Mill House Revisited

Vineyard Haven, MA

On Vineyard Haven Harbor, this family homestead property is a story of new-meets-old in the classicist tradition thanks to a commitment to the past and an eye towards the future.

A historic octagonal mill building had been moved onto the property from another island location and had been a mainstay on the site for more than a century. Owners sought to renovate the adjacent home for modern living, and a reimagination was prepared that would be respectful of the property’s unique history. It soon became clear, however, that the residential structure could not be salvaged; the building inspector deemed it far too infirm to withstand raising for a new foundation to be poured underneath.

Instead of abandoning plans, clients recommitted to rebuilding the residence as though it had actually been a renovation of the original home while fully protecting the mill building. Built completely anew while respecting the past, the new residence feels authentic to the island. Now featuring multi-level living and recreation space, the mill acts as an anchor for the overall compound which is split among several structures.

A barn also on site was completely renovated as part of the project, and now serves as a carriage house with additional square footage for a studio, fitness center, and boat storage. To round out the compound, the clients purchased a neighboring property upon which a separate residence sits. Inside what now functions as a guest cottage, the floor plan was completely reworked for more logical interior circulation and flow. Specified with cohesive shingling, detailing, and accents, the ensemble of structures now reads as a comprehensive homestead.