Martha’s Vineyard, MA




  • Private Residence – Aquinnah, MA


  • 2,500sf new house with dramatic ocean views
  • “Shack-Chic” styling


  • 2008

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Replace old beach house with a new house that retained the existing character of the beach house on the side of a steep embankment.


The central design challenges for this house were to provide a house built into a steep embankment and to retain an informal style with a new house. We took advantage of the steep slope by providing a one-story house with a full lower level containing two bedrooms and a bathroom – all fully above the slope grade with dramatic water views. This decision enabled a low building profile from the street (one-story house) with a full two-story house on the water side with dramatic views. We designed the house as a collection of colliding sheds, each with their own pitched shed roof and at an angle to the next shed – creating an image of building over time rather than all at once. This decision also allowed for cathedral ceilings with dramatic windows throughout the main floor. To further enhance the beach house image, we covered the interior walls with plywood rather than plaster and covered the seams with a batten system, creating an informal beach house interior. We also provided for an exposed wood ceiling with large collar ties and central ridge along with a central beam spanning the full width of the house with no supporting posts – maintaining a completely open floor plan and providing support for a “loft” within the space for children and extra guests. We used a mixture of wood and tiles for flooring materials, also used in an informal way to further enhance the informal beach house feeling.