Hutker Architects designs a getaway home full of rustic touches on a tranquil pond in Chilmark.
When Patrick Mahady began searching for a vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, he was nearly set on purchasing a place in Edgartown when his real estate agent told him about a three-acre parcel on the opposite end of the island. A drive down the long winding dirt road to the site revealed a mix of open meadow, woodlands, and pond shoreline with views to a barrier beach beyond. Mahady was hooked. He bought the property and contacted Hutker Architects—a firm well known for its thoughtful approach to island homes—to design a place that would fit well into its rural setting.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property with southeast-facing pond views,” says Philip Regan, principal at Hutker Architects, who was the lead designer on the project along with project manager Matthew Cramer. Mahady wanted a home that would respect the landscape, the historical sensibilities, and aesthetic of Chilmark. He envisioned a camp cottage with views to the tranquil pond—a casual place where his two grown children could come and relax. “We wanted the home to appear as if it had always been there and grown over time,” says Regan. “The house doesn’t appear as one big box, but rather a series of additions to a central footprint.”
With the design team in place and local master builder Brian Smith on board, Patrick’s dream house was ready to take form.
Regan achieved this goal by breaking the 3,600-square-foot house into two volumes—a wing for Mahady and a separate wing for his children. The kitchen-dining area and living room divide these distinct spaces. The wings feel as if they were additions to an earlier structure. The kitchen has a cathedral ceiling while the wings have standard eight-foot ceilings, furthering the distinction between the spaces. Regan and Cramer introduced varying rooflines and dormers to accommodate various ceiling heights. “Dormers are great ways to create additional space and light without adding a lot more square footage,” notes Regan. A long gallery with a built-in bench connects both public and private spaces.
To evoke the rustic design sensibilities of the island, horizontal wide-board wainscoting in the gallery is a replication from the wainscoting found in the old West Tisbury Town Hall building, notes Cramer. “We also wanted to use natural materials that might have been used if the house were built 100 years ago,” he explains. To offer a rustic camp feel, the house is clad in cedar shingles left to weather with each passing storm.
The design team also wanted to create transparency between the indoors and outdoors. Introducing porches—both opened and screened—was key to this aesthetic. A screened porch off the open kitchen and dining area is a wonderful place to take in the views. There is also a covered porch just off the living room.
Regan and Cramer also blur the lines between inside and outside through the use of windows. Bands of shed dormers flood the kitchen and dining space with natural light, while a set of French doors flanked by two pairs of double-hung windows opens the cooking and dining spaces to the pond views. “Because the kitchen and dining areas are completely open, you don’t have obstructed views from any point in that space,” notes Regan. The living room also has a set of French doors, and a large half-moon casement window opens the master bedroom to the same serene views.
In addition to the exterior features, Regan and Cramer added traditional Cape touches to the interiors in the form of beadboard, fieldstone fireplaces, and traditional trim. Interior designer Liz Stiving-Nichols put the finishing touches on the design. “We used a traditional color palette in the home along with natural and reclaimed materials,” says Stiving-Nichols. “We finished the kitchen, dining, and living room in salvaged heart pine stained a warm honey.” After soapstone proved unavailable for the kitchen counter surface, Stiving-Nichols and Mahady chose honed granite for the center island and wood for the perimeter countertops. The backsplash tile evokes the sandy shores surrounding Martha’s Vineyard. The cabinetry has simple flat recessed panel doors with a two-inch reveal. Bronzed bin pulls further the traditional charm.
“We finished the screened porch with a tongue-and-groove bead board ceiling, which is a classic finish in a camp such as this one,” notes Stiving-Nichols. “Every element in the house takes into consideration the natural surroundings: the light, the water, the barrier beach, the meadow. The finished abode is a relaxed organic space for the homeowner to enjoy for years to come.”
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