Entering Tracker Home Decor through a floor to ceiling display of colorful fabric and wallpaper books, it’s clear that veteran Edgartown interior designer John Murphy’s company means business. But rounding the corner into the workroom, the large, blue neon lettering advertising a fabric bar indicates that this is not business as usual — and not just because John’s associate Kalani Gonzalez offers a visitor a glass of champagne. A visit to Tracker Home Decor is an experience.

John is well known on the Island; he worked at Vineyard Decorators for more than 20 years, where his eye for style and his perennial boyish charm built a client base. In 2011 he established Tracker Home Decor on Pease’s Point Way South in the building many remember as the Island’s longtime lighting store, the Lamplighter Corner.

John Murphy, founder of Tracker Home Decor Jeanna Shepard

“I chose this place on purpose because it is off the beaten path, and I wanted to establish my business as a destination,” he said in a recent interview with The Vine.

At first, much of the floor space was dedicated to home furnishings and fine linens but the demand for interior design services, especially with the newly-established private residences at The Boathouse & Field Club in Katama, pivoted John’s company to a project-driven design firm. Today their portfolio includes homes from Abel’s Hill to Katama to downtown historic Edgartown.

John’s team of design associates at Tracker includes Kalani, Doriana Klumick and Nicole Curelli, all of whom support projects that now extend beyond the Vineyard to addresses up and down the East Coast. In addition to the team’s expertise, the group shares an energetic, creative and good-humored vibe that has attracted a large family of clients.

Doriana Klumick at the fabric bar, where there are thousands of sample fabrics to peruse. Jeanna Shepard

The vibe makes for a welcoming atmosphere in the store as well. The fabric bar is designed for everyone — other designers, clients in need of a sofa or carpet refresh, someone embarking on a new interior project or anyone visiting the store looking to spend a little time perusing beautiful wallpapers and fabrics on a rainy day. Carefully sorted by fabric house, the bar is a sensory overload of color, texture and luxury that turns design lovers into the proverbial kids in the candy store.

With any full-room project, John directs clients to start from the ground up.

“We begin by choosing the floor coverings and then the style of the furniture frames and the soft goods before moving onto fabrics,” he said.

The last step is the choice of case goods — cocktail tables, end tables, chest of drawers and cabinetry.

While there is no exact Vineyard style, John describes today’s trend as transitional: “It’s not summery, it’s year-round livability.”

Though many clients want a beach house look with layers of neutrals and pops of color and pattern, John prefers a “hodgepodge of furniture in wacky fabrics.” He and Kalani urge clients to look for the addition of an “integrity piece — a vintage trunk, a one of a kind piece — not something found in a catalogue but something that looks like it’s been in the family for generations.”

Jeanna Shepard

“We don’t have one look or one brand here at Tracker,” said John. “We favor a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces.”

In the store, that eclectic approach is fully on display in the eye-popping groupings of sofas and easy chairs clothed in a range of colors and textures, from soft neutral to bright animal prints. Many pieces were sourced at Island estate sales and Vineyard Haven’s thrift store, Chicken Alley. The meeting and workspace is anchored by a round table with lots of inspiration for home accessorizing. It includes a carefully vetted collection of oversized porcelain urns and colorful, chic cocktail books. But the real showstopper in the store is the Cole & Son wall covering that frames the large display windows creating one continuous, scenic mural — a contemporary take on a Flemish tapestry in a swirl of earthy yet vibrant shades of color. (For more on wallpaper, turn to page 19.)

While John professes “to follow but not to follow trends,” his firm is currently favoring the popular white on white on white scheme with the layering of color in throw pillows, accessories and wallpapers.

Kalani Gonzalez and John Murphy work on a Tracker project room by room by creating a storyboard of fabrics and other design elements. Jeanna Shepard

In addition to its home design work, Tracker does offer shoppers the opportunity to buy pieces off the floor that can then be covered in a pick from the fabric bar and sewn by the fine upholstery team at their off-Island workroom.

Tracker clients have a wide range of styles and taste. “It’s very personal,” Kalani said. “We don’t force a look on anybody, and John is really great at walking into a house and seeing a family’s personality as the starting point for the process.”

One recommendation they generally make to clients is to use a neutral color in base upholstery, and to go with fabrics in a blend of synthetic and natural fibers. John was using indoor-outdoor materials long before they were known as high performance. Tracker favors Crypton, a leader in the technology and offered by many of the fabric houses. Another favorite is polyester velvet fabrics; these offer durability and a plush, luxury finish.

The Tracker team builds on these high-performance neutrals, layering in color and texture with the addition of pillows, artwork and accessories — all of which are offered in the retail space. The design associates’ style is evident in every offering, from something as simple as a cocktail napkin to unique home goods and fine linens. Chances are a shopper on a mission for napkins will come home with more once they peruse the piles of cocktail books, scented candles, ceramics, one of a kind lamps and throws, all styled on the custom furniture and carefully curated coffee and occasional tables. Also prominent in the retail space is an extensive offering of Matouk bed linens. As one of the Fall River manufacturer’s longest partnerships and the brand’s top performer, Tracker is consistently awarded Matouk’s Gold Linen Leader award.

Walk into the store, and you may find yourself purchasing colorful new napkins or pillows. Jeanna Shepard

Another important partnership is Tracker’s long time commitment to Vineyard Preservation Trust, where John has served as a trustee for nearly 10 years. His expertise is a natural fit for the nonprofit that maintains 20 of the Island’s oldest landmarked buildings. Next spring, John and his team will unveil a long overdue restoration of the grand entrance hall at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House, the popular wedding venue on Main street in Edgartown. The swatches and drawings exude a timeless elegance befitting the property’s gracious, carved staircase.

“Imagine the bride coming down the stairs!” he shares excitedly. “It’s going to be magnificent!”

Jeanna Shepard
Tracker is located in Edgartown on Pease Point Way South.

Tracker Home Decor’s long track record of success meeting the demands and wide tastes of Island clients has built a parallel universe of projects on other islands from Manhattan to Palm Beach to Bermuda. And now these strong relationships extend to the next generation’s apartments and first homes.

“There are some clients you just fall in love with and when you are asked to do their kid’s apartment or first home, you know you’ve done a good job,” John said with a smile.

Sissy Biggers is a frequent contributor to Martha’s Vineyard magazine and a regular contributor to The Vine.