Contemporary New England Coastal

Last we left our befuddled protagonist (me), I was knee-deep in macrame and dark brown furniture in Edgartown.  As ever, I turned to a trusted source of information – the bookstore.

In my favourite Vineyard bookstore, A Bunch of Grapes, I found this gorgeous book, Martha’s Vineyard:  Contemporary Living by Keith Moskow and Robert Linn.



It’s their second book on modern Martha’s Vineyard houses – the first having been published in 2005.  The book helpfully places the featured houses on a map of the Vineyard.  None of the houses are in Edgartown proper and many are up-island amongst the farms and estates of West Tisbury and Chilmark.

House in Chilmark photo: Stephen Blatt Architects

House in Chilmark
photo: Stephen Blatt Architects

I suppose a crowded space-poor town isn’t ideal for the low-lying, spacious houses featured in the book.  For example, in the photo of the below house, I love the lack of fencing around the property and the openness of the deck.

photo:  Stephen Blatt Associates

photo: Stephen Blatt Associates

The book features 25 homes from different architectural practices.  Although some of the practices are from the Vineyard, many are from elsewhere such as Cape Cod (Jill Neubauer Architects), Maine (Steven Blatt Architects) and Connecticut (Shope Reno Wharton).  The architects, however, all seem to value a natural, low-maintenance build emphasising the stunning natural location of each house.

photo:  New England Home Magazine; Albert, Righter & Tittman Architects

photo: New England Home Magazine; Albert, Righter & Tittman Architects

Note in the house above, the lack of adornment resulting from not using shutters and window trim.  This home is a beautiful mix of the traditional and modern styling.

photo:  Hecht and Associates Architects

photo: Hecht and Associates Architects

I like these houses because they blend into the landscape.  I’m sure they are quite large but most don’t look and feel like McMansions.  Although very modern, many of these houses pay homage to the Vineyard tradition of cedar, stone and teak which will age with time.

The contemporary interiors, likewise, have clean, elegant lines.  Not a frou frou in sight.

Although Breese Architects did a Vineyard Haven house featured in the book, I preferred these homes featured in their website portfolio.  I love the deep blue of the bedroom and the open free-standing bathtub.

If you have a fireplace in the Vineyard, there seems to be an unwritten rule that it must be made of rock.  However, the fireplace below has played on this concept with large slabs of stone.  Heavy, geometric, perfect.

Breese Architects

Breese Architects

Anyway, I’ve digressed from the book.  I was just so excited to find contemporary interiors that I loved.

I found the Contemporary Living book pure eye-candy – unattainable, beachfront properties with perfect views.  None of the houses have anything in common with our modest little summer house.

I wonder, however, if it is possible to use some of the principles preached to achieve a budget version of a natural home at ease with its location.  I’m thinking lots of unpainted cedar shingle, wood floors and an unprepossessing porch.  What do you think?

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