Historic Vineyard Haven home to get facelift

The historic Vineyard Haven home that is slated for a renovation and not a demolition. — Lucas Thors

The item listed on the M.V. Commission agenda Dec. 19 — DRI 92019: 319 Main Street Historic Demolition — didn’t in fact include any conversation about demolition at all, as the work will be a renovation with some new additions to the nonhistoric portions of the Vineyard Haven house built in 1800.

Brian and Elizabeth McBride have submitted plans to add a living room and a second-floor master bedroom, renovate the kitchen, dining area, and other bedroom spaces, all substantially within the 20th century additions to the original 1800 house. A major goal of the project is improving the house’s energy efficiency with modern windows and insulation, as is gaining better views of Vineyard Haven Harbor. 

Architect David G. Johnson of skaala Architecture in Camden, Maine, said at the meeting, “Overall, the owners and I want to preserve the original circa-1800 house and limit the visual impact of the new addition. Therefore, the design incorporates a simple gable that matches all details from the original house on the Main Street side, like heavy window trim and modestly sized, divided-lite windows, so as to blend with the original.”

The MVC voted unanimously to “not concur,” which (counterintuitively) means that they approve of the project’s strategy and sympathetic treatment of the existing house. Johnson said one commission member told him that this is the kind of consideration that they’d like to see all projects receive.

The Main Street historic renovation comes on the heels of the Mill House, the pre–Revolutionary War home that was demolished before MVC review.