Behind The Store Design With Donna Elle Design

We partnered with the talented mother-daughter team at Donna Elle Design to bring our flagship Nantucket store interior to life. It was a true labor of love and we are so pleased with the final outcome. We hope you enjoy getting to know Donna and Katie and learning more about our design process in the Q&A below.

What aspects of the Alice Walk brand did you feel were most important to incorporate into the design and layout of the store? 

The clarity of brand representation: timeless and organic textiles, straightforward lines and silhouettes, a saturated color palette, and a multigenerational approach to style.  

How important do you think the aesthetic of a store is to a customer’s shopping experience? And how do you want someone to feel when they are visiting or living in a space you designed?

The purpose of any good design is to create a functional and palatable space that intentionally resonates with its subject. Our goal with this project was to enhance the customer’s experience by creating a soothing, connected, and engaging interior. Maintaining the integrity of the client’s brand ethos was top of mind in every design decision - from specifying and sourcing the design and finish details of the garment rods to the transformation of the existing window display into an inviting window seat that quite literally welcomes customers from the outside in.

What was your favorite aspect of this project? What was the biggest challenge?  

 The greatest challenge was the 8-week window we had to design, source, edit, order, collaborate, demo/build out, schedule and install! It’s a credit to my senior designer with her background from the retail world coupled with my Nantucket roots and onsite experience with team collaborating and communicating to continue steady and timely progress for the Daffodil Weekend deadline.

 Our favorite aspect of this project was visioning and planning with Emily and holding space for her brand she has nurtured and the connection we instinctively portrayed while birthing her first brick and mortar store. In addition, the value of being on site and available to work in alignment with well-coordinated contractors makes the vision come alive before my eyes.

What has your experience been like working as a designer on Nantucket? Has your aesthetic evolved over the years? 

 Learning how to adapt to problem solving – weather, transportation of goods, shipping resources. Over the decades, home furnishing design has reshaped the bandwidth of “anything is possible”. If you can envision it, we can build it. Additionally, the enhancement of building materials has advanced over the last 35 years The variety of materials has opened up design possibilities from the floor to wall to ceiling and beyond. “From sheetrock to shiplap.”

How does the unique charm and character of Nantucket influence your approach to design on the island?

 Encompassing the landscape, the inherent architecture and the light has paved a sensuous and beautiful story that gives breath to the execution of the design process. Co-creating with what’s already there certainly quickens my sensitivity to highly individualized design execution. Working with new architecture presents other challenges in melding a sense of place without creating a ‘new home’ look that can be inauthentic. It’s in my purview to be both subjective and objective when educating my clients along the path of framing their home into a more individualized process. No two homes nor its dwellers are the same. It’s upon me to extract and execute an experience well worth the pathway to their reimagined home on island.

What do you think makes Nantucket such a unique and special place?

 An island 30 miles out to sea creates a mysterious intrigue; the inaccessibility to the island, the historic value of people, place and space gives Nantucket a sensitivity to architectural values.

What is your favorite piece from the Alice Walk collection?

 Cashmere mock neck – knit, stitching detail, craftsmanship, yarn, style. Feminine, soft to the skin, enveloping to the soul.

Photography by:
Wendy Mills Photo
Barbara Zachary Photography
Read McKendree
Hawk Visuals