Tag Archives: Martha’s Vineyard

The Evolution of the Cape Cod House

The Evolution of the Cape Cod House

Born from Necessity and Today a Timeless Design

Sometimes the most iconic, charming styles of architecture are born from necessity. An excellent example of this is the original Cape Cod style home. In the late 17th century, Puritan settlers brought the concept of an English cottage to Massachusetts, making necessary style adaptations for the harsh New England winters. This simple, highly functional design was later coined a “Cape Cod House” in 1800 by Yale University President Reverend Timothy Dwight IV, and its name and iterations remain decidedly recognizable today. The original Cape Cod house was a cozy, one-floor rectangular structure with low ceilings and a large central chimney, which provided warmth to all of the adjacent living spaces. Built from accessible wood such as pine and oak, the façade was highly symmetrical and covered in cedar shingles or simple clapboard. The gabled roof was designed to minimize the weight of New England snowfalls and most homes had shutters, which could be closed in the winter to help protect from the outdoor elements. The original Cape style house became popular with settlers because of its easy construction, manageable size, and heat efficiency. While some generations of settlers remained in their original, stout Cape, those with the financial wherewithal appreciated the relative ease with which they could add on to the home as their families grew.

Commonly known as the Vincent House, this home was built in 1672 and is the oldest surviving residence on Martha’s Vineyard. It was home to the Vincent Family for eight generations and is now owned and maintained by the Vineyard Trust as a museum.

The early 20th century saw a revival of the Cape Cod style, spearheaded by the influential Boston architect Royal Barry Wills who reintroduced the Cape as a modern living option. Famous for his elegant simplicity, Wills was described as someone who “wanted only to design the indigenous New England Home supremely well.” Wills appreciated the strikingly symmetrical and unadorned Cape but realized that – while his clients admired the imagery of the Colonial era – they wanted modern amenities and space in their new home. Garages were added along with second-floor dormers. These dormers not only provided necessary light, they changed what was once unused loft (attic) space into livable rooms with cozy nooks and crannies.

This book features examples of the firm’s work from its founding to the present, with an emphasis on more recent houses that have been built throughout New England.

The housing boom of Post World War II saw a second revival of the iconic, adaptable Cape in locations such as Levittown, New York, the nation’s first planned suburb designed to house returning GI’s and their families. Over the years, the original “Half Cape” grew into what is called a “Three Quarter” and “Full Cape” with added wings and additional multi-paned, double-hung windows flanking the front door.

Today, our firm works with many classic homes and the iconic Cape remains a favorite. When designing or restoring a historic home, we often talk about the storyline or script that we create for each project. As detailed in our book, Timeless, this real or imagined narrative can describe a home’s origins and how the addition of different architectural elements came about over the years. The Cape Cod house lends itself well to this storytelling given its historic, humble beginnings and adaptability throughout the centuries.

One of the most popular homes we’ve designed on Martha’s Vineyard, the HGTV Dream Home 2015, tells the imagined story of a turn of the century Cape once used as hunting and fishing camp in Edgartown’s Katama plains. When designing the house, we created a storyline inspired by the island’s history. We imagined finding the simple, clapboard Cape nestled on the plain near two similar, smaller structures once used for curing meat and storing gear. In our narrative, we attached the three original buildings using porches and breezeways to create a single, light-filled Cape with shingled wings and an open, modern floor plan. The implied history of this new design captures the romance of the Vineyard while maintaining the Cape’s original symmetry, charm, and clean lines.

Once a study of simplicity and function – born from necessity – the unadorned Cape has evolved into a classic icon whose architectural adaptability and grace continues to stand the test of time.

