Vineyard Style Magazine, Capturing the Essence of Martha's Vineyard Living SUBSCRIBESUBSCRIBE

South Mountain
Island Housing Trust


How A Builder & Architect Create Mastery

By Nina Ferry, Photography by Charlie Utz

Martha’s Vineyard Construction Company, piloted by President, Colin Whyte, continues to not only build homes from concept to completion, but also orchestrates quality renovations, while maintaining
long-standing client and industry relationships. Sharing a commitment to provide clients with an individualized and seamless renovation experience, Martha’s Vineyard Construction partners with some of the most esteemed names in the industry, each partnership catering to the project style and needs of the client.

In what could arguably be “Martha’s Vineyard’s best kitchen,” a superlative assigned by its many guests, this renovated kitchen in the Cummins’ West Chop home is designed and executed down to the last dish. A collaborative effort by Martha’s Vineyard Construction Company, Inc., Joseph W. Dick Architecture, Inc., and Susan Thorn Interiors, this kitchen features minute details and custom built-ins accommodating a multitude of summer activities. “It’s a beach house. This kitchen, where all guests enter the home, needed to cater to sandy feet, ocean spray, and tennis racquets. Every detail of this space was meticulously thought out,” says Joseph.

Entertaining on Martha’s Vineyard requires a space that emanates elegance and functionality. Renovating this classic West Chop home is a testament to the rapport builders and architects establish with one another. After Joseph carefully notes the needs of the clients and discusses design approach with the decorator, both hand drawn and computer generated sketches and plans are developed, then shared with Colin and his crew. “In this house in particular,” Colin muses, “Joseph would clarify details to the crew on-site, even by sketching actual-size details directly onto the wall. Joseph still uses pencil; that’s one of the things I like about working with him. There’s no room for interpretation when it’s drawn on the wall—you know exactly what the client is looking for.” In response, Joseph noted the communication is easy between them and he appreciates the deep pool of talent and long-standing reputation of Colin’s company.

Connecting on various projects for over 30 years, Colin and Joseph relish these subtle masterpieces like the Cummins’ kitchen. A multi-step renovation, “We’ve worked on this house incrementally, consistently melding old and new. The kitchen was one of the last pieces of the house to be remodeled. It was a 70s era kitchen saddled with Formica and plywood cabinets” said Joseph, “and now it’s truly worthy of praise.” By installing reclaimed Heart Pine from Cataumet Saw Mills, selected to match the original Old Growth Fir flooring already in the home, the visual transition from old to new demonstrates how the two floorings closely relate, but aren’t the same, thus accenting the smooth transitions between remodeled rooms and bygone eras.

Bathed in natural light by seven large windows with single-paned bottoms, an unobstructed corner view of the garden highlights the delicate pale yellow hue of the trim and cabinets, painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Vanilla Ice Cream,” abutting walls of “Mannequin Cream,” colors chosen by the decorator. Both Colin and Joseph speak highly of working with Susan Thorn, who employs immaculate detail when fulfilling the clients’ wishes.

The highlights of this seaside kitchen comprise a formidable granite slab of Costa Smerelda, for the island countertop, handcrafted cabinets with valence lighting supported by small wooden brackets made by Martha’s Vineyard Construction, and extensive handcrafted molding that spans the cabinets, ceilings, and countertops. The incidental storage spaces above the cabinets allow for convenience and aesthetics, while Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances provide the homeowners with the finest quality. Hand selected pendant lights from Circa Lighting and Vaughan Designs illuminate the room with ambient light after the sun goes down. Another unique feature is the faucet, or lobster pot filler that juts out above the six-burner chef’s stove with side griddle. “It’s not so much the grandeur that makes this the Best Kitchen, but the individuality. Everything in this space has a place and a purpose,” says Joseph.

Able to “steal a little space out of kitchen,” the team focused on widening the China Closet and bar area–the hidden crown jewel of this kitchen–that diffuses the late afternoon glow and amber radiance of West Chop sunsets. Glass front cabinets displaying timeless china and glassware, while protecting them from dust and salt air, line this antique feature. “This kitchen has carefully laid-out parts, in areas specific to each task, such as multiple work stations, the pantry cabinetry, a tea station, even the sweet little bench by the door. These parts coalesce into a true cook’s kitchen; functional, handsome, and not without it’s delightful garden views and showpiece china cabinet,” says Joseph.

Believing “the construction process, materials, and end product must be of the highest quality,” Colin and his company specialize in this commitment. Always encouraging his clients to build using the best materials and best team, he usually finds if it’s their second house, or renovation, “they are not only willing, but excited to take the custom building to another level”; a level that Martha’s Vineyard Construction Company will deliver.


Colin Whyte, President
Martha’s Vineyard Construction Company, Inc.
PO Box 308 West Tisbury, MA 02575
Phone: 508.693.2300
Fax: 508.300.5354

Joseph W. Dick, AIA
Michele A. Maykel
Joseph W. Dick Architecture, Inc.
Yarmouthport, MA 02675
Phone: 508.362.1309

Susan Thorn, ASID
Susan Thorn Interiors, Inc.
Cross River, NY 10518
Phone: 914.763.5265.