From the Editor

A year ago this fall and again in the spring, I did a lot of new planting around my yard. Smartly, I was assiduous about keeping tags so I’d later be able to identify the new growings and know what should be fed, watered, and pruned when. But now all of those tags are piled in my shed, some still attached to the buckets the plants came in. My oops is a good segue to what’s great about the off-season on the Island: It’s planning time.

This Design Issue of the magazine is timed for when people tend to organize their home projects, head to the bookstore or library to do some research, and look for overall inspiration. Recent years have seen a surge in design services, so here are some wows and motivation to get you going. Whether you see an idea that will work for you or feel an affinity for a certain aesthetic or designer, this is also the perfect time to meet with an Island professional about making your dreams a reality.

Our centerpiece architectural feature introduces a pair of siblings who turned to Hutker Architects in Vineyard Haven to design their houses on family land in Chilmark (page 24). For a designer insider, meet Liz Stiving-Nichols, who brings a calm, neutral palette to many homes (page 40). You’ll also find ideas for adding distinctive elements such as a chandelier (page 36), a painting (page 54), or an artfully plated meal (page 62).

If you’re ready to up the design ante on your property pronto, check out our recommendations for plantings that look especially beautiful in winter (page 46). But don’t forget to keep track of what you plant where – the extra effort is well worth it!