Real Estate

Julie Flanders

Broker, Flanders Up-Island Real Estate, Chilmark

Number of years in real estate: 33

Hometown: Chilmark

Why are you in real estate? Genetics – third generation in family owned & operated firm

Philosophy: Treat others as you would like to be treated!

Specialty: Convoluted sales

Favorite room in your house: My kitchen — it’s the heart of the home

How did you come to own your own home? I always wanted to live in a stone house in Chilmark. I was lucky to be able to buy Stonehouse Farm when it came on the market about 20 years ago.

Favorite activity on the Island: horseback riding and swimming

Best souvenir of the Island: Chilmark Chocolates

Favorite thing to do once fall rolls around: Riding on the beach

Football team you root for: Pats, of course

Favorite place to watch football: My own family room!


Doug Reece. Realtor

ReMax On-Island

Number of years in real estate: 34 years

Hometown: St. Louis Missouri

Why are you in real estate? Great Question. I entered the real estate business at the suggestion of my grandfather who got his real estate license after retiring from a 40-year career as a tailor.  He “sold” me on the belief that helping people invest in their home is a great thing to do. And he was 100% correct! Hands down the best career there is.

Philosophy:  Success is all about options…explore your options

Specialty: Listening to what the client is saying…and understanding what they are not saying.  Truly understanding the client’s needs and goals is the key to helping them.

Favorite room in your house: Kitchen. I love to cook and that is where the parties all end up anyway.

How did you come to own your own home?  Right place at the right time

What would you be if you weren’t a Realtor? I can’t Imagine doing anything else. Your question needs a little tweaking, however. Not every Island real estate agent is a Realtor. A Realtor is an agent who chooses to be a member of the National Association of Realtors.

Favorite activity on the Island: Beach Picnics watching full moon rise over Chappy

Favorite thing to do once fall rolls around: Getting together with my island friends I haven’t seen since June because we are all busy with the summer craziness.

Marilyn Moses,  Associate Broker, Ocean Park Realty, Oak Bluffs

Number of years in real estate: 12 years. I love my job!

Hometown: Norwood

Why are you in real estate? Everyday I am always excited to get up and go to work. I know I have my dream job because it does not feel like work. I am passionate about helping people find their home on Martha’s Vineyard  Listening to your client’s real estate requirements is very important, however, don’t be afraid to show properties and offer suggestions if you know the market it is amazing — how many homes I have sold this way.

Specialty: My specialty is working with sellers and buyers in Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. I work with many island builders, consulting with designs on the trends in the current marketplace. I enjoy and have had great success selling in East Chop, Copeland District and the Martha’s VIneyard Campmeeting Association.

Favorite room in your house: I love to cook in my kitchen on Sundays. A perfect day to make “red sauce ” to enjoy with my family and friends with a great bottle of Red.

How did you come to own your own home? I own a home in Vineyard Haven very close to Owen Little Park Way and the Yacht Club. I immediately fell in love with the location and proximity to beach and West Chop.

Favorite activity on the Island: Morning walks, bike rides and runs around the Chop are some are my favorite activities. I also enjoy golfing the various island courses and hiking all the wonderful land bank trails. I love my life and would not change a thing.

The purchase will create affordable housing and preserve open space.

The 24 acre parcel, shown in purple, will be split between the Land Bank and the Island Housing Trust.

The Island Housing Trust (IHT) announced Wednesday it has combined forces with the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank to purchase a 15-acre parcel off State Road in Tisbury for $1.2 million. The two agencies joined together to “create year-round workforce housing with the strategic conservation of open space,” according to a press release.

The property off State Road near the Scottish Bakehouse is bisected by Red Coat Hill Road, an ancient way. IHT will propose an affordable housing development on six acres south of Red Coat Hill Road.

“The IHT intends to develop a neighborhood of 11 energy-efficient duplexes similar in design to the ones built at Sepiessa in West Tisbury, which have been well received by the community,” IHT executive director Philippe Jordi told The Times on Wednesday.

IHT sold the Land Bank an exclusive-use easement for the nine acres north of Red Coat Hill Road for $600,000, which entitles the land conservation agency to use the property as if it owns it. The parcel can be used for septic and wells for the affordable housing, provided IHT restores the land to a natural state, according to Land Bank executive director James Lengyel.


Failed effort resurrected

The parcel is part of a 24-acre property that was originally owned by the Norton family. In 2002, representatives of several Island religious organizations formed the nonprofit Bridge Housing Corporation and launched an initiative to build Bridge Commons, a Chapter 40B affordable housing project.

The corporation secured a loan for nearly $1.7 million from Boston Community Capital to buy a 14.8-acre Tisbury site at State and Deer Hill roads on which to build 22 homes in 11 two-family buildings.

The Land Bank opted to purchase the remaining nine acres, now part of Ripley’s Field Preserve.

