Featured Articles


June 2016




It was easy for Connecticut-based Jane and Soren Sorensen to fall for the historic island of Nantucket, a crescent-shape slip of land some 30 miles off Cape Cod. The couple strolled the island’s cobblestone streets during their courtship, summered on its sandy beaches as newlyweds, and even owned a small place there after their daughters were born.

“Everything melts away when you hop aboard that mainland ferry and get off on Nantucket,” Jane says. “It’s a charming, magical place that exists outside our crazy daily lives. Whenever we’re there, we’re always doing something low-key as a family, whether it’s biking, scalloping, or simply picnicking at the beach.” 

The Sorensens bought 1.4 acres on the island back in 2012 after deciding to build a compound there—a retreat large enough to accommodate their family (the girls are 12, 15, and 17) as well as host extended family and close friends.

“We found we were spending more and more time on the island—and not just in the summer,” Jane says.

The fairy tale that culminated in the five-bedroom beachhouse with pristine landscaping also had a storybook beginning, with one chapter leading to another. The Sorensens’ real-estate agent referred them to Matthew MacEachern and his architectural design firm. Through MacEachern, they met local builder Edward Toole, whose sister Cynthia Hayes is an interior designer.

“It was kismet,” Jane says. “The team was so interconnected, with these layered relationships. They’d all worked together before, had strong ties to Nantucket, and really understood the island. It just felt right.”

Jane and Soren Sorensen built the Shingle-style Nantucket beach house to accommodate year-round family gatherings. 



March/April 2016




In both architecture and interior design, a Nantucket home casts a new light on classic island style.

It’s been said that too many cooks spoil the broth. But you’ll never hear that sentiment expressed when it comes to building a new house. Decisions pile up—and up and up. And all those details! It can seem, well, overwhelming. The more talent brought to bear, the better. A well-oiled collaboration of experts, similar to the one that unfolded here, is worth a pirate’s treasure.

Logistics can make creating an island home a bit of a challenge, but it’s all worth it. Islands are magical, and Nantucket is among the most enchanting of them all. Once the whaling capital of the world, it’s now a dream destination for world travelers. Cobblestone streets, roses scrambling everywhere, and water as far as the eye can see—there’s hardly a sweeter spot on Earth. When it comes to forging a Nantucket nest of your own, who better to call upon than the people who know it well?

Interior designer Cynthia Hayes, head of an eponymous Rumford, Rhode Island, firm, has an intuitive grasp of the place. In addition to completing myriad island projects, she summered on Nantucket as a child and has family there. Still, this project was different: not only was her island-based brother Edward S. Toole of Altest Ventures the builder, her clients had a specific vision unique to the location. Rather than a traditional nautical theme, they were anticipating a slightly more sophisticated interior. And in lieu of blue and white, the go-to color marriage in these parts, the wife requested a generous dose of purple. With three active children in residence, anything fussy was verboten. A fine balance of chicness—reflective of the owner’s stylish aesthetic—and comfort to foster carefree summer living was clearly the answer.

Hayes, along with her colleague Pamela Manchester, an interior designer based in Westport, Massachusetts, arrived on the scene when the couple’s four-bedroom house, designed by Matthew R. MacEachern, principal of Nantucket design firm Emeritus, was still under construction. Having known each other for years, the two professionals often team up for large projects. In this case, they’re probably among the few people who remember the awkward cottage that previously claimed the site. Rather than raze the building, MacEachern skillfully reinterpreted it to serve as charming guest quarters. In tandem with a new pool house, the now-handsome cottage stands guard by an inviting swimming pool.

“This outdoor living space is a critical part of the program,” MacEachern explains. “To maximize the southern exposure, we laid out a linear format. The kitchen and dining and living spaces all have a direct relationship to the pool area. There’s a strong fluidity between the interior and exterior.” Indeed, every corner of the house is awash with light, and windows embrace pool views or billowing hydrangeas morphing slowly with the season from azure to purply russet.




January 16, 2014


Teeming with energy, Manhattan brags about being the city that never sleeps. But sometimes, a good sleep is what you want more than anything. The relaxed pace and sea breezes of Westport, Massachusetts are the perfect antidote to the Big Apple’s relentless pulse for this fortunate family, now that their new home overlooking the Westport River is complete.


The family of four, including a young son and daughter, embrace everything Westport has to offer. They love to clam and quahog, then cook up a coastal feast in their gourmet kitchen. In the evening or on rainy days, the game room is the perfect spot to work on the intricate puzzles they transform into works of art.


A ‘dream’ collaboration

The couple purchased the property at the framing stage. Originally designed by architect Chip Gillespie, Karen Baldwin came on board and completed the project. “Both are amazingly talented to work with,” said Pam Manchester, interior designer and owner of Manchester Interiors, who created the interior spaces throughout the home. “It was a dream job.”


November/December 2014




INTERIOR DESIGNER Pam Manchester of Westport, Massachusetts, is excited that clients are becoming far more open to the beauty art adds to a space, despite the fact that it takes time and patience to agreen on what is, in fact, beautiful. "I used to get frustrated when the room was 'done'- and yet there was no art on the walls. It can be the hardest item to find for a client, but it's essential to making a space truly amazing," she says. "That's why people need help. I'm increasingly taking them on tours of local studios and galleries, trying to find them something that's meaningful to them. A client and I recently found a street scene of Main Road here in Westport by Dora Atwater Millikin. From the minute you enter the front door, you see the painting hanging in the kitchen. Its perspective draws you in to a beautiful world, while extending the house considerably."



© 2016 Designed by Kate Mullin

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