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Kristy Kay’s Tips to Decorate the Exterior of Your Nantucket Home


Homeowner Resources

Fisher Real Estate
Kristy Kay Home Design

When purchasing a new Nantucket house or setting one up for vacation rentals, there are insider tips to make the most of your time outdoors. So, we asked Kristy Kay Home Design for her advice as a local interior designer on Nantucket. While 2020 did not provide us with the opportunity to host many guests, we are hoping there is more opportunity for outdoor entertaining in 2021 and beyond. So without further ado, here are Kristy’s top ways to set up your Nantucket home for a summer spent outside socializing, or enjoying it all by yourself!

What you need (and need to know) to set up your Nantucket Home – OUTSIDE Edition

Patio and Lounge Furniture 

Let’s face it, the goal of July and August on Nantucket is to enjoy every possible second outdoors. Outdoor living and exterior decor deserve as much attention as interior décor and furniture design. I love mixing seating plans so there’s a little of everything to offer. I try to include at least 2 chaise lounges for reading, sunning, or napping. Additional lounge seating for conversation and cocktails, should include loveseats or club chairs with end tables or ottomans. Then comes the dining table. I try to seat at least as many “heads to beds” as are on the interior. If the home sleeps 8, I try to seat 10-12 to accommodate guests.

The materials selected are important too. Do you have a shed or other storage option for cushions? Or is mesh seating a better option because it’s low maintenance? For the tables, teak is the best material to use on Nantucket. We love sourcing local furniture at Arrowhead Nursery & Showroom. Teak holds up to the wind and elements and can be left outside year-round. I try to intertwine these materials so there’s a little of everything with ease being the goal. Include a mix of chaise lounges, dining chairs with mesh seating and teak frames, teak dining and end tables, and comfy lounge seating with removable (and washable) cushions. This keeps effort low and comfort and ease factors high.

Accessorize with outdoor pillows, lightweight throw blankets for those chilly nights, and a heavy-weighted umbrella and stand. This will help finish off your outdoor living space!


Setting the Perfect Soiree, Be It for 2 or 12 People

I like items that have multiple purposes. Throughout a home I love using the same candle holders or lanterns but in multiple sizes and placing them on bedside tables, living room mantel, kitchen island, all over. A quick walk through the house and I instantly have a hefty supply of ambiance to bring the inside out. No extra storage or lighting required! 

Though I like having an extra set of dinnerware in outdoor-friendly melamine, I keep it basic with one plate and one bowl. I use my everyday serveware from the kitchen. My rule for drinkware is to only have one glass style, but I order 24-36 of them. This allows for a consistent design whether the drink is a fun cocktail, iced tea, or beverage for the younger guest. For table linens, there’s something special and “summery” about linen.  Iron it or don’t, it’s soft and airy. I even preroll the flatware so it’s easy for guests.

The Perfect Summer Menu


A favorite summer menu of mine for 2 or 12 starts off with Mark Bittman’s prosciutto and parmesan bites. It’s no-cook, quick assembly, and can handle the summer temps of Nantucket. Next, I follow with roasted shrimp and orzo with lemon vinaigrette by Ina Garten. This is a one-dish meal that hits all the right summer flavors. This also tastes better and better as it sits. You can serve in a beautiful bowl or portion out into mason jars and bring to the beach for a picnic! Lastly for dessert, it has to be s’mores, but make it easy. Individual setups in clear favor bags make for easy fireside distribution or double as a send-off gift.

Outdoor Lighting


A mix of proper lighting is both stylish and functional. String lights whether it’s across the pergola or wrapped around the base of nearby trees adds a bit of whimsy. Solar-powered walkway lights are helpful for guests who depart in the later hours. And don’t forget candles! Bring those hurricanes outside and place on each and every surface to add the perfect softness. Kristy Kay tip: use taller hurricanes to help with the Grey Lady wind and bring some sand home from the beach to help anchor them.


Fire Pits & Safety


Nantucket is WINDY, so wood-burning fire pits can be a bit dicey, especially in neighborhoods like Town with tall privet and homes that are closer together. Though I prefer the design of a well-constructed, built-in stone fire pit with a user-friendly gas line, sometimes we want a quick and easy option.  A moveable fire pit with a hidden propane tank does the trick. These give off great heat, provide a lovely ambiance to any size patio, and are still s’mores-worthy. Tight on space? Try one of the tabletop fire pits that utilize your dining table’s umbrella hole to hide the space-saving ethanol canister.


Outdoor Maintenance


March is a great time to starting thinking Summer and it’s not too early to start prepping your patio. A great task, (do this twice a year) is to spray the screws in your patio furniture with WD40 which will help prevent rust and extend the life of your furniture. Next, make sure you’re on your plumber’s spring calendar to turn on those outdoor showers and other exterior plumbing needs, these guys are busy all year, but especially in the spring. Another tip, ask your painter or caretaker about power washing your exterior paying close attention to the walkways and stairs to keep the moss and mildew at bay. Lastly, while you’re planning out those planters with your landscaper, don’t forget about clearing out those gutters too.

Here’s a link to the Today Show with a recent feature on “How to prep your home for winter weather”.

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Fisher Real Estate