In an option dated June 1, 2002, Bridge Housing agreed to pay the Norton family $2,000,000, subject to added payments that accrued until closing. The Bridge Commons project received approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in 2003 and Tisbury’s zoning board of appeals in 2004, and won court appeals brought by neighbors.

Closing finally occurred in 2007, resulting in two deeds, one to the Land Bank and one to Bridge, for an aggregate payment of $2,337,808.

In 2009, the Bridge Housing Common board announced a decision to put the Tisbury property on the market because the project had run out of financial resources and they could not repay the site purchase loan.

Continuing efforts to salvage Bridge Housing subsequently failed, and the land went into foreclosure. It was then bought by Boston Community Capital.


The power of one

Mr. Lengyel said that negotiations between Boston Community Capital, the Land Bank, and IHT began in February. “Both the Land Bank and the Island Housing Trust negotiated as a team with Boston Community Capital,” he told The Times. “We agreed we’d pay $1.2 million and split the cost 50/50.”

Mr. Lengyel said the initial spark for the deal came in November 2014 from a “citizen’s request” — a call to the Land Bank suggesting it purchase the property.

“We have a philosophy that anyone can call here at any time and say, ‘You should look at this land,’ but we don’t record the calls, per our policy, and I don’t believe the caller left a name,” he said.

In December the Land Bank said it was not interested in buying all of the property, but would be open to a cooperative acquisition with some affordable housing entity. In February, the IHT and Land Bank teamed up and began negotiations with Boston Community Capital.

Boston Community Capital is a nonprofit community-development financial institution that has invested over $1 billion in affordable housing and job creation in low-income communities since 1985, according to the company website.

“This never would have been possible without Boston Capital’s willingness to take a loss,” Mr. Jordi said. “They wanted to make the deal work because their mission is aligned with ours.”

The Land Bank has had a busy September. Earlier this month the commission announced the purchase of 22.6 acres along Pepperbush Way in West Tisbury for $2,350,000.

“Our acquisitions tend to come in clumps,” Mr. Lengyel said. “We can go stretches without any deals, but for some reason, they often happen all at once.”


Housing history

The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank is funded by a 2 percent surcharge on most real estate transfers. It is limited by its enabling legislation to land purchases for recreational and conservation purposes. That has not stopped it from cooperating with housing groups to create affordable housing opportunities, according to a Land Bank account.

In 1991 the Land Bank and the Dukes County housing authority cooperatively purchased land off Clam Point Road in West Tisbury; the housing authority obtained a three-acre site at a price of $18,420, on which it constructed four affordable rental units, and the Land Bank created the Sepiessa Point Reservation on the balance.

In 1992 the Land Bank and the town of Chilmark cooperatively purchased land off Tabor House Road in Chilmark; the town obtained 28 acres for various municipal goals, one of which was realized by the creation of two affordable house lots, and the Land Bank created the Peaked Hill Reservation on the balance.

In 1999 the Land Bank and the town of Edgartown cooperatively purchased land off Eighteenth Street in Edgartown; the town obtained 57 acres for various municipal goals, one of which was realized by the creation of the Morgan Woods affordable housing development, and the Land Bank created the Pennywise Preserve on the balance.

In 2003 the Land Bank and the Island Affordable Housing Development Corporation (IAHDC) cooperatively purchased land off Lobsterville Road in Aquinnah; the IAHDC obtained a 0.5-acre site at a price of $57,715, on which it created an affordable housing ground lease, and the Land Bank incorporated the balance into its Gay Head Moraine reservation.

In 2003 the Land Bank and town of Aquinnah cooperatively targeted land on Old South Road in Aquinnah; the town created two affordable house lots, and the Land Bank incorporated the balance into its Gay Head Moraine reservation.

In 2004 the Land Bank and the Island Housing Trust Corporation (IHTC) cooperatively purchased land off Takemmy Path in Tisbury; the IHTC obtained a one-acre site at a price of $48,430, on which it sited three affordable housing ground leases, and the Land Bank incorporated the balance into its Wapatequa Woods Reservation.

In 2006 the Land Bank purchased, for $15,714, a conservation restriction from the Island Housing Trust Corporation (IHTC) at its Twin Oaks site at the roundabout in Oak Bluffs, as part of a plan creating three affordable housing ground leases; the conservation restriction was incorporated into the Land Bank’s Weahtaqua Springs Preserve.

In 2007 the Land Bank and the Island Housing Trust Corporation (IHTC) cooperatively purchased land on State Road in West Tisbury; the IHTC obtained a four-acre site at a price of $350,168, on which it sited eight affordable housing ground leases on Eliakim’s Way, and the Land Bank incorporated the balance into its John Presbury Norton Farm.

In 2013 the town of Chilmark obtained, at no cost, four affordable house lots abutting the Land Bank’s Tiasquam Valley Reservation as a result of a tripartite agreement involving the transfer of various properties among and between it and the Land Bank and a private family.

Making form follow function (or, getting your house to suit your passions).

When Ed Merck went looking for a house on the Vineyard, he tested the acoustics with his bass recorder. – Photos by Michael Cummo

Does it ever seem as if our lives are guided by a set of flukes? A couple of years ago, Ed Merck, retired entrepreneur, musician, sailor, and author, could never have foreseen that in these early blue-and-gold days of September 2015, he’d be standing with his Renaissance alto recorder under the chapel-like ceiling of his house in West Tisbury, lofting perfect notes to resonate against high pine beams.

A glance at Ed's shelves reveals much about his life.
A glance at Ed’s shelves reveals much about his life.

Rewind a few years back to a saga rich with adventure: In the spring of 2009, Ed, freshly retired and divorced, his son Evan off to college, made a conscious plan not to go gently into that golf-and-afternoon-naptime phase of our senior years. Instead, he had this nutty plan of figuring out what the heck our lives are all about. To this end, he sold his gorgeous, light-filled, minimally furnished house in Foster, R.I., and, just as the Roy Scheider’s police chief suggests in Jaws, bought himself a bigger boat. He knew at a gut level he wasn’t about to find deeper meaning by sailing it solely on the weekends. No, he would live aboard and troll the Eastern Seaboard until a spiritual awakening tapped him on the shoulder.

The house is a contemporary with two high stories, its windows stack up on each other, with a sprinkling of half-circle windows to imbue the rooms with still more light; the house is radiant and posh without verging on the Trophy.
The house is a contemporary with two high stories, its windows stack up on each other, with a sprinkling of half-circle windows to imbue the rooms with still more light; the house is radiant and posh without verging on the Trophy.

But there’s more to the story, which is rich with shore leaves to pick up Evan, also an avid sailor, and later a woman of mystery and with a bit of a torrid temper. All — or much — is revealed in Ed’s 2013 memoir, Sailing the Mystery: My Journey Into Life’s Remaining Chapters.

One of the places Ed loved to moor his boat was at the head of Tashmoo. From there he gravitated to land, and through his good friend Cynthia Bloomquist of West Tisbury, he met what he calls “the lovely winter population.” He goes on to say, “These people are serious about the arts, culture, and each other.” (Now here’s a firm rebuke to all those silly visitors who ask what we do in the off-season.)

Everywhere you look is natural wood, and light.
Everywhere you look is natural wood, and light.

In December 2012 — and some of us may recall that on the stroke of 12-21-12, we were about to receive a seismic shift in consciousness — Ed was guided by an unfathomable sense that he needed to look at houses on the Island. Not to move into any of them. Just to look. He had extremely strict parameters, which he assumed could never be met. All the same, he confided them to a realtor. The realtor said, “I know just the place.”

Ed saw it. He loved it, but first he needed to test out his musical instruments within its walls. The acoustics were sublime. Two weeks later, he signed the purchase and sales agreement. On April 7, 2013, he moved in.

Lots of counter space, to cook for lots of friends.
Lots of counter space, to cook for lots of friends.

Off Lambert’s Cove Road, the house had been built in ’94, and visited infrequently by a couple from Cincinnati. It sits on a tract of dales and woods that backs up into a Land Bank property, giving it a feel of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. A contemporary with two high stories, its windows stack up on each other, with a sprinkling of half-circle windows to imbue the rooms with still more light; the house is radiant and posh without verging on the Trophy.

Ed says, “I needed a home that felt protected and quiet and yet at the same time connected to nature.” The house, “as is,” was pretty much perfect, but Ed longed to mold the living room into an area for intimate gatherings. To that end he hired his architect friend, Frank DiMauro, to carve out a hearth into which a soapstone-topped wood-burning stove was installed. Above, a mahogany mantle with Asian-accented fluted ends adds grace and definition. Mr. DiMauro’s wife, decorator Holly DiMauro, helped Ed with his Zen-leaning aesthetic tastes, to wash the canvas of his rooms with beige, gray, and raw pine tones, here and there offset with a hint of color, as in Island artist Marie-Louise Rouff’s oil painting of orange and blue squares rimmed by yellow, with pride of place in a corner of the dining area.

Ed Merck at home.
Ed Merck at home.

A glance at Ed’s shelves, side tables, and coffee table reveals his search is ongoing: Like so many of us, he’s back in the ontological lecture room, with titles such as Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield, The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope, and Falling into Grace by Adyashanti. (To give you an idea of Ed’s generosity, when I marveled over the title of the first book, he ordered it for me on Amazon, and he handed me the third book as a loan. I stuffed it into my backpack, along with a healthy treat he wanted me to try: “Organic Food Bar, Belgium Chocolate Chip.” It’s delicious, but they left the chocolate out of mine.)

As we sat at Ed’s antique farmhouse-style dining table — one of the few pieces carried over from his Rhode Island life, and this because Evan said, “I really like that table, Dad” — I asked if the crazy experiment of moving here, virtually on a whim, worked out for him.

“I’m very happy on the Vineyard and in this house!” he says without hesitation. “I’ve never looked back.”

Ed’s positive outlook seems to derive from all the creative activities he slots into his days: concerts with a medieval-music troubadour group; jazz improvisation scores for Alan Brigish and Susan Klein’s new meditation DVD, Impermanence; essays written for PBS’s Next Avenue, which in turn get picked up by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and the Huffington Post. This past summer Ed transcribed a score of Bach’s Cello Suites for his Baroque bass recorder. “I wanted to get up close to Bach, finding the Bach in Bach, and the Bach in me.”

Meanwhile, he’s not merely a musician, a meditator, a writer, nor a tinker and a sailor (well, he’s still that). He also chops his own wood, and now it’s piled to the brim in a capacious open storage shed to the rear of the house (which he heats solely with the use of his wood stove).

It should be a glorious second winter for this man who sails the mystery.


Catching up: What about a village of wee abodes?

A house that's just the right size. Photo by Michael Cummo

The tiny house at the Ag Fair [MVTimes:] made quite clear what we had in fact suspected: People are wildly curious about the tiny house phenomenon, and quite of few of them would consider living in one, given the chance.

The tiny house on display at the Ag Fair was a huge hit. — File photo by Michael Cummo
The tiny house on display at the Ag Fair was a huge hit. — File photo by Michael Cummo

The Island Coalition for Tiny Houses came together spontaneously in response to an article in The Local [], which gave a number of us who love tiny houses the impetus to find one another and start working together to make this happen. We are locals — some of us members of nonprofit housing organizations, small businesses, town officials, and we invite people to join us. We see our task as raising public awareness and initiating discussion among Martha’s Vineyard residents, homeowners, renters, business owners, and town officials about the potential of tiny houses to address — at least in some measure — the desperate need for more affordable housing on the Island.

By sharing our experience, energy, and insights, we hope to make tiny house living possible on the Vineyard in the very near future. Our strategy includes the following main elements:

  • Design tiny houses that are legal under current building and sanitary codes


  • Produce and distribute these plans to others interested in code-compliant structures


  • Build a code-compliant Tiny House to be used as a living/learning center and part of a possible traveling exhibit.


  • Educate people so that they understand their options when it comes to tiny house living


  • Advocate for code changes at the federal and state levels to improve tiny house design options


  • Work with local zoning and health departments to develop proposals for tiny house living that address the land-price/income gap as the main limiting factor in housing on MV

We will have a tiny house exhibit at the Living Local Harvest Festival on October 3, and will hold a Tiny House Workshop at 3:30 pm that day to get this discussion going; we hope to see you there!

Marina Lent has been living on Martha’s Vineyard since 1998. In addition to her work for the Chilmark Board of Health, she is involved in local food advocacy, affordable housing issues, and emergency preparedness. For info on the Island Coalition for Tiny Houses, write

The Plauts take what they learn and start anew.

Josh and Lori Plaut in their garden. Photo by Lynn Christoffers

Rabbi Joshua and Lori Plaut have an intense reverence for trees, and have what may be the oldest white pine on our Island — 150 years old, according to local arborist Richard Manley. Every year since they moved to their West Tisbury home, they have planted trees and named them for their friends and family. Josh is in charge of the trees, along with what may be the largest privately owned heather garden on the Island, with 2,000 plants.

Jonas Plaut looks over the Labor Day pickings. – Photo courtesy the Plaut family.
Jonas Plaut looks over the Labor Day pickings. – Photo courtesy the Plaut family.

The Plauts built their home in 1995. Lori said to me, “In the spring of ’96, I handed my husband a two-page spread of a heather garden in Northern California that looked like a Monet painting, not realizing this isn’t the same zone, and I said, ‘I want this.’ After about 10 years I was almost ready to give up. Joshua has an amazing amount of persistence; he kept plugging away, and did it all himself. Everything here is planted by my husband and son Jonas.”

I wondered how the heather fared during this last harsh winter. Lori said, “The snow buried it, and the heather did well. Usually we lose about 10 percent, and I don’t think we lost anything this winter.” The heather garden, with 75 varieties, is purely eye candy, for the love of all the different colors — red, orange, purple, white with winter blooms, and serves no medicinal purpose, though Josh said he looks forward to becoming a beekeeper, and harvesting heather honey and lavender honey from his gardens. Turns out white pine needles are a natural fertilizer for the heather, making it one happy garden.

Melons, pumpkins and squash freshly picked from the Plaut garden. – Photo courtesy of the Plaut family.
Melons, pumpkins and squash freshly picked from the Plaut garden. – Photo courtesy of the Plaut family.

Lori and Joshua’s original garden was planted in a low-lying, low-light area of the property in 1996, and after much energy and money spent, produced only one pepper. Lori laughed and told me, “We called it the $500 pepper, and I wanted to have it gold-plated. And it became a sermon about failure [for her husband] and taking what you learn to start anew.”

