A Summer Vacation (Home Renovation) in Cape Cod

Austin Interior Designer Amity Worrel Shares Stories From Her Latest Vacation Home Renovation Project in Cape Cod

Amity Worrel Cape Cod

I just got back from my summer vacation, a summer vacation home renovation that is. For the past few years, my Austin interior design team and I have been lucky enough to work on a stunning Cape Cod renovation project for a client. Over the last two summers, we’ve spent weeks on the shores of the Cape, overseeing construction and managing installations of wallpaper, furnishings, and art. This summer, we had a bit of a finale with an interior design photoshoot capturing images of the completed project. (But I think we will be back up for a few more finishing touches.) I have felt very honored to get the chance to help a family create a vacation opportunity to celebrate with their friends and family and also relive some of my own memories from the Cape. 

A Renovation Project or a Return to Summer Camp? 

I have a long history with Cape Cod. When I lived in New York City, I had a good friend whose parents had a house there. We’d take the five hour drive from the city every Friday in the summer, a small price to pay for the beauty of the Cape shores. I even spent my honeymoon there years later. During these summer trips, I spent my days biking, swimming, and eating nothing but “steamers” and lobster rolls. Getting to go back to this place for work was such a gift. In many ways, this vacation home renovation project felt like a return to memories of summers past.  

Leaving Austin for Cape Cod felt like setting out for summer camp with my design team. On day one, we arrived and bunked up in our “cabin.” Seeing the team in the studio throughout the week is very different from sharing a space for almost three weeks. You learn so much more about each other and have a strong sense of camaraderie. But instead of bonding over making friendship bracelets, we bonded over long days of work powered by the summer sunshine. Much of the installation work is physical, and lots of it is simply navigating the project’s ups and downs, answering subcontractors’ questions, and making on-the-spot decorative decisions. 

I was just a camper in past summers, but I definitely took on the role of camp counselor this year! 

Amity Worrel Team Cape Cod Interior Design

My “Design Camp” Activity Registration 

There’s no archery or kayaking at this camp. The one activity you can register for is Design Installation 101. This vacation home renovation in Cape Cod called for a different type of interior design from our typical primary residences in Austin. A vacation home just allows for so much more freedom to play with color and pattern — and fun! We created spaces like a game room, theater, wine cellar, and, of course, lots of guest rooms. Let me share some of what we created.

One of the most exciting layers of this project is a custom wallpaper design created with the Ft. Lonesome x Counterpart Studios collaboration. They have beautiful wallpaper collections we’ve used in past projects, but this time, we got to work with their team and the client to make something completely original. We incorporated the name of the Cape village and classic motifs like lobsters and lighthouses. 

Cape Cod Wallpaper

The other exciting thing we saw come to fruition was a custom neon sign that the client designed with Idle Hands. It’s a giant blue whale sitting atop the words “Blow Hole.” It’s just another fun touch to this whimsical vacation escape from reality. 

Cape Cod Home Design

Trips to the Mess Hall and Canteen 

When I tell you these summer nights were long, they were long! We’d regularly stay well past the 8 PM sunset to continue working away — hanging art, arranging furnishings, and organizing cupboards. However, we did make sure to take a break and head down to the Cape Camp Mess Hall and Canteen. 

One of my favorite spots for dinner was a restaurant called The Landfall in Woods Hole, the town that boasts being the Jacques Cousteau launching spot. I told you, all I needed to survive and fuel up for another day was a lobster roll. And maybe an ice cream break at Four Seas, a Cape Cod institution and New England’s third oldest ice cream shop. They take the credit for inventing some of the most popular American ice cream flavors (and I have to say they deserve it).

Four Seas Ice Cream Cape Cod

Taking a Field Day in Sconset 

I had to make time for a little bit of summer fun! After almost three whole weeks of non-stop installation work, I decided it was time for a field day in Sconset at the far eastern end of Nantucket. Sconset is exactly what you picture when you think of the Cape — mainly because the photographs of weathered shingle cabins covered in climbing roses are all taken here. 

The time I spent in Sconset was magical. I got to Nantucket, took the island bus, and made my way to the little village that had historically been a whaling town. It is completely picturesque, with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and even a little well in the center of town. I was able to walk the famous Bluff Walk with a few travelers I bumped into from London. We were respectfully quiet on the trail and veered off the bluff walk to the beach, where we saw seals lounging on the sand and bobbing in the water. We even made a pit stop to buy lemonade from a group of kids selling to folks on the trail from their backyard. Then, we made our way to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse for further sightseeing and wrapped up the day with sandwiches at Claudette’s

Bluff Walk Sconset Mass
Bluff Walk

Even when I’m working, the Cape is still my perfect summer escape. But just like summer camp, this year’s trip up the Cape has concluded. 

Visiting Cape Cod

But, I hope to be a returning camper next year. 

Amity Worrel

Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.



Austin Interior Designer