Define Your Space on Martha’s Vineyard


If you’ve ever been to Martha’s Vineyard or even just seen pictures of the island in a magazine, I’m guessing that you’ve caught glimpses of some fantastic Vineyard Houses. The island tends to sprinkle its magic on just about everything here…but sometimes, it needs a little help. And when it comes to island homes, that extra sprinkle definitely comes from one my favorite interior designers, Annie Parr.

I invited, Annie of Island Interiors, to share with us all things home design and Martha’s Vineyard.


Anne Mayhew: What is your favorite thing about being an interior designer?

Annie Parr: Reading into a client’s life, lifestyle, interests, etc. and creating a space that not only defines, but supports and celebrates, or creates an experience for the lives of the people who occupy those spaces (or who may pass through those spaces).  It’s creating that experience that makes my design work similar to the theater….it’s all about setting the stage.

Anne Mayhew: I’m assuming you’ve designed other places in the world, what’s so special about doing it on MVY?

Annie Parr: While the interior of a home could fit (or be duplicated) in many other places in the world, there is a lifestyle here that is unique to the Vineyard.  I enjoy tying the two together—I love that you can’t find that anywhere else in the world.  My clients do travel the world and so it’s about being exposed to that architecture, materials, landscapes, experiences, inspirations, design, etc. that is essential to my business so I can bring a part of that into their island home – with the Vineyard twist of making it look like these details just fell into place naturally, and support our relaxed, yet sophisticated, carefree living.

Anne Mayhew: Are there trends that you notice clients asking you for?

Annie Parr: Trends always move along the lines of whatever will make their lives more comfortable, stylie, simpler, healthier, etc.  Unless a client’s budget allows them to make changes every time a hip new style trend comes along, I would caution them to make more classic choices for the things that cost a lot to redo (or locks them into a particular style) and to have more fun by “splurging” on a trendy piece or two as an accent in the room.  That way my clients still stay current with the times….AND it’s a lot easier to make a change again when the next new idea comes along.

It’s worth talking to a designer about the longevity of a trend if you think you want to jump on board with a new idea.  I also like to help the client find their own style….once that is defined it becomes very clear what trends they should pay attention to and what trends they can let come and go without giving it a second thought as to whether or not they’re missing out or falling behind the times.

Anne Mayhew: Are there certain fabrics, materials or colors that just work better on the island? Why?

Annie Parr: I find that every client consciously or unconsciously has a palette or style that they come to me with and that is what says “Martha’s Vineyard” to them.  Through my 25 years of experience, I can create that vision for them while guiding them through many cost saving, practical decisions that will hold up to island life—whether that is year round living or just the summer season.  The island does have sun, humidity, sand, etc issues that I can address—but a family may also have children, pets, lifestyle issues that I can make work on MV.  So, yes, there are smarter choices to make/invest in as far as fabrics, furniture etc….and it’s worth talking to a designer about this.

As a decorator it is not my style to pull out the “MV look”.  Every client, every house, and every room is different and has its own needs.  What may look great in one house may not work at all in the house next door (this is the biggest dilemma I deal with because clients don’t understand why a magazine picture or any decorating idea in general doesn’t always translate into their home environment).  Same thing goes for color.  BUT I can always translate the “feeling” a client is attracted to and make sure that shows up in their home.

Anne Mayhew: Where is your favorite spot on Martha’s Vineyard? Actually – tell us two – one that the ‘public’ knows about and one that only Islanders would know of…

Annie Parr: The island beaches, particularly on the south shore (most recently Lucy Vincent).  Aside from being beautiful, you have to be ready to love them as they are in that moment and trust that the ebb and flow will carry you to their next incarnation.  So cliché, but same goes for decorating….it’s an ongoing never ending process that should grow with you and be fun and enjoyable along the way.  If anything in decorating becomes too stagnant, it’s time to go to the beach!

2 thoughts on “Define Your Space on Martha’s Vineyard”

  1. I love the last part but would change it to if Anything gets too stagnant, head to the beach! too bad I live 3 hours from the closest beach 🙁

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