Lori comes from a family of farmers in Connecticut; her grandfather on her father’s side was a land grant chicken farmer in Colchester, and her grandfather on her mother’s side settled all of the land grantees in Connecticut. Her uncle was the dean of agriculture at Iowa State; her father always grew things — Lori feels she inherited growing in her blood.

After Joshua’s mother died, the Plauts had some extra money, and he built raised beds in the new garden on higher ground, with better light. “There’s a lot of clay in the soil,” Lori said, “and I was able to control the soil better.” They built a path around the raised beds with a liner below, and do all the watering themselves; there is no irrigation system in place anywhere on the property. Their gardens are organic and hand-tended. Their 14-year-old son Jonas participates by bringing the necessary organic vegetative compost with some added chicken manure up the hill to the garden, usually in the range of 50 pounds per season.

Josh Plaut proudly displays his fresh raspberries harvested from the bushes he planted.
Josh Plaut proudly displays his fresh raspberries harvested from the bushes he planted.

The garden prep work begins after the last spring frost in May and runs until the beginning of June. Lori plants some seedlings from Morning Glory Farm, and the rest are seeds. “I truly believe the seedlings give inspiration to the seeds and everything grows,” she told me. Lori wakes with the birds, and starts weeding around 5 am with a cup of coffee nearby. By the second week in August, she can stop weeding and let the garden “do its own thing.” Lori added garlic this year, planting it in late March between snowfalls, as suggested by her uncle the agriculture dean. This year, Lori said, “We only have 40 tomato plants, though we’ve had as many as 65. Whether they’re early-, middle-, or late-season tomatoes, they all come in around the same time.” Although she does not can, she dries her tomatoes, and gives a lot away.

In the vegetable garden, Lori has had the chicken-wire fencing increased to a 6-foot height, which the deer cannot jump. She uses black plastic trays around roots to hold water for a drip system and to minimize weeds in a one-foot radius. She showed me the watermelon radishes she grew this year: plucked a ripe sample that she later sliced extremely thin so I could see the beautiful color inside. She has Hungarian hot wax peppers, cayenne, poblano, serrano, habanero, jalapeño, and other varieties.

Joshua came out of the house with a knife to cut the radish and carrying his fresh wild thimbleberry sorbet, made from his own berries and cassis, and we switched topics to the 40 fruit trees and 250 berry bushes he’d planted, starting 15 years ago. “My mother liked Santa Rosa plums,” he said, “so those are Santa Rosa plums. The whole property is enveloped with blackberries and raspberries.” Their fruit trees include persimmons, apricots, peaches, pears, apples, cherries, figs, and even a pluot — a cross between a plum and an apricot. They have two small peach trees with about 100 peaches, which all got eaten by the deer this year, but another tree has borne fruit they’ve gotten to enjoy. “It’s nature,” Josh said. “That’s Lori’s attitude. Last night when we came home from the beach, there was a deer there eating all the white roses.” In fact, they planted the roses as a natural barrier around the garden perimeter just for the deer. I learned that using nematodes to get rid of Japanese beetle larvae also rids your green areas of grubs, and gets rid of skunks, though it is expensive at $50 a bag.

Josh plans to learn how to be a beekeeper so they can harvest their own honey from their lavender and heather. They’ll buy another 30 lavender plants to rebuild what they lost last winter. Dick Manley calls the forest in the area where they live “primary growth.”

“There is a spiritual component to this property for us,” Lori said. The ancient white pine is, she said, the heart of property. They also have beetlebung trees, as well as a smoke tree (indigenous to the Island), gingko, oak, and others.

Each fruit tree has been named for a family member or friend, and they know which is which without keeping a list. There is a flowering Japanese Cherry planted when their son Jonas was born. “We had this tradition of planting a fruit tree every year on Jonas’ birthday — July 8, so 13 or 14 trees were planted then,” Josh added. “There is a Jewish tradition of planting a tree for the newborn.” There is a Midrash [a gleaning from the Torah’s text], he said, “that if the Messiah comes and you are planting a sapling, What should you do? You should finish planting the tree and then greet the Messiah.”

I learned about Tu Be-shevat, the Jewish New Year for trees when the first almond blossoms appear in Israel. That foretells spring; it has become a sort of Passover hybrid, because the celebration now includes eating fruits and nuts, and drinking four different-colored wines or grape juices, eight weeks before Passover. It’s a 2,000-year-old tradition. Laughing, Josh said, “We celebrate Tu Be-shevat by snowshoeing around our property.”



Andy Goldman and Susan Heilbron design a home for forever.

Susan Heilbron and Andy Goldman designed their new home to accommodate "aging in place." – Photos by Michael Cummo

When you’re, say, 30something, and you’re designing and building your first house, you might think about whether each child gets his or her own bedroom, and whether the basement might be turned into a rec room. When you’re 70something and building your last house, your design decisions are of a different nature.

