Marrying the old with the new is the vision for the Nobnocket Boutique Inn, formerly the Doctor’s House.

New owners and new Island residents Simon and Annabelle Hunton began renovations this January and are expecting their first guests in May.

Formerly innkeepers of The Platinum Pebble, an award-winning inn in West Harwich, the British couple searched up and down the East Coast for a new inn to keep. One of the first they looked at was the Doctor’s House in Vineyard Haven.

Inn was built in 1908 as a doctor's home. — Heather Hamacek

They later traveled down to Mobile, Ala., up to Portland, Me., and back down to New Orleans, La. before returning to the Vineyard and snatching up the Doctor’s House. Renaming it Nobnocket Boutique Inn to match their mission of Island luxury with a twist, Mr. and Mrs. Hunton stripped the floral wallpaper, did away with the furniture and began realizing their vision for a quiet couple’s getaway in the busy port town.

“It’s such a gorgeous original old building,” said Mrs. Hunton. “It was kept traditional with floral wallpaper and lace, but the building is so interesting you can do the plain walls and bring out the features.”

The arts and crafts building was built on a bluff in Vineyard Haven in 1908 as a doctor’s home and office. It was subsequently owned by two more doctors. In the mid-1980s it became a bed and breakfast.

While updating the inside, Mr. Hunton said they didn’t lose sight of the history of the building.

“It is over 100 years old. We’re kind of caretakers for the building,” he said.

The Huntons began working from scratch, in need of everything from salt and pepper shakers to bathtubs.

Original features, including brick fireplaces, were preserved, while little surprises including hand-painted custom tiles in the bathrooms and sparkling light fixtures were added. The furnishings were carefully selected from a variety of providers.

“We took a couple of shopping trips to New York and Boston,” Mr. Hunton said, admitting the complicated logistics of furnishing an inn on an Island came as a surprise.

Mr. Hunton is originally from Liverpool and Mrs. Hunton from London. They used to travel often for Mr. Hunton’s job, but wanted a change of pace and opened their first inn on the Cape.

The couple has a long history of caring for guests in their home. “When we were in England all of our friends called our house Hotel Hunton, we thought maybe we should try this,” said Mrs. Hunton.

Like traditional innkeepers, the Huntons will live on the premises and take care of the seven suites mainly by themselves.

Brick fireplaces preserved; sparkling light fixtures added. — Heather Hamacek

“We’ll be very hands on,” said Mrs. Hunton. She will make breakfast for the guests, which can be taken in their rooms, in the sun room or on the outside porch. She envisions French toast, fresh fruit and as many Island ingredients as they can use. While guests can relax in their rooms, enjoy leisurely breakfasts and perhaps play a bit of badminton at the inn, the Huntons will provide recommendations for beaches, restaurants and shops.

“Part of our job now is we have to go out and try all the restaurants because then we can tell guests where to go, and where to eat,” said Mrs. Hunton.

Splitting their time between renovations inside the inn and getting to know the Island, the Huntons have had a busy winter. Mr. Hunton was pleased to find another Liverpool soccer fan on the Island in Neil Atkins, the head brewer for Offshore Ale Company, and in March the Huntons volunteered at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.

Living on the Vineyard in the off-season has bolstered their decision to try to operate the inn year-round. In the winter, the harbor is visible through the bare branches and the fireplaces will keep the inn toasty warm, Mrs. Hunton said.

Looking around the inn, with light streaming through the French doors and black and white patio chairs waiting to be unwrapped, Mrs. Hunton said the most exciting thing is building something completely new in a place that is very old, and making a home for themselves along the way.

“This is all about starting from scratch and going for it,” she said. “It’s ours, it’s Annabelle’s and Simon’s.”

For updates visit the Nobnocket Boutique Inn’s Facebook page or visit nobnocket.com.

Demographics: