Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hellooo Martha's Vineyard

Yes, it's true, I have indeed left Nantucket (at least until next summer).  It seems appropriate to visit Martha's vineyard today because this morning, I finished a book by Richard North Patterson entitled Fall from Grace which was set entirely on Martha's Vineyard.  In the Afterword, the author explains that he has always wanted to set one of his novels here because "for almost two decades" it has been his summer home.  He sort of got me in a Martha's Vineyard mood, but Patterson is not alone in spending time there.  It has been the summer home to many people, one of them being a dear friend who always speaks of it fondly.  Never having been there myself (always passed it on the way to Nantucket), I listened to my friend and know how people feel about their Vineyard homes - loving and loyal.  So today, let's look at this pretty island just off the coast of Cape Cod.

via Content in a Cottage 
The following images are from Catherine Fallin and Elizabeth Talbot's book Martha's Vineyard with photos by Taylor Lewis.  It was borrowed by me for this post from my friend, the "Vineyard"-lover.  Though published in 1992, 20 years ago, the owner's love and pride in the island show through just like my friend's do and just as my author's did.
Built in 1752, Tide Bells "was moved from Tea Lane in Chilmark around 1923.  The house was dismantled, and all its pieces numbered, moved by truck and then reassembled" here above Nantucket Sound.

Entry hall of Tide Bells.  On Pinterest I have lately been pinning many cool, funky, and industrial flavored rooms. When I see the purity of this room, it takes me back to my colonial roots as seen in my very first posts.

Originally called the parlor, this room is filled with "morning light" as attested to by the sea-filled views out the windows.

The cozier winter den.

The kitchen floors were painted red when the owners bought the house, but were stripped back to the "natural wood."  One board was 21" wide.

Love Canton china in this antique Welsh dresser or...

on the dining room table.

The nearby West Chop lighthouse.
(Now, Missy, I will return your lovely books.)

The Elle Decor below is from the summer of 1990.  I can't believe I saved it that long and really must 
be more of a discard-er, but see if you could have discarded these images.

In it, Charles Myer's does a make-over: "from sea shack to beach cottage."  Here we see the make-over in a sea of dune grass.

Next, the dining room, its deck and the glorious view of the sea beyond.

Because of the Vineyard's strict building code, Myer couldn't add rooms with any new uses "nor could he expand beyond the perimeters of the existing house."  Solution, he built upward.  Here we see the effect, the two-storied window space above the kitchen.  All  the white adds to a feeling of spaciousness.

A table scape below on white wicker table.

The exposed rafters "crown" the only bedroom.  The house is just under 850 square feet - a real beach cottage.

Another table scape, this time with vintage glass and dune grass.

Porcelain sink and tub of the only bathroom.

Side stairs leading to the living room which unfortunately is never shown.

Built-in storage in the only bedroom.
Because this beach cottage is so snug, it could never accommodate an entire Pollan family reunion.  Instead, the owners, including actress daughter Tracy Pollan and her husband Micheal J. Fox, take turns.  In 1990, I always thought this house charming with all its snug whiteness, and in 2012, I still do. 

Let's transition now, to Meg Ryan's home on Martha's Vineyard as seen in the June 2010 issue of Elle Decor.  She did not have the same problems as the Pollans.  As she explains it, on a visit to the island, she fell in love with a large cedar-shingled house on a seven-acre property. “It’s absolutely beautiful, just operatic,” she says. “It’s situated on a small rise and surrounded by water. The sun rises over a shallow bay on one side of the house and sets over a deep harbor on the other. And then the moon comes up over the bay.”  The house itself, however, was far less than perfect - a large, cavernous, dark, post and beam house that had been transported across the Atlantic.  According to Ryan, it needed walls and whiteness.  Do you remember reading about the changes she and her designer, Marsha Russell, made?  If not, here is a refresher course.

The island itself.

The actress herself.  She's so cute.  (Besides having my seven fantasy houses, could I also please look like Meg Ryan?)

Not a dark cavern now, but white and airy.  So island-y.

Her dining room with the vintage sign.

I absolutely love her kitchen.  A kitchen is my favorite room in any house and Ryan's has so much that I love.  Black cabinets below, white beamed ceiling above, a great vintage island, Wolf range and glass door refrigerator.  I could live in this room.

Let's make it bigger.

And a pantry!!  I would kill for a pantry.

And its own breakfast room.  It just gets better and better.

Remember the patio on the cover?  Also great.

Can't remember what this room is, but it has a great, huge mirror, and a sliding barn door.  Where is the magazine when I need it?  Does anyone remember where this entry room leads to or from?

Bedroom with a similar door.  I'm so embarrassed I don't know where the door in the above room leads.  This would never happen to Joni Webb. 

Very white, very pretty guest room.  The lighting everywhere is so easy-breezy.  It all suits the house perfectly, don't you think?

Again, I love the funky lighting here, and the cool sink and the large mirror and the crocks below.  And I bet the counters are concrete.  Love concrete counter tops.

Being a bath person, I also love this tub.  Hate to be so repetitious, but there is not a thing in this house I do not love.  (I even love the mystery room.)

Lucky Meg.

Beautiful Martha's Vineyard.

Now, apropos of nothing except that I stumbled across them, I'm going to end with images from one of the Cote Sud, Ouest, or Est magazines.  I tore these pages from one and do not know which it was.  (Hence, I seldom tear out pages.)  Thought these images were beautiful even though they are from France and not Martha's Vineyard.  It is a warm day today in upstate New York and these pics still say summer and summer food enjoyment.  

Delicious-looking eggplant, pepper and tomato tart.

Ragout of beans and carrots and mushrooms.

Summery dessert table.

Raspberries and panna cote.

Peach tart.    
Pictures from the Cote magazines are always so beautiful and scan so well when out of the binding.  They are not of Martha's Vineyard, but were irresistible.  Hope you liked them and hope you liked my brief dalliance on the Vineyard.  

It's off to Maine for a few days to visit friends.  Then some family visits when I return so it may be a bit longer before I post again.  Perhaps, by that time I will discover the origin of Meg's mystery room.

Be well-


  1. Billie,
    I am so glad to see this post about Marthas Vineyard houses! I just looovvveee this style! The first house you showed us is incredible beautiful!! I could live there! Love that paneling!!
    Most interesting post to me ! Thank you!!
    Wishing you a nice trip to Maine!!

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  3. Will await your return + Have a wonderful time

  4. Hi Billie, Meg's house is indeed perfection (her kitchen is my dream,) but the Pollan house does have that ideal summer-house feeling. Not too big, nothing too precious, easy to care for. It's pretty great. Also, love the Cote Sud photos. Ahh, summer in France.

  5. Oh, you hit the core! Kitchens, islands and actress.....
    Bon voyage!
    Just back from France, such a glorious place....

  6. Hi, Billie - Hope you are having a great time in Maine! Elle 1990?? I'm so glad you saved it for us. I would love for you to post more of these oldies but goodies. The first home is beautiful and a true classic. The rooms are edited, warm and fresh. Everything carefully chosen and able to breathe!

  7. Hi Billie, loved it all! The Elle Decor was a keeper for sure, thanks for sharing. Pollan cottage is wonderful! Meg's house amazing, love the patio cover. Hope your trip is great!!

    1. Was great! More about that in future blog. Now off to ready myself for company arriving at 4.