Project Description2004 CHDA
Special Award For Craftsmanship / Merit Award
The Custom Home Design Awards do not include a standing category for outstanding workmanship, but our judges insisted that this Martha's Vineyard, Mass., home deserved special recognition on that score. We could not agree more. Traditional buildings and contemporary buildings present very different challenges to a builder; traditional designs in their complex building forms and elaborate trim details, contemporary homes with exposed structural elements and minimalist detailing that can be even more demanding to build. A reinterpretation of Shingle-style forms and materials with a Modernist sensibility, this house presented builder Colin Whyte with the more difficult aspects of both. The results are impeccable.
"Most of us would be afraid to bring shingles into a house," one judge noted, "because of the very difficulty of getting things to line up." Here, the exterior shingles march straight through the house, their alternating bands of wide and narrow exposure running true from outside to inside. Horizontal elements that must line up perfectly with a shingle course—and do—are seemingly everywhere: countertops, window seats, door and window heads, even the custom HVAC registers. Everything lands effortlessly and exactly where it belongs. That precision fit between design and execution is evident throughout the house, as in the exposed joinery of the cupola framing, which is reflected in the pattern of the inlaid wood floor below. As one judge noted, "The entire interior is finished at a cabinetmaker's level of detail."