Andy Goldman and Susan Heilbron were 72 and 62, respectively, when they began work on what they consider their final house, a three-story structure on the Menemsha Inn road in Chilmark. Their ages, and the fact that Ms. Heilbron has multiple sclerosis, led the couple to work closely with their builders (John Abrams’ South Mountain Co.) to design a dwelling that would accommodate potential wheelchair use and otherwise meet their needs for the rest of their lives — a home that would allow for what has become known as “aging in place.”

“I said to John Abrams, ‘I’ll bet I’m the oldest guy for whom you’ve ever started building a brand-new house,’” says Mr. Goldman. At the time, Mr. Abrams acknowledged that this might well be true, but in the six years since the house was completed, South Mountain has expanded its expertise in the field of aging-in-place dwellings; consequently, they have attracted more clients who, in retirement, are interested in building aging-friendly houses that might obviate the need to move out of one’s home and into a community for the elderly.

Mr. Goldman and Ms. Heilbron have lived year-round on the Vineyard for 20 years, but they began coming here together in the summertime more than 30 years ago. “We got married 29 years ago on May 1st, and in June, we purchased our first Vineyard house,” says Mr. Goldman. But Mr. Goldman’s history with the Island goes back to 1941, when he began summering here with his mother, grandmother, and aunt. (In 1950, his aunt and uncle, Theresa and Warren Morse, bought a piece of property in Menemsha and opened the Beach Plum Inn.)

While the couple always knew that they would retire to the Vineyard, actually getting here full-time happened in stages. At 55, Mr. Goldman retired from the State of New York, where he had worked in economic development, most recently as executive vice president for the state’s Mortgage Agency. For several years, he was on the Vineyard year-round, while Ms. Heilbron, who, like her husband, trained as a lawyer and spent some of her career working in government, commuted here on weekends. From time to time, poor weather would cause her plane to land in Hyannis or Nantucket. “I might as well have been in France!” she quips. But on good days, the trip would require only a couple of hours. Even so, it always took her some time to let go of the city and relax.

“Andy would pick me up at the airport,” she says, “and we’d come home to our house on Stonewall Pond, maybe walk down to the water for a swim, have a drink, and after a couple of hours I’d finally relax. Whereas Andy was SO relaxed … that was when it became clear to me that someone was doing it right, and someone wasn’t.” For a while she tried living here and commuting to New York for meetings. “But that didn’t really work, either; so at the end of the day, I stopped working and joined Andy.”

The couple’s house on Stonewall Pond was “a miracle,” but after a while they realized that it was not going to work for them long-term. It was costly to maintain, and for that reason, they had to lease it out in the summertime, renting a smaller place for themselves in Aquinnah. Moreover, the property was eroding: when the couple purchased it, it was five acres; by the time they sold it 20 years later, it was 4.7. “When you have multiple sclerosis,” says Ms. Heilbron, “tension is very bad for you. And living on the water and watching your property erode is tension-producing.”

Consequently, the Stonewall property was sold, and Mr. Goldman and Ms. Heilbron purchased the Menemsha Inn Road property in 2007 from the estate of Pulitzer Prizewinning biographer Joseph P. Lash and his wife, Trude, who was a grand dame of the old guard Chilmark summer community. The shack where Mr. Lash wrote (now a potting shed) still stands on the property, but the main house was torn down. “Originally,” says Mr. Goldman, “we hoped to incorporate the old house into our plan, but it proved impractical and too expensive.” They did, however, use some materials from the old house; the current house’s deck, for example, is made from its predecessor’s deck. The use of recycled materials in new construction is one of South Mountain’s trademarks.

The couple chose South Mountain for an array of reasons. First, one of the company’s employees, Peter D’Angelo, had done some moonlighting at the Stonewall house, and they liked him and his work. “He was very meticulous,” says Ms. Heilbron. “And that’s who you want building your house. A company of Pete-like people sounded perfect!”

In addition, the couple liked the idea of using a design-and-build company with a long history and a good reputation. And they valued the company’s ethics. “We liked the fact that John Abrams was involved in affordable housing, was environmentally conscious, and had an employee-owned company,” says Mr. Goldman, “all of that as well as being a high-end builder.”

Mr. Abrams and his staff took the couple to see several properties where they had built previously. “Through conversations about our needs, and by observing what we admired about his other projects, he got a good sense of what we wanted,” says Mr. Goldman. The two owners expressed an appreciation for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Arts and Crafts architecture of designers like Greene & Greene, and Japanese architectural forms. They were explicit about coming from a “less is more” mentality; they did not want a big house, but rather one that would use space wisely and compactly. They also reiterated their need for the house to be designed for single-floor, age-in-place living, and they were in sync with South Mountain’s preference for building (largely with recycled materials) a structure that would minimize fossil fuel use and produce a portion of its energy on-site. When Ryan Bushey, an architect with South Mountain, presented the couple with a sketch of the proposed house — 2,900 square feet plus a finished basement — their response was “Eureka! That’s it!” The house is now named “Eureka.”

