A quick chat with designer Kathleen Hay.
N MAGAZINE: What’s your favorite Nantucket Stroll tradition?
HAY: The NHA Festival of Trees. It is inspiring to see the iconic shape of the Christmas tree turned into endlessly creative interpretations. And the party is a wonderful gathering of the community.
N MAGAZINE: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
HAY: I graduated with a BA in Economics and my high school class predicted I would be the first woman president. Truth be told, I would much rather be in charge of decorating the White House.
N MAGAZINE: If you were asked to put together a time capsule so that people would understand Nantucket two hundred years from now, what five items would you put in it?
HAY: A copy of Building with Nantucket in Mind, Steamship and Hyline ferry schedules, a classic Onion lantern with a tungsten lightbulb, current issues of N Magazine and the Inquirer and Mirror, and menus from some of our many fine restaurants.
N MAGAZINE: When it comes to holiday decorations, what are your go-to items?
HAY: I prefer a metallic color scheme to the traditional red and green. I group multiple small trees of silver, gold, and white to create a glittering “table top” forest. It is magical! I also love to create a centerpiece of silvery twigs and feathers surrounded by birds and votive candles.
N MAGAZINE: When you’re designing a space, what is the first thing you consider?
HAY: The size and use of each room (including the ceiling heights) since these details drive the floor and lighting plans, as well as the furniture selections.
N MAGAZINE: What three things could you never live without?
HAY: My family (which includes my dog, of course), morning coffee, and natural light. Followed closely by the next three musts: red wine, good friends, and a comfortable bed with lots of pillows.
N MAGAZINE: What design element is distinctly Nantucket?
HAY: Cedar shingles and wood wall treatments, such as beadboard, ship lap, and V-groove.
N MAGAZINE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
HAY: A lawyer.
N MAGAZINE: If you could change one thing about Nantucket, what would it be?
HAY: The crowds in the summer and the lack of crowds in the winter. It is feast or famine.
N MAGAZINE: What design fads do you think should never return?
HAY: Avocado appliances and Formica countertops.
N MAGAZINE: What’s the easiest (and cheapest) way to update a space?
HAY: A fresh coat of paint along with new light fixtures or throw pillows in new patterns/colors can dramatically change a space.
N MAGAZINE: Looking to the New year, what’s your biggest goal?
HAY: The perfect balance of work and play. It is a constant battle.
N MAGAZINE: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received during the holidays?
HAY: My daughters are both artists… the most treasured gifts have been works by them.
N MAGAZINE: What gift did you want most as a little girl?
HAY: I remember longing for Barbie’s Dream House one year… guess that makes sense, huh?!