A small 1950s Martha’s Vineyard camp is recreated with a cottage-style seaside vernacular in mind.

CCH MV Sherman 4 13 kitchen 1

Photography by Eric Roth

Off Martha’s Vineyard’s beaten path, an understated 1950s camp cottage sat quietly in disrepair on Lake Tashmoo waiting for a buyer. Cramped and dark, the building needed a fresh start. A professional couple, realizing the potential of the small, well-sited cottage, purchased the property with a vision.

The couple met Sam Sherman, principal of Sam Sherman Associates, and liked his island design philosophy. “I have lived on the Vineyard for 40 years and have a tremendous respect for this place and want to honor its scale in the best way possible,” says Sherman. The clients, too, love the Vineyard scale and wanted to renovate the house while maintaining the island vernacular style. They desired a place that was comfortable and easy to maintain with all the charming flourishes of a summer lakeside dwelling. And, most importantly, they wanted to keep its size proportional to its neighbors.

CCH MV Sherman 4 13 bedroom 1

Photography by Eric Roth

Because of setback requirements, a nonconforming lot, and its close proximity to the water, the house footprint could not change drastically. “Even if we could expand, we wanted to keep the house small,” notes Sherman. Although the house was to remain on a cottage scale, the couple still needed additional bedroom and living space for their college-age children. There was only one small bedroom upstairs. To remedy the cramped quarters, Sherman built upward. Lowering the original cathedral ceiling in the living room to a standard height, he was able to create additional space on the second floor, which now accommodates two bedrooms, a full bath, and two sitting areas. The new lower coffered ceiling in the living room creates a cozy cottage feel.