During construction, the owners were onsite daily. A brochure developed by South Mountain for an open house event states: “They know not only every nook and cranny of the house, but every wrinkle in the process.” Mr. Bushey notes that “they were great at understanding boundaries. They didn’t micro-manage. They were super curious and engaged, but not meddling or distracting.” Indeed, their deep involvement in the project may have saved time and money by preventing change orders. Early on, for example, Ms. Heilbron realized that, as initially framed, the master bathroom’s shower stall window (which, like much of the house, overlooks a stunning view of Menemsha Harbor and the sea beyond it) was going to be too high for her. The builders were able to correct this early in the process, rather than after the window had already gone in.

Walking through the house, one notes that all of the major action takes place on the main floor. This is where the master bedroom and bath, the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room, the coat closets, the office, and the screen porch are all situated. Upstairs is guest space, but not directly over the master bedroom, so that “I don’t hear pitter-patter when the grandchildren are here,” says Ms. Heilbron. The finished basement houses an exercise room currently used regularly by both owners.

All of the house’s passageways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and there are no lips in doorways to complicate wheelchair maneuverability. The door handles are levers rather than knobs, for easier gripping by hands that might become arthritic. Ms. Heilbron has a dicey back, and all of the furniture and appliances have been selected with a view to comfort and minimal bending over. The two Gaggenau oven doors, for example, open sideways rather than top to bottom. (“So much easier to get at what’s inside!” says Ms. Heilbron.) The Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, rather than being one unit with top and bottom shelves, is two side-by-side drawers at thigh level. In the living room, all the seating is made by Ekornes, and it is all adjustable for maximum lumbar support — even the sofa. And everything (appliances as well as the furniture) is attractive — simple, clean-lined, contemporary. Even the grab bars in the shower are handsome, made of teak rather than metal. “There’s no reason why grab bars have to look like the hospital,” notes Ms. Heilbron.

There is a great deal of wood in the house — in the post-and-beam timbers, the floors, the trim, the built-in shelving and furniture. All of it — except for two beams in the living room — is recycled. The owners have a map of all the wood in every room in the house, telling the provenance of each piece. The Douglas fir posts and beams came from torn-down factories in Minnesota. The floors are hard pine, also reclaimed from factories. The trim is cypress from sunken logs. The wainscoting is redwood from vats used to age juices in California. The two rogue beams are made of new birch — a necessary extravagance: These are taiko beams, a Japanese construction technique that calls for lighter wood.

In terms of energy efficiency, the house has 12 inches of insulation all around it, it passes blower tests (for air tightness) with flying colors, and in cold weather, the windows are as warm as the walls. Forty-five percent of the house’s electricity is provided by solar panels on top of the garage. Unlike many hot water heaters, the one in this house is not on full-time, keeping water perpetually hot; with this one, you have to wait two minutes when you turn on the hot water for the water to heat up. “We’re retired,” says Ms. Heilbron. “Where am I going that I can’t wait two minutes?”

One thing the house doesn’t have is a fireplace. “I’ve had fireplaces before,” says Mr. Goldman, “and I didn’t think it was fun. Plus, all your heat goes up the chimney.” But aren’t fireplaces romantic, one might ask? Ms. Heilbron responds: “We have lots of romance already.”




Sept. 9, David B. Rossi, William N. Rossi, Daniel R. Rossi and Patricia Rossi sold 4 Tabor House Rd. to Kevin M. and Deanna T. Brady for $1,000,000.



Sept. 9, Kenneth B. and Pamela Monahan sold 23 Mattakesett Bay Rd. to Scott Cummings Nicol and Sarah Caledonia for $2,600,000.


Sept. 10, Peter B. MacRae sold 141 Litchfield Rd. to Wolfgang and Alison M. Bauriedel for $770,000.


Sept. 11, Susan Alberti, Shelly Stark, Ann O’Connell and Benjamin Stark sold 96 Main St. to ARC On Main LLC for $1,650,000.


Aug. 31, Ophelia Dahl, trustee of 80 South Water Street Nominee Trust, sold 80 South Water St. to Lucy Dahl for $2,900,000.

Sept. 1, Michael P. Gross and Kimberley J. Kaplan-Gross sold their undivided ½ interest in 39 West Tisbury Rd. to Gregory A. Jones for $175,000.

Sept. 2, Lawrence D. and Karen J. Greenblatt sold 31 Pinehurst Rd. to Michael W. Sweeney and Margaret A. Malloy Sweeney for $515,000.

Sept. 3, Thomas E. and Cynthia B. Podmajersky sold 8 Zoll Rd. to Ben Mastropieri for $690,000.