Atlantic Drive, Edgartown

Atlantic Drive, Edgartown

Designed to Optimize Ocean Views

South Beach, located in the Katama region of Edgartown, is one of the most spectacular and scenic beaches on Martha’s Vineyard. Situated on the southern side of the island, South (or Katama) Beach is a three-mile barrier beach with surf on one side and a protected salt pond on the other. It directly faces the Atlantic Ocean and represents a picturesque view for visitors and homeowners. Running parallel to South Beach is magnificent Atlantic Drive, which begins and ends at points often referred to as the “left” and “right” forks of South Beach. We have had the pleasure of designing several homes along Atlantic Drive, all of which presented similar location challenges. The shared objective for each similarly scaled program was to maximize ocean views, and the common challenge was adhering to strict, 30-foot height restrictions. This was particularly demanding given that each property was separated from the ocean by the drive as well as tall, rambling sand dunes.

To overcome this challenge and capture water views from as many primary rooms as possible, we designed each of these homes with an “upside down” layout. Sometimes referred to as “reverse living,” an upside-down house positions the main living areas such as the kitchen, dining and family rooms, along with the Master suite, on the top floor. These upper-level rooms all enjoy exceptional water views and continuous coastal breezes. To harmoniously connect the upper living areas to the pool and outdoor spaces, we introduced full-length decks and hidden outdoor stairways.

Although the first-floor living spaces of these upside down homes do not access ocean views, we were careful to seamlessly integrate them into the home’s overall functionality and vertical living style. Open floor plans with easy outdoor access and inviting stairways to the upper levels ensure that the space is vibrant, inviting and fully connected.

Each of the homes we designed on Atlantic Drive shared similar programs and objectives, and it was extremely important to us that each had a unique and independent solution. We looked to McKim, Mead & White as a historical reference for the first home we built, and for each of the following four we created a specific script and storyline. Additionally, we made certain that each home had optimal sunset views to the west and was carefully situated as not to obstruct another’s view.

When building near the water, a non-traditional, upside down layout can effectively optimize distant views that might otherwise be missed. On Atlantic Drive, our inverted home designs creatively solved our design challenges while enhancing our clients’ visual and living experiences.

Christmas in Edgartown Walking Tour

Join Patrick Ahearn and the New England Chapter of the ICAA during the 36th Annual Christmas in Edgartown for a historic walking tour, as Patrick discusses the history of Martha’s Vineyard architecture and how the town of Edgartown has evolved over the years. The tour begins at 2:00 p.m. and will conclude with a festive reception at the Carnegie Library.

 

Date: Saturday, December 9, 2017
Time: 2:00 to 5:00 pm
Location: Carnegie Library, 58 North Water Street, Edgartown, MA 02539
Tickets: $40 for ICAA-NE Members, $60 for Non-MembersPurchase tickets here.
 

About Christmas in Edgartown

December 7-10, 2017

Voted Best of the Vineyard for the third year in a row, Christmas in Edgartown is a weekend festival you don’t want to miss! Every year through the various events, Christmas In Edgartown helps raise over $50,000 for island-wide charities and non-profits. Come be apart of the holiday magic!

Find more information and events here.

New Chair of MV Preservation Trust

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Patrick Ahearn FAIA was recently appointed the new chair on the Board of Trustees of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.

For more than 40 years, the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust has acquired, preserved and managed the endangered historical landmarks of Martha’s Vineyard, restoring living institutions to their rightful place in Island life. The Preservation Trust is a private, not-for-profit organization supported by contributions from the public and through the management of its historic properties.

All of these irreplaceable landmarks were badly deteriorated, and in many cases, threatened by demolition when the Trust undertook their restoration and permanent care. The Preservation Trust’s uniquely active Board of Trustees has assumed a leadership role as stewards of the Island’s architectural legacy. Through the commitment and generosity of the Board, members, and supporters, we are able to keep these landmarks, which are so essential to the unique character of Martha’s Vineyard, in the mainstream of Island life.

As an advocate for preservation and after restoring multiple properties owned and maintained by the trust pro-bono, Patrick is thrilled for the opportunity to contribute as the Chair on the Board of this wonderful organization.

