Architect Patrick Ahearn Works His Magic Again … and Voila! Rural Vineyard


Architect Patrick Ahearn is not really a magician, although many would beg to differ. Ahearn has managed to create a “magical” residence just outside Edgartown that appears as though it has held a firm grasp on its prime waterfront real estate since the turn of the last century. Rural Vineyard, newly constructed in an area overlooking Eel Pond and the harbor, is a perfect complement to the surrounding landscape and history of Martha’s Vineyard. What he has done with Rural Vineyard is create a brand new residence that seamlessly blends in with its older neighbors.


The Design

Design for Rural Vineyard took on traditional gambrel shingle style. Its H-shaped schematic is akin to the long views toward the water, which can be appreciated from the primary living spaces. Window choices have much to do with it. For example, the sunroom appears to be enclosed by a fully glazed wall that allows abundant natural light to enter and showcase the magnificent coastal vistas. From the exterior, however, the design reflects historically accurate coastal New England architecture. Access to the property is via a courtyard with a pedestrian entry and a carriage house wing on one end. Complementing the main house are a gambrel-style freestanding guesthouse / cabana, a hidden pool and a garden at the other end of the courtyard. The interior finishes so artfully mimic the grand shingle style homes of the early 1900s, one would think rooms had been painstakingly restored rather than newly constructed. Ahearn designed the interior with open space and functionality at the forefront, as well as the modern conveniences and a neutral color palette that cater to the more casual island lifestyle of today.


The Challenges

Although Rural Vineyard is now an elegant seaside residence, construction had its challenges. Ahearn and his team started with a coveted location featuring spectacular water views. It was necessary to formulate a plan that would accommodate the design and program for the house on land that had significant topography. To accomplish that, they needed to build 16-foot concrete walls and retainers that would be virtually invisible while making the house look as though it was nestled within a field of wildflowers. He and his team introduced extensive new mature planting to further settle the house, ensuring the illusion of having stood in the field for more than 100 years. A second issue involved the location of the pool and guesthouse. They decided to place them landside to make an edge defining the entry and parking court, leaving part of the house in the natural wildflower setting. This created an additional area for recreation and socializing apart from the main house.


Challenges faced and conquered, the result is a stunningly beautiful, really livable island homestead. Patrick Ahearn’s Rural Vineyard, the new kid on the block, is a perfect fit in an old, established neighborhood … and that’s magic.



The Compound

Ahearn, through effective use of a courtyard and breezeway, has achieved cohesion and flow among the three major structures (main house, carriage house and pool cabana). A gravel parking court shows definition from the main house from the carriage house, and the cobblestone apron serves as the walkway to the pool and cabana.
The Front Entrance

This is a gambrel entry with a circular covered entry and stone walkway that leads to the pea stone parking court. Above the entry is the open air windows walk with shingled side walls and painted balusters, rail, and posts. Typical gambrel profiles are evident here with the house’s swooping roof line.
The Rear View

The H-shape encompasses a wonderful bluestone terrace with a formal planting area that aligns with the French Doors. The boxwoods emphasize the formality of the outdoor bluestone patio, while providing a sense of enclosure. The flanking porches on either side create two outdoor living spaces which allow for the second floor balcony terraces off of two bedrooms. The left wing terminates at an enclosed sun room. The right wing terminates with an open-air covered porch with an outdoor fireplace serving the large gathering area.
The Entry Foyer

Oak flooring, twin bureaus and full-height inset paneling “age” the entry hall beautifully, and a cased beam and columns define the space.
The Entry Foyer

The entry foyer shows the antique oak flooring that elongates the hallway and draws interest from welcoming archways.
The Great Room

An open floor plan and cool, nautical colors reflect contemporary style; rugs define gathering spaces; and the strong, cased beams evoke the implied history of the main house.
The Kitchen 

Salient features include custom inset face framed cabinets with built-in appliances, a custom island with bar seating and open shelving, and granite countertop with custom tile backsplash.
The Dining Room & Sun Room

A brick floor transitions indoor to outdoor space in the sun room, where three full walls of windows showcase the coastal vistas while letting in abundant natural light.
The Master Bedroom

The nautical color palette continues in the master bedroom with sea-foam walls and white inset wainscot paneling. A wood-burning masonry fireplace, a window seat and French doors all add to its relaxing ambience.
The Covered Porch

The covered porch features a masonry fireplace with a timber mantel, bluestone patio, traditional cased beams and columns, and recessed lighting.
The Pool Cabana

The cabana adopts a gambrel style to be uniform with the house as seen in the cedar siding, roofing, and pergola. In harmony with the house, the cabana also has French doors, insulated double hung windows, flower boxes, and shutters. To the left of the cabana is a stained freestanding shower. The bluestone patio and landscaping is enclosed by traditional Edgartown fencing.
The Pool Cabana

The bluestone floor in the pool cabana and more casual furnishings set a recreational tone, and the ship ladder that leads to a guest room adds a bit of nautical whimsy.

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