Careful attention to design and placement ensures that lovely pond and ocean vistas abound in a Vineyard house.By Rob Duca | Photography by Greg Premru
It seems obvious that one would want to maximize all possible water views when planning construction of a new house. But turning that dream into reality with this home in Edgartown, Massachusetts, presented challenges to Boston- and Martha’s Vineyard-based architect Patrick Ahearn.
“Because of the access road to the property the site for the house had to be on the left but the overlook to Eel Pond was on the right, so we had to figure out a way to reverse the house and yet still design the arrival so that people drove into the back of the property without cars all driving past the pool, which the homeowner wanted to remain private,” explains Ahearn.
His solution was to design a courtyard that separates the main house and a carriage house. Therefore, the rear of the house faces the street, with a narrow dirt driveway winding around the side and ending at the rear courtyard, where the pool is located outside the front entrance.
“Patrick did a great job at that,” the homeowner says. “He placed the house more at an angle so we could take advantage of the views. He really listened to everything that we wanted. We are very happy with the result.”
In collaboration with Rosbeck Builders and Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscape Services, both based in Edgartown, Ahearn designed a fabulous five-bedroom property that overlooks Eel Pond, with the living room, gathering room, kitchen, library/den combination, master bedroom and guest bedrooms all located at the street-facing front of the house in order to take advantage of the spectacular sunsets and ocean views.
The center patio and second-story balcony serve as the focal point for the home, providing a comfortable and relaxing spot to unwind. The homeowners are based year-round in London, England, and they live a hectic, busy life. Once on the Vineyard, they are able to immediately decompress. “People love to sit on that front porch because the views are so wonderful and it’s so relaxing,” the homeowner says. “It’s very pretty and calming, and the serene view is always changing.”
A covered porch to the left leads into the kitchen and breakfast room, while a screened porch to the right provides entry to the combination library and den. The gathering room and dining room sit at the center of the open floor plan and allow easy access from the kitchen. The cozy library/den is somewhat separated, providing a quiet, peaceful spot away from the hubbub.
On the second floor, the master bedroom is placed off the center balcony. It is flanked by a pair of guest bedrooms. French doors from the master and each of the guest bedrooms lead out to the balcony.
The interior of the house is awash in summer shades of cream, beige, pale greens and soft blues, with bead board walls and coffered ceilings capturing the essence of life on the Vineyard. “The homeowners wanted it to be light and airy, to have all the spaces flow together so that it would reflect a casual New England lifestyle,” Ahearn says.
The homeowner worked with designer Amy Andrews of Greenwich, Connecticut, to create the tranquil atmosphere. The bead board walls are splashed in light gray, with built-in window seats covered in ocean blue. In the kitchen, from the cabinets and counters to walls and ceiling, shades of off-white predominate, with a light gray granite island countertop and blue-and-white chairs providing subtle contrast. The bedrooms feature soaring ceilings, with walls that are bead board white on the bottom before shifting into pale green or beige.
“Amy is my best friend, so I had a great time working with her on the color scheme,” the homeowner says. “She pushed me to do things I might not have done and I love it. As it turned out, the house is kind of a combination of classic and contemporary.”
With its weathered shingles on the exterior and the multiple built-in window seats, bookcases and various nooks inside, the house looks as though it has been in place for a century. Although the basement does not offer water views, it is also a favorite spot to gather. It includes a pool table, bar area, media room and exercise room.
One of the two bays in the carriage house doubles as a cabana room. There is a kitchenette, a bathroom and changing room, with French doors leading out to the pool. But when it’s necessary, it also serves as a space to park cars.
“I feel like this house is my baby because it’s everything I wanted,” the homeowner says. “Everybody who comes here loves it.”