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Rosbeck Now
A Fresh Perspective From An Established Builder

By Nina Ferry, Photography by Charlie Utz

There’s something to be said about a commitment to lifelong learning and a dedication to not only building the best money can offer, but also ensuring the proper care and nurturing of those houses long after the hammers have stopped. Known for their quality craftsmanship and contracting style, rapport with clients, and completion of projects in a timely manner, Rosbeck Builders Corporation is an Island company that supports the local community and is cognizant of providing its clients with designer homes, while maintaining the small-town charm many look for when they seek Island retreats.

Ownedand operated by Peter Rosbeck II, Rosbeck Builders is a family company with Peter II now at the helm. Peter’s brother Ted owns and manages Island Pools and Spas. Island Pools and Spas has been designing, building and maintaining custom swimming pools on Martha’s Vineyard for more than 25 years.

Transforming a company built by his father, Peter found his real interest in fostering relationships with architects for custom home building, rather than the high-end land and home development style his father’s company specialized in. After years of successful renovations and new building, Peter says, “It’s important to find what you love; and pursue a career where you can grow.”

Constructing many traditional New England homes, Rosbeck Builders is also eager to whet their palate with any architectural concept. “When we approach contemporary or modern style homes, we conduct a lot of research to learn how to do it right,” he says. “In fact, there’s a current project they are working on in Chilmark that’s very modern–pushing the envelope on every element of design and construction. And as difficult a task that may be, sometimes it’s that challenge that makes it exciting for both the crew and myself.”

Believing that a solid reputation is integral to working and living in a small community, Peter strives to bring client satisfaction and timeliness to each project. “Providing the best for clients is important for any business, especially on the Island. It’s such a tight community and when you develop a business based on customer satisfaction, your reputation is everything. We enjoy hearing from and visiting clients long after their homes are completed. In some cases we’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with clients on multiple projects. That leaves us with a great feeling of pride and accomplishment.”

Specializing in high-end homes, this featured home is one of many by Rosbeck Builders that caters to individual needs. Designed by architect, Patrick Ahearn, of Patrick Ahearn Architect LLC, this historic 1840s Captain’s Home is unassumingly nestled into downtown Edgartown. In what Patrick calls the greater good theory, where his designs preserve the historic integrity of the homes and the neighborhood, he says, “It was a very successful remodel, blending into the streetscape, looking as if it had been there for hundreds of years, although every element of the house is essentially new.”

Reconstructing this mid nineteenth century house, mindful of preserving its facade and elements such as the original stairwell, Patrick noted all historic houses present structural challenges, especially when upholding the streetscape. In this particular project, he says, “we jacked up the house, created a basement, set it on a new foundation and carefully re-assembled the frame stud by stud and built a substantial two-story addition and a garage.” Interested in renewing historic homes to fit today’s technologic and environmental standards, Patrick has worked with Rosbeck Builders for over 20 years to preserve timeless Island architecture. When asked about their longstanding business relationship, Patrick says he enjoys working with Rosbeck Builders because “they are consummate professionals with a very well organized team. Each member has a great attitude and they are familiar with my details, appreciating what I bring to the process.”

Providing the convenience of proximity to Edgartown Village, while maintaining privacy and elegance, this historic Whaling era home is now outfitted with the modern conveniences quality building demands, while still maintaining the character of the original house. All throughout the house there are accents of a mariner’s life, rich wooden details, and clean lines. Peter says, “I love this property because it allows you that downtown village feel and accessibility of walking to restaurants and shops, while also experiencing the unexpected pleasure of entertaining at home on a private patio with views of Edgartown’s inner Harbor—a sanctuary in the middle of town.”

Learning something new from every project, Peter researched and learned the best techniques for salvaging and reinstalling the original antique pine flooring. Peter’s crew even discovered reams of 1890s Vineyard Gazette newspapers under the flooring possibly used as a draft barrier between the flooring and the sub floor. Rosbeck presented these treasures to the owners and they will soon be framed and displayed in the new home as a reminder of the home’s historic heritage. Through application of new techniques, collaboration with others, and recognizing his employees’ individual assets, Rosbeck Builders excels with strong organization and a talented team. “At different points in time, my whole crew worked on this house from the office and throughout the ranks, and it’s that cohesiveness that I build upon, our process isn’t reliant on one person, but on everyone pulling together and offering their expert talents,” says Peter.

Engaging in face-to-face meetings and implementing the latest technology from their office, one of their communication assets is an online building management platform that facilitates swift coordination of the multi-faceted building process. “Employing technology that provides architects and clients with frequent updates of construction progress is integral in involving the homeowners, and enables us to build on Island for people from all over the world,” says Peter. Able to post pictures, schedules, control estimates, and other administrative details, clients can share the pictures with family and friends, while monitoring the financial elements privately. This ability to communicate was fundamental in the success of this project. With the participation of very tuned-in clients in Texas this complete renovation and build-on was accomplished from start to finish in an astonishing nine months.

Limiting their annual projects to somewhere between six and ten, depending on scale and complexity, the company assures each project the full attention it needs. For Peter, the constructing of each house is a delicate jigsaw of focusing his employees where they excel and moving them between sites to uphold project deadlines. “We have around 15 full-time employees and through long-standing relationships, we contract some of the best subs on the Island. Our quality construction and reputation is upheld as a result of keeping people focused in what they specialize in and moving them accordingly. Whether it be framing, exterior trim, interior trim, or office administration, all of our employees each bring something to the table. I’m very proud of our people, they all embrace the high standards that make our company strong and successful.”

A self-proclaimed workaholic, Peter’s work perspective has matured as a result of his own family life, which allows him to understand the needs of clients with young children or grandchildren. Having been in this business for more than 25 years, he reflects, “back when I was younger, I was a workaholic and although I still am, I didn’t have the family that I have now. I’ve been married for almost five years and having a growing family—my wife Caitlin, my son Peter III, and my daughter Olive, gives me a different perspective. Now when I work with clients who have families, I apply a personal view by amending designs and construction around a family setting, I now see it with my own eyes. It brings a new element to building and design.”

Although Peter Rosbeck Sr. has moved on to other pursuits in Florida, Peter II still appreciates the strong relationship he has with his father. Peter says, “My dad and I, we’re both builders. We talk about building all the time and if we’re travelling together, we both find it fascinating to look at different architecture and building techniques in order to bounce ideas off of each other because we approach challenges and materials in a multitude of ways, which is a great addition to our relationship.”

Continuing a trend in generations, just as when Peter II was a kid, his son now accompanies him to jobsites. Proud of the lineal family nomenclature, Peter will encourage his son to carve his own path, but enjoys exposing him to the construction trade his father and grandfather have dedicated their professional efforts to. Fondly, he says, “my son, Peter Rosbeck III, comes to jobsites with me all the time and he reminds me of when I was a kid, waiting for my father who was always talking with contractors. And it’s funny, now when I see my son, I’m conscious of the fact that he’s waiting for me and I try to make those conversations a little bit shorter. And although he’s not even four, and I just attended his completion ceremony for his first year at Montessori pre-school, I feel fortunate to share this with him, as my father shared it with me.”

Although Rosbeck Builders’ client base is mainly word-of mouth, and repeat business, they still advertise locally and enjoy giving back to the community. From the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust to the Montessori School, there are many organizations that Peter and his business donate energy, time and money, especially the ice arena, where he serves on the board. Appreciating living on the Island and raising his family here, Peter affirms, “we always try to do anything we can to give back because that’s the Island way; it’s a close knit community where supporting local business and preservation efforts are integral for the future of the Island.”

Resources

Peter Rosbeck II, Rosbeck Builders Corporation, MVBP Box 13, 20 East Line Road, Edgartown, Massachusetts 02539, T 508.693.6300,
F 508.693.2890, www.rosbeckbuilders.com

Patrick Ahearn FAIA, Patrick Ahearn Architect LLC, Edgartown, MA 02539, Phone: 617-266-1710, www.patrickahearn.com