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A Summer Home on Martha’s Vineyard

We’d all like to believe that any renovation or redesign we do on our homes will be done with all the custom details and ample time we need to create our dream space. The reality is, sometimes our time and resources aren’t what we’d like them to be, but that doesn’t mean our interiors have to suffer as a result. With just six months, supply chain issues and few opportunities to visit the site in person, Katharine Rhudy, owner and founder of Reed & Acanthus Interior Design in New Orleans, LA, transformed a dark and dated colonial into a bright and sophisticated summer home. 

Her clients, who live most of the year in New Canaan, CT, already had a house on Martha’s Vineyard when a house they had been eyeing for a few years came on the market. They bought it sight unseen with just a few photos of the interiors to go by. They had loved the property and said if it ever came on the market, they would buy it. But the family had just six months before they would be summering on the island and would need a place to call home. Custom design was not an option because of the tight time frame and the supply chain issues impacting many of her go-to sources. But Reed got right to work making some carefully selected retail purchases that would ship quickly to create her clients’ home away from home. 

Lightening the Mood

The house was already on a beautiful piece of property and infused with lots of architectural details that had a classic coastal feel. It was also less than 10 years old and had beautiful wood floors throughout when they bought it, so Reed didn’t have to gut anything to get started. But with lots of wood paneling, it felt dark and dull, she said. Her first step was to paint the entire interior a bright white to make it feel more modern and coastal. “That lightened it up immensely,” she adds. 

In the front entrance, a modern console table found on 1stDibs, and gold accessories, create a more contemporary vibe for the traditionally paneled hallway, and set the tone as guests enter the home. 

Beachy but Elevated

The couple had three children and spend a lot of time with extended family while vacationing on the island, so they wanted a look that was coastal and casual but not kitschy with excessive nautical references. “The client is very preppy and wanted it to be beach inspired but not too obvious,” says Reed. She got her inspiration from a sophisticated paisley print from Schumacher that she and her client loved; those became the drapes for the open concept family room. The drapes went beautifully with a pair of lamps the clients already owned in a summery coral color. 

Because of the time crunch and some supply chain issues, most of the furniture had to be quick ship selections from retailers like Serena & Lily and Stark Carpets. Because the room was oversized, a sectional seemed the right choice for the space. Everywhere she could, she placed pull-up chairs for added seating. “They aren’t super formal people. It had to be casual and easy to care for, and accommodate lots of people,” says Reed. “It’s a multifunctional family friendly space for lots of dining and entertaining.”

Defining the Space

To give the immense room some organization and form, she divided the space in half to create a small sitting area with a TV off the kitchen for young children to sit close by while the grown-ups prep meals. Since the kitchen wasn’t that out of date, a fresh coat of white paint, Dunes and Duchess lanterns over the island and some Serena & Lily bistro chairs did the trick there to give a timeless coastal look.  

Punch it with Pillows

In the family room and the bedrooms, Reed’s team handmade throw pillows in custom fabrics to elevate the retail purchases they made. In the daughter’s room, Reed designed headboards in pink, white and green and handmade the pillows, all with fabrics from Lily Pulitzer; in the son’s room, green, white and blue gave him the look he liked from his former bedroom; and in the bunk bed room, blue and white Pottery Barn bedding and a pop of orange give an easy summery feel that is both fun and sophisticated.

Building Trust

Reed says she couldn’t have designed the home so quickly if it weren’t for her strong relationship with the clients. “The most important thing is that they trust me,” says Reed, who has many repeat clients and has worked with this family on a number of projects. Although custom design wasn’t an option for most of this project, carefully selected fabrics, colors and details gave the final look luxurious and custom feel. “I love the fabrics,” says Reed, “It’s a timeless design: colorful, happy, not too formal or too trendy. It really resonated with them.” 

Get the Look

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite pieces pulled from and inspired by this beachside escape designed by Reed & Acanthus designer Katharine Rhudy.

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