Located in the center of Nantucket Town, the fanciful blue and red Victorian façade of 21 Broad St. stands out amid the area’s stately white Federals. Capped with a mansard roof and embellished with ornamental white trim, it was built in 1872. Known as the Nesbitt Inn for eons, it lingered as one of the island’s last guesthouses with shared bathrooms until 2013 when Bruce and Elisabeth Percelay purchased the property.
The Percelays, working with boutique hotel management group Lark Hotels, undertook a total overhaul of the building. They also put on an addition to create a new hotel aptly coined 21 Broad, with 27 guest rooms — all with their own bathrooms.
Lark, which runs properties in Newport, Kennebunkport, and Portland, Maine, has a knack for developing hotel atmospheres that embrace the locale in playful, unexpected ways. Boston interior designer Rachel Reider, who has worked on several Lark hotels, set the aesthetic for 21 Broad.
While the exterior was restored to its Victorian-era grandeur, the interior needed to have a fresh vibe, says Reider. “We considered all the hotels on Nantucket and thought about what niche we could fill.
“While beachy and cottagey had been done really well, there wasn’t a hotel with a modern feel,” says Reider.
A white-on-white palette accented with moderate bursts of orange, yellow, and blue was selected — a scheme that was an exciting challenge for Reider, who is known for her daring use of color.
“We worked to do something modern and hip that still captures the environment,” says Reider who felt that a way to bring in the landscape was with artwork. She tapped South Boston artist Trevor Watson to create resin abstract paintings for the guest rooms and common areas.
‘I typically get a lot of pop and bang through colors and patterns. Here, with the white-on-white scheme, I achieved a similar effect through materials and furnishings.’
“Trevor pours color on top of resin and it spreads in interesting ways that evoke water,” says Reider. “You go to hotels and see mass-produced artwork. We strive to do something different, but it’s often hard . . . for budgetary reasons.” She was thrilled to find that Watson’s one-of-a-kind pieces were priced affordably.
Sheer window treatments, sea-grass rugs, and weathered oak recall Nantucket’s natural setting paired with sleeker materials like metal, lacquer, and glass. Abundant light filters through the Victorian’s original long windows, which were replicated in the addition, along with the graceful moldings that are true to the structure. “It was important to honor the architectural integrity of the house,” says Reider.
“I typically get a lot of pop and bang through colors and patterns,” says Reider. “Here, with the white-on-white scheme, I achieved a similar effect through materials and furnishings.”
In one guest room, a four-poster bed made of weathered oak feels pared down and modern. Reider had the wall behind the bed sheathed with vinylized grasscloth to make it edgier. In another room, where there’s an original fireplace with an elaborate carved mantle and surround, the bed has an organic woven leather headboard.
The dining room, where breakfast is served, also doubles as a lounge.
“We wanted to make it a place where people are excited to hang out during the day, and even at night with a bottle of wine,” says Reider. Yellow pedestal tables are paired with natural woven chairs by Phillip Scott. An ethanol burning fireplace designed by Reider serves as a focal point in the center of the room.
Metallic Osborne & Little wallpaper was used in both the dining room and adjacent sitting room to link the two spaces. A striking spherical Oly chandelier is among several glass fixtures in the hotel that promote a sense of openness.
“We used clean, tailored furniture in the sitting room,” says Reider, who points out that the white on white palette was a bit of a struggle from a durability perspective. Low-maintenance Sunbrella fabrics and slipcovers were selected in some instances, and on the white sofa, seat cushions are made out of a dark gray fabric better suited to handle stains, which looks unexpected and chic. “It’s my version of white on white,” says Reider. “We took what might be an impractical concept for a hotel and made it work.”Jaci Conry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.