Americana in Maine
House Beautiful features this homage to toile, the flag, and over-the-top nostalgia this April.
This hotel-turned-summer retreat on Maine’s Little Cranberry Island designed by John Knott and John Fondas of Quadrille Fabrics doesn’t have air conditioning, heating or a cell phone signal, and can only be accessed by boat. It floods the senses in every other way, however; a bold mix of patterns offers a feast for the eyes in every room of the house. This feature is running in the April issue of House Beautiful.
Evoking the cosmopolitan life of a New England sailor, the living room features Syrian inlaid chairs and Chinese ceramic stools. The room’s vivid blue fabrics are all from Knott’s firm, Quadrille. Lobster claws affixed to marble bases are right at home on the mantel of the surreal and playful space. Fondas says, “Believe it or not, the living room walls started off white. The first thing we chose was the ikat on the sofa. Then we put in all these other blue-and-white patterns that we loved. The pimento trim that pulls everything together was inspired by an antique wall hanging that we intended to put up but didn’t use. When we were leaving at the end of the summer, John said, ‘With all this pattern, the only logical thing is to add one more.’ That’s how the wallpaper happened.”
A coconut chandelier hangs over the dining table which seats 18. Guests aren’t completely at leisure, however, the house doesn’t have a dishwasher, so everyone has to help clean up. The master bedroom is classily patriotic, with George Washington featured on Independence Engraving wallpaper from Quadrille, and red-and-white striped Independence Ticking fabric for the curtains. The stately American Empire four-poster bed completes the look. Fondas admits it can be risky to use 10 or 15 patterns in one room. Knott replies, “Risky, but we also want the joyful excitement—the happy, jazzy fun that’s part of what America is about.” We’ll salute to that.