If you know of Ken Fulk, chances are you know of his dogs: a trio of cream English golden retrievers (better known, perhaps, as #polarbearsofptown) and a wirehair dachshund who populate the AD100 interior designer’s Instagram feed. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the story of this house—a newly constructed shingled number on Nantucket—starts with a visit to the vet. When Fulk, who has a house in Provincetown, Massachusetts, took the dogs in for a checkup, he never guessed the local P-Town veterinarian, Dr. Stephen DeVincent, would become a future client.
“I met Ken’s dogs before I met Ken,” DeVincent jokes. That was around 2007. Fast forward more than a decade, DeVincent had married Ambassador Rufus Gifford, chief of protocol of the United States and former ambassador to Denmark, and they were building a house on Nantucket. Gifford’s family had a long history on the island, where he grew up spending summers and holidays, and the couple was ready to create a place of their own on a plot of beach-gazing property. “Nantucket has always felt like home to him,” DeVincent explains, “Provincetown always felt like home to me.” So when it came time to hire a designer, they immediately thought of Fulk. Who better to merge those two coastal identities? An added bonus: They had become close friends over the years.
“It was a new home, but we wanted it to feel rooted in its place and in history,” explains Fulk, who looked to coastal New England whaling towns (including Provincetown, of course) for inspiration, playing with the idea of what a beachside Nantucket house could look like. They paired the typical (in many cases, mandatory) shingles with dark trim and a moody palette that had a more historic feeling than what was typical in the area. “It has an almost masculine character to it, and we leaned into that.”
Building something from the ground up is no small feat in a location like Nantucket, where the placement of a window or pitch of a roof can attract serious scrutiny by the historical commission. Eventually, after working closely with the Connecticut-based architecture firm Shope Reno Wharton, they landed on a classic shingle-style structure (a sort of gabled roof sandwich) that felt simultaneously cozy and beachy—and most importantly, in DeVincent’s words, “like it’s been there for a long time.” —Hannah Martin