Google royalty Wendy Schmidt hits gold by redesigning a Nantucket treasure.
Wendy Schmidt was quick to embrace the small-town, take-care-of-your-own ways of her adopted home of Nantucket Island, a set of values on vivid display in the renovation of her new property. Nine years ago, Schmidt, the wife of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, founded ReMain Nantucket, a philanthropic organization focused on preserving local architectural gems—even if that meant gutting them. Case in point: 56 Centre Street, which was first built as a residence, in 1862, and which now serves as both the Nantucket Community Music Center and Community School. From the start, the project’s community aspect was championed, starting with the choice of staff: Kathleen Hay, the local (and award-winning) interior designer Schmidt hired for the job. Says Hay: “Wendy saw this [project] as part of the larger Nantucket campus.” Details like high-gloss orange-lacquered library walls, quaint porthole windows, state-of-the-art recording studios, and a basement bathed in blue light (accented by a killer aquarium) add up to 56 Centre Street’s ultra-modern vibe. “I like having elements of surprise,” Hay says. “[They] reflect my belief that a music school should inspire as well as teach.” The Hay and BPC Architecture teams certainly inspired by designing a LEED gold-certified building, thanks to renewable tile from the Tile Room, lighting by Canon Design, Benjamin Moore Natura paints, and recyclable floor coverings from Tretford Carpet. “The result is fresh and young, without being jarring,” says Hay. “It strikes the right note.” 56 Centre St., Nantucket, 508-228-1219