Launch Slideshow

Sea Catch

Sea Catch

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    Brian Vanden Brink

    The variety of rooflines and room projections on the oceanfront elevation help make the house appear smaller than it really is.

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    Brian Vanden Brink

    The front façade and guest wing meet to create an entry courtyard landscaped by Kris Horiuchi.

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    Brian Vanden Brink

    A shingled guest house sits within view of the terraced rear yard.

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    Brian Vanden Brink

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    Brian Vanden Brink

    The imposing granite fireplace, visible from the house's front entry, anchors the living room.

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    Brian Vanden Brink

    Rather than full-blown walls, a series of freestanding cherry cabinetry pieces divides the major rooms.

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    Hutker Architects

  • Credit: Brian Vanden Brink

Details: Full Circle

No New England summer house feels complete without a screened-in porch. Hutker, Regan, and their clients chose to make this one round so it wouldn't block the view from the kitchen and dining room. “It's an easy shape to see around,” Regan says. “We wanted something without edges to call a lot of attention to themselves—the porch just seems a lot less obtrusive this way.” The roundness also plays off the curves and circular windows that crop up throughout the house. The porch's low-maintenance bluestone floor and inviting ocean view make it the perfect place to enjoy a casual lunch after a morning of swimming.

Because of its conical roof, each ceiling board had to be hand cut and tapered at just the right angle. Foreman Gary Chambers happens to be a math whiz, according to Regan, and he calculated the dimensions of each board rather than using the standard trial-and-error method. “They pulled it off perfectly,” Regan says. The building team also carved out custom window channels to hold removable screens. While most of the porch's complex detailing is wood, Avakian did substitute Flex Trim flexible molding for wood on the exterior crown molding, without a discernable aesthetic difference. “It helps you get that round shape and saves the client a little money,” he says.

  • Credit: Meghan Drueding

The Builder: Home Grown

Bob Avakian moved to Martha's Vineyard for the summer 32 years ago, and he's lived there ever since. He opened his own company, Vineyard Construction Services, in 1989, after nearly two decades as a carpenter. Avakian tries to hire staff members and subs from the Vineyard as often as possible—the only non-locals he used on this house were the insulators. “I like to support the local economy,” he says. “You see people you work with at the high school basketball games, and it's kind of nice.” Employing workers who live on the island also has practical advantages. If they're needed on the site unexpectedly, or for follow-up services after completion, they can get there more quickly and easily than mainlanders.

The talent pool on the island runs surprisingly deep. “A lot of people have come here and gotten into working with their hands,” says Avakian. “There are a lot of crafters, a lot of boat builders turned carpenters and the other way around.”That suits him well, since he lavishes extra care on the houses he builds. He's usually working on a couple at a time, mostly architect-designed residences that take 18 months to two years to construct. The house he built for himself and his family on the eastern end of the island incorporates passive solar heating, a topic that's interested him ever since the 1970s energy crisis.