For more information, visit their website here.
For a complete list of properties owned and maintained by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, click here.

Patrick Presents HGTV Dream Home 2015 to GMC

This May, GMC, the sponsor for HGTV Dream Home 2015, is hosting an event for their corporate and local Boston dealers. Prior to the tour, Patrick will be giving insight on the architecture of the home as well as his influence on the Vineyard over the past four decades.

Every home Patrick designs begins with a narrative on how the home could have developed over the years.  Patrick explains, “The concept of scripting allows one the opportunity to embrace the client’s more utilitarian program with a sense of history or timelessness that results in houses that look as natural and authentic as possible.” Patrick will be sharing his narrative with GMC.

Here is a sneak preview:

“A hunter or fisherman would build a cottage – that first piece is at the center of the home. Then, a boat shed is built to the left of this structure, two stone chimneys to heat the main building are put in place, porches are enclosed over time and you see how the design begins to fill out.”

The Dream Home is just one of many timeless pieces that Patrick has designed on Martha’s Vineyard. With each of his 137 houses and public buildings in Edgartown Village, Patrick’s improvement of their aesthetic by virtue of the human scale and classic forms worked to serve beyond the buildings’ specific function and enhanced the greater public realm in their collective whole. The human experience in Edgartown Village is characterized by a nostalgic era full of lovingly restored family homes, shops, and restaurants that capture the historical essence of the locale yet live the way people want to live today. Patrick’s vision for establishing a sense of place for Edgartown Village was realized with The Boathouse and Atlantic Restaurants as catalysts in the revitalization of Main Street, the harbor front, and the Edgartown commercial district. Edgartown Village epitomizes Patrick’s design philosophy as it responds to the collective whole with human scaled architecture, resulting in the intersection of aestheticism, function, and vitality. Sidewalks were widened, tree and lightscapes created, street furniture installed, new public access to the water front and docks and additional outdoor dining at the water’s edge followed, all breathing vitality into the town, and creating a “sense of place” where one did not exist previously.

Patrick is looking forward to the opportunity to share his inspiration and thoughts when designing the Dream Home and Edgartown Village. Be on the lookout for GMC’s Spring 2015 issue! Patrick is featured in an article discussing his inspiration for the HGTV Dream Home 2015.

View the HGTV Dream Home 2015 here. View The Field Club Recreation Facilities here.

 

Best of the Vineyard 2015

Vote PA: Best of the Vineyard 2015

Patrick Ahearn Architect is nominated for “Best Architecturalahearn_field-club_11 and/or Residential Design Company” in the Best of the Vineyard 2015 by Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. Patrick has designed over 200 properties on Martha’s Vineyard including homes, restaurants, the Field Club, and this years HGTV Dream House.

Last year, Patrick won Best of the Vineyard 2014. Let’s keep it up! Last day to vote is APRIL 5, 2015.

Instructions:

  1. Go to http://bestofthevineyard.secondstreetapp.com/l/Best-of-the-Vineyard-2015/Ballot/Services
  2. Register/Login
  3. Pick the category: Services
  4. Under “Best Architectural and/or Residential Design Company” vote Patrick Ahearn

Thank you for taking the time to vote!

 

HGTV Dream Home 90 Second Tour

 

Want to know what it feels like to live in a HGTV Dream HomehgtvTour designed by Patrick Ahearn? Take one or more of the video tours for a full experience of the different spaces! The front entrance opens up to a great room, dining room, and a spacious kitchen. The right wing of the home holds the master living space including: a master bedroom, master bath, dressing room, closet, and a master patio. The left wing consists of the guest room and bath, kid’s bedroom and bath, laundry room, and a garage which will hold a 2015 GMC Acadia Denali. To wrap it up, there is welcoming back patio great for entertaining!

There is still time to enter. Sweepstakes is open until February 17, 2015. Don’t miss out! Head on over to HGTV to enter.