Design Project: A Playful House in Martha’s Vineyard

This coastal home is full of surprises, from a Carsten Holler inspired chute to secret doors, whale shaped seating, stars on the ceiling and even a boat in the playroom.

Photography / Ben Gebo


A playful house in Martha’s Vineyard that strikes the perfect balance between grown-up elegance and imaginative whimsy. Designed by Elizabeth Georgantas of GEORGANTAS Design + Development, there are lots of well thought out details for adults (hello secret room hidden behind pivoting doors), as well as for children; there’s a ramp for toy cars, a chute slide going from upstairs down into the ground-floor play area, there’s astrology wallpaper on the ceilings, and there’s even a boat (a nod to the coastal location) coming down from the ceiling in the playroom, with a ladder going up through the bottom of it and portholes to look out of. Whatever your age, this house is an absolute joy for all.


The owners, a finance executive and a retired ballerina, wanted to create the perfect family home that had both elegant living spaces as well as playful areas for their school-aged children. They brought on Interior designer Elizabeth Georgantas of GEORGANTAS Design + Development, to strike the perfect balance between something proper and elegant yet playful.

Photography / Ben Gebo

Drawing inspiration from theatre and fantasy, she set out to create a home that was warm and welcoming, looked clean and put together, but also didn’t take itself too seriously.

Photography / Ben Gebo

In the living room, Hubert Le Gale whale chairs are a nod to the ocean views.



The central spiral staircase in the entrance hall was designed to curve around a sculpture inspired by New York artist Alyson Shotz’s “Helix.”

Photography / Ben Gebo

The striking sculpture is eye catching, but our eyes are also drawn to the secret Harry Potter inspired den under the stairs, wallpapered in a silver skull and cross bone pattern with crystal Jolly Roger sconces.


Although there’s plenty to do outside, With tennis courts, veggie gardens, and summer chickens (courtesy of Rhent-a-Flock), Georgantas also creatively pulled nature inside at every turn. Looking to bring the inside in wherever possible (like the whale chairs in the living room), Georgantas opted for a custom fish runner from The Rug Company.

Photography / Ben Gebo

But that’s not the only detail; Georgantas added a subtle detail; the kids can race toy cars down the stairway’s secret track that’s hidden alongside the stairs.

Photography / Ben Gebo


The track even has it’s very own built-in garage…



The alternate route down is via a sliding chute that was inspired by Carsten Holler, the German experiential sculptor whose slides are on display at the Tate Modern.

Photography / Ben Gebo

The metal chute starts upstairs on the landing (pictured far left in the picture above) and twists down to a play room; it’s safe for kids and big enough for young-at-heart parents.

Photography / Ben Gebo

The modern chute punctuates through elegant wood panelled walls, and makes a striking contrast.

At the top of the chute, a trio of falling sculptures add more whimsy.


Good reads are stashed in every room, and even the landing pictured above has its own little reading nook, executed in the most stylish way.

Photography / Ben Gebo


Proving that it’s not just the kids who get all the fun, a den for grown ups is tucked behind a swinging bookcase door with a glow-in-the-dark constellation wallpaper (by Ralph Lauren) above.

Photography / Ben Gebo

This is the only room where a TV exists, keeping it out of sight and out of mind. Rather than watching cartoons, the family focuses on books instead.


The shingled home’s natural curves enabled other fun hideaways, such as a children’s play loft in the shape of a boat, complete with a wooden ladder, portholes for peeking out of, and decorative rope lighting  (sourced from Etsy), hanging from the ceiling.

Photography / Ben Gebo

Just like in the rest of the house, there’s a stash of books which are neatly displayed in the window seat. A walk-in cupboard (pictured above) with basket storage keeps toys tidied away.

Nearby walls are done in teak, and there’s even a mini lighthouse in the corner, and an actual old Fresnel light.

There are clever details at every turn, from the rope lighting to lighthouse shaped door handles.



The children’s guest room has red four-poster beds and colourful library wallpaper, to inspire more reading.

Photography / Ben Gebo


The children have their own en-suite bathroom, with swirling cloud wallpaper pattern from Hygge and West.

Photography / Ben Gebo

Bathroom tiles were chosen to compliment the wallpaper design, while monogrammed hand towels add the finishing touch.


The guest bedroom offers a calming blue theme, with painted ceilings, a textural natural rug and feather patterned wallpaper.

Photography / Ben Gebo


There’s a compact but smart en-suite, a lesson on small bathroom design.

Photography / Ben Gebo

There’s also a guest shower room with a porthole that offers views from the shower.

Photography / Ben Gebo


The master bathroom, however, is nothing short of spectacular, with spacious walk-in shower, statement lighting and a roll top bath with ocean views.

Photography / Ben Gebo


To honour it being an island home, seaglass-inspired Wonderglass flow kitchen pendants and a fish-scale Mercury Mosaic tile backsplash are a nod to the ocean.

Photography / Ben Gebo


Following the ocean theme, a lobster-print wallpaper in the cloakroom is another reminder of the seaside setting.

Photography / Ben Gebo

But it’s that molten gold like sink that really has us gazing.


With so much to do outside, it’s only fitting that the boot room should have baskets for everything from kites and fancy dress to fort making supplies and glow sticks.

Photography / Ben Gebo


A patio outside the formal living room offers the perfect spot to perch with sundowners.

Photography / Ben Gebo

Rocking chairs in different sizes offer a comfortable seat for everyone, Goldilocks style.

Photography / Ben Gebo

All photography by Ben Gebo.

See more of Elizabeth Georgantas work here.

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