Sept. 3, Delphine Mendez De Leon sold 5 Pipn Rd. to Pipn Road Properties LLC for $634,000.

Sept. 3, Michael Leclair sold 13 Metells Way to David and Steffanie Finn for $1,825,000.

Sept. 4, Joseph B. McCall IV sold 49 Morse St. to Michael and Rebecca Hegarty for $1,625,000.

Sept. 4, Keith H. and Anne P. Rogal sold Lot 2 off Oyster Pond Rd. to Wendy R. Harman for $848,250.

Sept. 4, Joseph A. Sullivan, Jr. sold 5 Dodger’s Hole Rd. to Edward M. Cisek for $308,030.

Oak Bluffs

Aug. 31, Andrea Trembath, a/k/a Andrea Veneziano, trustee of Windy Hill Realty Trust, sold 28 Windy Hill Rd. to Kristen G. Norman for $389,000.

Sept. 1, John Robert Belkner, Jr., Leslie Roberts Belkner, John Robert Belkner, Sr. and Elaine M. Belkner sold 93 Shawanue Ave. to Anne M. Brownell for $478,000.

Sept. 2, George Sourati sold a lot on Isaac Ave. to William Howell for $160,000.

Sept. 2, Paul L. Morency, trustee of the Constance F. Morency Realty Nominee Trust, sold 9 Crest Way to Tiffany Johnson and Deriek Nagengast for $335,000.

Sept. 3, Jonathan Whiting sold 142 Vineyard Ave. to Daniel R. Whiting for $360,000.


Sept. 1, Kathryn Belfi and David Bouffard sold Unit 30 Vineyard Harbor Condo to Sara Howard for $65,000.

Sept. 2, Miles Jaffe, a/k/a Henry M. Jaffe, and Sherif Nada, a/k/a Sherif A. Nada, sold 342 State Rd. to Gardens of Our Descent Farm LLC for $390,000.

Sept. 4, Daniel P. Koch sold 100 Center St. to Shivani Patel and Cliff Erich for $640,000.



Aug. 26, John R. McGrail sold 11 Court St. to David C. McGrail for $195,495.44.

Aug. 27, Santander Bank NA, formerly known as Sovereign Bank, N.S., formerly known as Sovereign Bank, and current holder by assignment of a mortgage from Jill A. Belcher and Alain Michel to MERS, as nominee for Sovereign Bank, sold by foreclosure deed 52 Jernegan Ave. to Seth A. Harlow and Bonnie E. Kingsbury for $438,000.

Oak Bluffs

Aug. 27, Island Elderly Housing Inc. sold 29 Norris Ave. to Andrew and Dianna L. Braillard for $440,000.

Aug. 28, Elizabeth Zanetti sold 8 Mayhew Way to Yvette D. Bright for $1,345,000.


Aug 28, Samuel Denbo, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Marianne Dorrit Pfau, sold 66 Weaver Lane to Earle A. and Lynn Diann Ray for $1,575,000

West Tisbury

Aug. 27, Peter H. Robinson sold 95 Otis Bassett Rd. to Omar and Terree Taggart Rayyan for $450,000.

Aug. 28, S. Fain and Melissa M. Hackney sold 7 Rock Pond Rd. to Newell Pledger-Shinn and Jennifer Leigh Isbell for $545,000.

Aug. 28, Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools, Inc. sold 40 Pepperbush Way to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission for $2,350,000.

Aug. 28, Blue Sky LLC sold 60 Pepperbush Way to Robert M. McCarron, trustee of Nation Lots Realty Trust for $900,000.


Aug. 21, Merle Wolff sold 49 Cobb’s Hill Rd. to Blue Heron LLC for $925,000.



Aug. 17, Wendy R. Harman sold 21 Curtis Lane to Susan Lukas, Randy S. Lukas, Erin G. Van Moorhem, and Norman E. Boiani for $870,000.

Aug. 20, Nora’s Meadow LLC sold 2 Nora’s Lane to Lawrence Neal and Natalya Naidoo for $2,400,000.



Aug. 17, Emigrant Residential LLC, current holder of a mortgage from Robert J. Priore to Emigrant Mortgage Company, Inc. sold 144 Weaver Lane to Retainer Realty Inc. by foreclosure deed for $1,384,668.23.

Aug. 17, Diane Dmitri sold 190 Lake St. to Anthony D. and Mary Lou R. Piland for $670,000.

Aug. 18, Ella D. Jenkins-Graves, Douglas Jenkins, Mark Jenkins and Jacy Jenkins sold 170 Franklin Terrace to Kenneth W. Bailey for $190,000.

Aug. 19, Paul J. and Diane E. Watts sold 125 Irene’s Way to Elizangela Rodrigues for $470,000.

Aug. 21, Harry E. and Carolyn M. Dorward sold 112 Bernard Circle to Susan Heckler Smith for $485,000.