Written By: Gay Giordano
Photography: Greg Premru
Celebrating his 36th year in practice, Patrick Ahearn FAIA has realized a lifelong dream – to build a structure to house his impressive car collection. Inspired since childhood by car design and its relationship to architecture, his aesthetic found its purchase in the clean, elegant lines and symmetric aspects found in the sleekest classic cars. The resulting “Car Barn” celebrates this unique relationship - its oversailing eaves bring to mind the headlights of a beautifully designed car; the windows are inspired by the grille teeth of his 1960 Corvette. A quintessential element of the Vineyard's idyllic rural landscape, the New England Vernacular Barn style was chosen as a testament to the island's rich agricultural heritage.
The 4,000 square foot barn is set on a large plot with significant landscaping on exclusive Field Club Lane in Martha's Vineyard. The grand allée approach with its cobblestone grass strip driveway lined with up lit trees leads to the garage portal.
This ground level houses his cars and sports a “club room” seating area where Patrick can relax and appreciate the cars and his auto memorabilia. There is a wet bar that serves this area as well as the small terrace and grill area nestled into the soft sloping grade of the property.
The two guest levels above are distinguished by a simple welcoming exterior detail: window boxes. The first of these levels features soaring double-height ceilings in the Master bedroom and living and dining areas. A compact kitchen with bar seating offers guests all the amenities of home. A stone fireplace surround and wood beam ceilings and antique barn floors are reinforcing elements of the New England style. The custom white paint throughout maximizes light. Reinterpreted cottage style windows incorporate lower pane slat shades so that light passes through the top panes uninterrupted.
The topmost level is reached by an open curved staircase in the main living area and leads to a small sitting room on the landing. The guest bedroom is approached through double Cathedral Top church-style doors. Steep eaves in the sleeping quarters are appropriate to the intimate, private space. The rooftop cupola with custom hanging pendant light completes the vernacular style of the project, and when lit at night is an homage to this island's nautical history and its many lighthouses.
The interior design is by Patrick's wife, Marsha Ahearn, done in the relaxed and bright island style which evokes summer living at its finest – elegant, comfortable, and casual. A nod to the surrounding agriculture is thematic: red and white flour sack-style fabrics, quilts, sisal area rugs, agriculturally themed artwork, a simple antique-style wooden pendant chandelier with candle lights and the Master bedroom’s large turned-post king sized bed.