Jan Schmidt, owner of Dragonfly Interiors,
tells us how to bring a little of our island
home with you.
Text by Kate Chadwick
How does one set about decorating
a Cape May home without making
it too…. “beachy,” too “Cape May?”
Let’s face it, when furnishing and
decorating a shore house, there
can be a tendency to fall into the
starfish/dolphin/seashell trap. We
talked to Jan Schmidt, owner of
Dragonfly Interiors, about how to
avoid the kitsch conundrum. “Most
of my clients have second homes in
Cape May, and of course everyone
is different,” she tells us. A lot of
these clients tell Jan they are not
necessarily after a “beach” theme
in their vacation home, but they
simply want something different
than their primary residence. “If they
have a more formal primary home,”
Schmidt says, “they’ll simply ask
for something relaxed – more of a
getaway, more casual.”
A quick perusal of the photos
on Dragonfly Interiors’ website
will attest that these are not your
grandmother’s shore house rooms
– elegant, refined and dramatic are
some of the adjectives that may
come to mind – particularly the
“keeping room” Schmidt decorated
for the 2010 Cape May Show
House. Actually – scratch that
– Schmidt WILL decorate your
grandmother’s shore house. It just
may look a little different than you
expected when she is done. “We
renovated a house in Cape May
from the 1850s a few years ago,”
she tells us. “It was in terrible shape.
There was water behind the walls,
peeling paint, the infrastructure was
sagging. And it was such a shame,
because the family that owned
it rarely used it. We went in and
gutted and completely renovated and
updated it.”
But we had to ask – don’t you want
the inside of the house to match the
outside, to be in keeping with its
history and architecture? “It depends
on what the client wants, of course,”
Jan says. “But the fact is that no
Interior Motives
84 Cape May Magazine August 2013