In just a few short months, the cozy 12- room inn was refreshed and modernized with elegant interiors and a brand-new, outdoor garden and patio that blended perfectly with its history as a 1770s former whaling captain’s home.
The renovations were the work of New England interior designer Trudy Dujardin, owner of Dujardin Design Associates. The changes to the guestrooms, common areas and landscape were part of the fifth phase of upgrades that began at the inn more than 12 years ago.
“The beautiful thing about phase five is it’s so comprehensive,” Dujardin said. “We redid every room, every public area. It’s a nice facelift, but the bones were good. The house is so fabulous that we didn’t need to make it anything it wasn’t. It’s pretty spectacular just as it is.”
Working with owners Ken and Deborah Withrow, Dujardin was able to make their vision come to life by translating their tastes to her de- signs. The Withrows are no strangers to the hospitality world, as both have extensive backgrounds in hotel and retail management. While Ken was once the general manager of The Royalton in New York City for Ian Schrager, Deb was the display manager for Henri Bendel and Fiorucci in New York.
“Our guests have been around the world many times, so when they come to us at the end of their stay, we want it to be a really special place for them, meaning Nantucket,” Ken said. “Hopefully they say that the sole reason for being here is that they want to see the authentic Nantucket, the insider’s view, not the guidebook’s view of Nantucket. We walk the fine line of being crisp and tailored while still respecting the bones of a 1770s house.”
Dujardin agreed, saying the under- lying theme of the Union Street Inn is “Nantucket.” Walking through the inn, earth tones are utilized in almost every space. Room Three, a large king-bedded space, blends rich red fabrics with a cream-colored carpet and white linens against pine panel- ing. Room One, a large queen room, features “sea glass,” a light green color that looks like the color of the ocean.
The lobby, however, is an interest- ing contrast, as the wall-covering is a fabric that is a contemporary version of an 18th-century Chinoiserie, reflecting an Asian style, Dujardin said.
Whether the room’s color scheme is red, blue, white or green, Deborah said the changes come from Dujardin’s “classic portfolio,” with some- thing for everyone.
“The navy blue and white scheme was a hit with Ken and Deb,” Dujardin said. “We did that in four rooms. In the lobby, in the foyer and going up the stairs we had done, years ago in 2000, a wide pale yellow stripe. Deb loved it so much we found some- thing similar. We repeated that be- cause it was a home run. How can you get better than that? It’s so happy and cheerful coming in.”
Each guestroom now features designer furniture, wallpaper, lighting, artwork and accessories, luxurious bedding with Frette linens and Matouk duvets, bathroom amenities by Malin+Goetz and flat-screen televisions. In addition, the furniture was reupholstered, new window treatments were installed and there are new floor-coverings in each room.
“What we’ve tried to do is blend,” Ken said. “In this day and age, people want modern bathrooms and flat- screen TVs, so we’re trying to blend that while still respecting what is an iconic house on Nantucket. At times it’s difficult.”
A majority of the rooms’ four-poster beds – which have been around since the early renovation phases – remained, as did many antique dressers and bedside tables. This fits in perfectly with Dujardin’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) philosophy.
“The greenest thing you can do is use an antique because you’re not starting from scratch,” she said. “We used water-based, very low-toxic paints everywhere. A lot of fibers are just natural. You’re not finding a lot of nylons, acrylics, polyesters and wool.”
Even the furniture outside has a natural look to it, with Price Connors, Dujardin’s senior designer, describing it as “whimsical,” with “twig-type furniture in cast metal.”
The mastermind behind the completely re-done outdoor space was Marty McGowan, owner of The Sconset Gardener, who created an expanded patio and an intimate “ladies garden” where guests will be able to enjoy breakfast, tea or a glass of wine in an area surrounded by privet, dogwood, boxwood, hydrangea and beds of English ivy.
The inn’s signature amenity is its home- style breakfasts, with menu items chosen personally by Deb. French toast with challah bread, fresh berries and Vermont maple syrup or smoked salmon on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, tomatoes, fresh chives and dill are just samples of the menu that can be eaten inside or out.
While both Ken and Deborah acknowledged that the renovation process was stressful, they credited Dujardin’s “sensibility regarding what looks good in Nantucket” with an end result that reflects their taste and sensibilities.
“Rather than looking at it as a challenge, we look at it as a privilege to work with such an historic project,” Dujardin said.
Lindsay Pykosz is a Nantucket native and staff writer at The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket’s newspaper since 1821.