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photo of Martha’s Vineyard Horizon House
Photo: Aaron Leitz

Martha’s Vineyard Horizon House

Martha's Vineyard, MA

Martha’s Vineyard Horizon House

Martha's Vineyard, MA

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

A summer retreat for a couple with grown children, Martha’s Vineyard Horizon House provides a comfortable living space for two with room to host extended family and friends. The home nestles into the gentle slope of the hillside, ensuring privacy from surrounding properties while capturing views to Squibnocket Pond and the sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Imagined as three glass pavilions in the landscape, the home spans a master suite, central common area and guest wing. A long circulation spine connects each volume, punctuated by large skylights and clerestory windows to wash the interior with daylight. At the southern edge, the master suite includes a bedroom, bathroom, integrated dressing room, small sitting room and shaded patio. The central, common gathering space includes an open kitchen, dining and living room, as well as a dramatic bowsprit deck that cantilevers into the landscape.

Capping the home’s north end, the guest wing includes a bedroom and open studio space. This studio can be converted into two additional guest rooms through a moveable bookshelf with integrated Murphy bed. The guest wing and central area frame a large covered patio, allowing the activity of the home to flow between indoor and outdoor zones. The strong horizontal line of the home’s cantilevered roof structure follows the contours of the landscape and further protects this large gathering space from summer heat and ocean winds.

Set into the hillside below the main house, a detached cottage provides additional space for guests while preserving views across the landscape. To further integrate the built environment with the topography of the site and maximize outdoor living opportunities, the guest cottage’s roof also functions as a deck and gathering space for the family.

Martha’s Vineyard Horizon House is designed to foster widespread connections to the landscape, while acknowledging that the environment can be harsh. Operable windows throughout the volumes function as “portholes” to support passive ventilation. Three external showers allow for easy transition between indoor and outdoor activities. In deference to strong coastal storms, the home also features a sliding shutter system of vertical wood slats that safeguard the expansive glazing. The shutters’ vertical lines contrast with the home’s horizontal cedar siding to communicate architectural proportions even when fully enclosed.

Martha's Vineyard Horizon House is a true island home. It engages the landscape as intentionally and directly as possible, with big doors and windows and a very open sense of movement between inside and outside. While it has a modern architectural language, the home is very much about fostering the kind of outdoors‑oriented lifestyle that people look for in Martha’s Vineyard Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal
The design of Martha's Vineyard Horizon House embraces the horizon line: the meadow, the beachhead, other islands and the water beyond. It’s a low‑slung home that stretches across the site to trace that horizon, similar to the experience you would have on a boat. And, like a boat, the details are very clean and efficient, everything thoughtfully considered for both form and function. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal




McCarthy, Michael. “Castles in the Sand.” Modern Luxury Boston Common, Jun. 2021, 64-67. Print.

Moskow, Keith and Robert Linn. Martha’s Vineyard: New Island Homes, New York: Monacelli Press, 2021, 126-139. Book.