Students Participate in Nantucket by Design

A group of NYSID students designed two rooms in the Jethro Coffin House, the oldest house on Nantucket, for Nantucket by Design, a festival of design organized by the Nantucket Historical Association that took place August 2-7, 2016. See photos here.

BFA students Faith Hoops and Emily Kent, and MFA-1 students Tom Elka and Larissa Moutrier worked under the direction of NYSID dean Ellen Fisher to come up with design concepts that would be fit for modern living while still preserving the historic charm of the Jethro Coffin House, which was built in 1686. Work on the project began in June, when the students traveled to Nantucket to survey the house and explore Nantucket’s design resources for materials and furnishings. Then, it was all hands on deck in early August for installation of the finished designs.

Faith and Emily collaborated on designing a modern day "honeymoon" bedroom for the house’s original owners, Jethro Coffin and Mary Gardner. “Collaboration in designing is something that I've never really experienced,” said Emily. “Throughout the project, Faith and I brought different skills to the same vision: re-creating the beautiful love story of Jethro and Mary.” To carry out this vision, the team used a soft color palette that helped convey an airy yet intimate space, and added details like love letters and a bottle of wine and two glasses on an antique breakfast tray to bring a 300 year old love story to life.

Larissa and Tom designed the living room around the concept of the “vagabond soul," a feeling of cultural exploration and the passing of time inspired by the historic context of the house. The pair also found inspiration in the unique antique and vintage furnishings they found on the island. “We generally fell in love with all the exquisite treasures that we found in Nantucket’s shops,” Larissa said. “The furniture that was carefully selected for this room not only reflects the excellent craftsmanship and tradition of the islands first settlers, but also tells a poetic story about their lives; traveling long distances in search of a place they could call home.”

Overall the project proved to be a unique lesson in both preserving and reimagining history through design. “Working in a house built in the 17th century taught us how to be creative within historic limitations such as how to design around narrow doorways and bring color, dimension, and light into a low ceiling room with only two small windows.” Said Tom. “Nantucket is home to a rich history and a lifetime of character, stories, and one of a kind architecture,” said Faith. “The reimagining of the Jethro Coffin House was not to hide the history, but instead enhance it. We wanted to help the Nantucket Historical Association show people the possibilities of living in a historic home without sacrificing modern living.”

Special thanks to the generous supporters that made this class and project possible:
Jill Hoffer Dienst, Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter
Alexa Hampton
Ike Kligerman Barkley
David Scott Interiors 
Michael I. and Patricia M. Sovern
Maria and Bill Spears

Phyllis Greer