A celebration of nature
At the other end of the great room, another set of three-sided windows—daringly different in size—flanks the chimney and custom fireplace built by Seth Abbott, a Vineyard artisan who incorporates stones that have been shaped by nature’s hand into squares with rounded corners, similar to the edges of the reclaimed wood on the mantel and the granite hearth. Bullnose window sills, specified by the architect, echo the design with their rounded corners.
The hearth’s details of found wood and stone give way to flooring of reclaimed oak barn board. “We had our hearts set on reclaimed barn board to create that lived-in, pre-loved feeling underfoot, as if these floors could talk,” the wife says. Distressed and dark-stained, the horizontal planks of the great room flow seamlessly into the herringbone-laid flooring of the hall passages, which provide easy access to the home’s side yards via Dutch doors. All the floors anchor the home’s feeling of lightness in relationship to the natural world unfurling—unfettered and free—beyond its windows and doors. This, after all, is Chilmark, wild child to Edgartown’s grammarian.
Sullivan’s design maximizes the theater and experience of the surroundings. Oversized windows and French doors combine to create walls that are more window than wall. “Chuck suggested we set the windows lower to the floor to allow clear lines of sight even when seated,” the wife notes. Accordingly, the uniform custom shades installed throughout the house—window treatments that draw no attention to themselves—minimize any interference with the vistas.
The family enjoys panoramic sunsets from the deck and the screened porch, where trusses again make an appearance, now al fresco and unpainted. Another supreme vantage point is from the guest room (which the homeowners lovingly refer to as “the grandparents’ room”), where outside, an artful set of granite steps leads up to French doors thrown open to the expanse. The doors are cleverly positioned off-center on the wall, anticipating the placement of the bed on the wall opposite so that guests may luxuriate in the seascape. And a full ensuite off to the side neither interferes with the view, nor asks guests to navigate unwieldy corners or passageways. Sullivan again shows his comfort with asymmetry and an understanding of how clients live and move in their homes.
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