Interior designer Marsha Malone of Nautique has a knack for fulfilling her clients’ dreams.By Lisa Cavanaugh | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Standing in Frank and Marigrace Dubas’ calmly beautiful living room, it’s interesting to learn that Marsha Malone, their interior designer and owner of Nautique, in Brewster, first envisioned these warm, coastal colors and rich textures during the terrible winter of 2015. “It was so cold,” recalls Malone. “I had my hat on and scarf wrapped around my face as I balanced on the cross beams, and I said to Frank, ‘That’s where you will want the wall wash lighting [to illuminate a] piece of art!’ ”
The Dubases completed a teardown of a more modest summer home of theirs and built a 4,200-square-foot house in the same spot. By building up instead of out, the house doesn’t overwhelm the location. The family’s decision to rebuild occurred in September 2014, when, during their traditional Labor Day lobster feast, their daughter presented her mother with a lobster bib that read Grandma. We’re having our first grandchild, thought Marigrace, and we’re really ringing in the new house.
Having long admired Nautique and Malone’s aesthetic, they knew she was the one to design their new home. “What I love the most is that she got my vision immediately,” Marigrace says. “I wanted monochromatic beige tones, and it was very important to me that it feel soothing.”
Malone created a restful palette of creams and sands, and focused on textural elements to heighten interest. She designed furniture in her Sail Loft and Nautique Coastal collections to fit the Dubases’ lifestyle. “Interior design is really about understanding people,” says Malone. “You need to ask: How do you live in your house? Who is your family?”
“We wanted the house to sit well on the property and to repeat the theme of our old house, which had three bedrooms that fed into a central living room,” Frank explains. “We have two floors now and a walk-out basement, but everyone still comes out to meet in the center.”
Having their master suite off the dining room gives the Dubases the freedom to enjoy one-floor living, with plenty of room upstairs and down for their children’s growing families. Above the open-loft living room is a short hallway with two guest suites. The first is decorated in geometric blues with splashes of hydrangea while across the way, a taupe and ecru bedroom leads to a charming little nursery. On the basement level, family recreation rooms include a cozy media nook that features a nearly white Nautique upholstered sectional with navy throw pillows.
With very few exceptions, Malone created
or chose all the fabric, rugs, furnishings and lighting in the home, and the tranquil feeling Marigrace requested extends from room to room. “I find it completely relaxing,” Marigrace says. “Marsha knows exactly what I like.”
Being on hand as the house was built allowed Malone to design specifically for the space, and she found that process invigorating. “I was here before they took the old house down, so it’s been very exciting to be part of the whole creative process.” Malone recalls that standing in the freezing cold on the partially built second-story landing, she already had a vision of the textures she wanted to use in the living room. “I knew [from up here] you’d see the antique wood top of the Sail Loft coffee table—I saw the old barn boards while it was getting made—and a rich carpet to complement it was really important.”
“We knew Marsha was having that table made,” says Frank, referring to their exquisite Sail Loft dining table, crafted from 200-year-old hemlock. “So we had the kitchen island situated in relation to it.” The table also lines up precisely to the French doors that lead to a unique triangular swimming pool outside.
“We came up with pieces with the right patina, the right tone. Reusing this antique wood creates such an essential homey feeling,” says Malone, who considers it an honor to help fashion a home for her clients.
Knowing that Frank enjoys stretching out on the couch, Malone designed two long, wheat-colored sofas for the living room. Since Marigrace enjoyed a sunroom retreat in the old house, Malone created a cozy upholstered chaise-lounge for a quiet corner of the blue-and-ivory bonus suite above the garage, where Marigrace can read to her granddaughter. Lobster-shaped cutouts adorn Seaport Shutter doors and a Nautique Coastal Collection cabinet.
“Thinking about how people are going to live in their home, and designing that home for them, is really what it’s all about,” says Malone. “My goal at the end of a project is for the clients to say, ‘Oh, my God, we love it!’ ”
Frank and Marigrace couldn’t be more satisfied with their new home. “It’s just perfect,” says Frank. And every time she walks through the door, Marigrace feels that she never wants to leave.
“I think this is heaven,” she says.