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Seamless Integration
How A Multiphased Project Is Smoothly Completed

By Charlie Utz Photography by Gil Jacobs & Charlie Utz

The devil is in the details. When Master Builder Doug Best first started peeling the onion layers away on a project that was supposed to be a pretty straight-forward renovation of a somewhat modest home in a quiet development on the outskirts of Edgartown, a lot of hidden problems started to became apparent.

The project was to be completed in two phases first the main house, then a two car garage with an apartment would follow. The work on the main house, upon discovery would have a very different outcome than what was originally conceived.

The family that purchased the existing home had used it as a vacation home for years. The house proved fully sufficient for that purpose but the owners always dreamed of taking it to the next level. When they were ready, they started talking to builders about their dream of expansion–closing in a back deck, turning it into a three season family-room, raising the roof to create a second-story, accommodating a new master suite, tearing down walls and a drop ceiling to allow an open kitchen, dining and living room space under a cathedral ceiling. They began shopping around to find the right builder with a simular vision. Most of the responses they got were the same: they were continually told “this house is a tear-down.”

Then a funny thing happened, they met Builder Doug Best in a virtual twist of fate. Their two families and friends just happened to be camped-out next to each other on a July 4th evening at State Beach to watch the fireworks from across the water in Edgartown. As often happens, this kind of friendly atmosphere makes for fast acquaintances and stories were exchanged. The man who was looking for a builder had met a builder with a friendly, likable demeanor and a positive attitude. They agreed to meet days later at the house, to take a look at the idea.

Doug recalls the sense he had while making the initial, rather detailed inspection, “the house had good bones.” he said, “this didn’t have to be a tear-down.”

The owners, John and Shelia Priore, were practically Islanders. Originally from Rhode Island. John had been coming to the Island since he was five, and spent virtually every summer here. John’s parents, Vito and Carol Priore, had a home in Oak Bluffs, and soon settled into a larger home in Edgartown that could easily accommodate their growing family.

Fast forward twenty years–after college, families and careers were established, John gets a call from his father telling him that the house across the street from them was on the market. John recalls, “It was a no-brainer, the owner was moving up, and two doors down. The deal was quick and affordable.”

John and Shelia’s dream of owning a place where they could enjoy their Island summers surrounded by family and friends was now a reality, and the seeds of expansion were now planted and starting to grow.

Ultimately, John and Shelia found in Doug a knowledgeable, trustworthy and capable steward to fulfill their dreams.

With practically a handshake agreement, work began in the off-season and Doug started peeling-back layers to reveal those bones and figure out the steps necessary to realize the Priores’ dream.

“This house was made possible by the smart phone,” says John, “all the while Doug would e-mail pictures to us in Atlanta, showing the progress and helping us make the constant decisions necessary to further it along.”

“There were many revelations in a project like this,” says Doug, “the challenges and solutions were numerous.” In the end the Priores got their dream and a lot more. One happy result, due to some problems with the foundation work, Doug suggested “they go all out, while we were at it, and excavate the crawl-space below the first floor into a full finished basement.” The Priores agreed and John now says “that basement is the true heart of the home, with a spacious family room perfect for entertaining, gaming or just relaxing.”
Phase two was the garage/guest house. Doug researched the existing homes in the neighborhood to make his case to the homeowners association and Zoning Board for the expanded building. With approvals in hand work began on the second structure which comfortably and seamlessly attaches itself in the look and style of the larger home. The over-sized garage accommodates two cars with plenty of storage for bikes, kayaks and the outdoor furniture in the off-season. The one bedroom, one full bath apartment features a spacious kitchen with island seating opening onto a comfortable living area. The apartment boasts a 240 square foot deck overlooking the connecting patio, the fire pit and hot tub tucked beneath a dreamy pergola. The outdoor area acts as a “transition” bringing together the two structures and provides space for all sorts of “under the stars” living, dining and entertaining, including a huge exterior mounted flat screen TV.

“Kudos for the creative finishing touches to the landscape design and execution go to Andy Marek of Marek Tree and Land” says Doug, “as well as the fire pit and walkway stonework by Greg Pyden of Rockwell Masonry.” There’s even a six-hole putting green for endless hours of practicing one’s game or just horsing around with the kids.

In the end what started out as an owner/client relationship with a building contractor has evolved into a sincere friendship. The Priores and the Best family find themselves together entertaining on many occasions dining in, and out. Doug’s crew assists with year-round general management of the Priore properties. Doug has even done major construction projects for John’s brother Tom, in Katama. They all consider each other extended family and wouldn’t want it any other way.

For more information contact:D Best Conctruction, Call 508-737-3278 or click: To contact Doug Best via e-mail: