Después de renunciar a una vida llena de energía en Londres para administrar una granja orgánica en Martha’s Vineyard, una pareja contrata al arquitecto Mark Hutker para que evoque una casa minimalista sofisticada y graneros para su familia.
This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Architectural Digest.
Back in 2008, amid the throes of the global economic crisis, plenty of people started thinking about living and working in a different way. Molly and Eric Glasgow were among them. The couple and their two young sons were then expats in London, planning to move back to the U.S. They’d already spent years bouncing around for Eric’s work as an oil trader, with stints in New York, Connecticut, and Texas. Neither wanted to return to their Stateside life as they had known it—they wanted a change. Like many of us, they had envisioned the pastoral bliss of owning a working farm. Except instead of just dreaming about it, they actually went out and bought one.
It was a farm and a dairy, to be precise, on Martha’s Vineyard. Having vacationed on the island for several summers, the family knew they liked it there. “And we’re really interested in food and where it comes from,” Molly says. “So we thought we’d buy a farm and make cheese, and The Sound of Music would play in the background. We had no idea what we were getting into.”
Raising livestock and overseeing a dairy takes enormous effort, and the couple added to their work by making the Grey Barn and Farm, as they named the homestead, certified organic. Their cattle are 100 percent grass fed, and their heritage-breed pigs and several varieties of chickens forage in the property’s fields and woods for food. (The pigs also eat the whey left over after cheese is made.) The Glasgows sell their products, including raw milk, cheese, eggs, beef, and pork, from an on-site farm stand that’s open daily.
Before they could get the dairy up and running—it hadn’t been active since 1961—serious upgrades were needed. Only one of the structures, the largest barn, was serviceable, and it had to be overhauled to accommodate the affinage caves for the cheese. It was also equipped with solar paneling, as were other outbuildings (including the one housing the milking parlor and creamery), most of which were designed by the Glasgows’ architect, Massachusetts-based Mark Hutker.
Likewise, the old wood residence on the property wasn’t suitable for the family of four, so Hutker was tasked with conceiving living quarters as well. “We had this fantasy of a modern Belgian farmhouse,” Molly explains. “I just love that rustic European look—the colors, the weather, the sense of design. That was the real inspiration.”
Hutker proposed a long, low dwelling that would mirror the contours of some of the new buildings. As a result, the home’s profile resembles an old barn retrofitted as a residence. The great steel-and-glass entrance appears wide enough to drive a tractor through, and at the south end, a vast picture window looks like a passageway for the Glasgows’ herd of 30 Dutch Belted cows.
“I was steadfast about wanting the house to have a structural timber frame—not a fake one,” says Molly, who studied sculpture at Pratt Institute in New York City. “We built it using old timbers from a barn in North Carolina.” Hutker employed as many salvaged and locally sourced components as possible, like the reclaimed-wood floors, and the ceilings and pantry counters fashioned from trees on the farm. “They are materials that will wear in a very traditional and time-honored way,” the architect says.
To flesh out the interiors, the couple called on Kathleen Walsh, a New York decorator and a friend of Molly’s from Pratt who worked on the family’s previous houses. “It had been a long time since I’d heard a client say, ‘Let’s make it smaller, cozier,’” Walsh notes. She appreciated the less-is-more approach and also loved the Glasgows’ other directive: no color. Molly chose one paint—a snowy white—and stuck with it. (Exceptions were made for the couple’s boys, who picked bright hues for accent walls in their respective rooms.)
The farmhouse’s rough-hewn architecture is a perfect foil for the simple, sophisticated decor. The spare lines of wood-framed Danish-modern furniture, such as a Hans J. Wegner table or Jens Risom armchairs, open the way for a range of cosmopolitan pieces, including a Vladimir Kagan Plexiglas desk chair and light fixtures by David Weeks and Lindsey Adelman. Art is a subtle but important part of the aesthetic, with a series of still lifes, both contemporary and antique, enlivening the living room, and a Candida Höfer C-print gracing the entrance hall. All told, it’s a home that unites style, comfort, and integrity of materials and design with uncommon ease.
Farming can sometimes be heartbreaking work, as the Glasgows learned last year when a fire destroyed the creamery. But after rebuilding the facility, they have resumed making cheese, and they’re thrilled with their star creation, Prufrock. They now have ambitious plans to expand their repertoire, maybe even branching out to charcuterie production.
It will all take awhile, but time on the island seems to move at a slower pace. One of the great joys of country living is the awareness of the passing months and seasons—and nowhere more so than on a farm, where the cycles of growth and renewal are palpable. Here, just as the Glasgows imagined, life is indeed lived differently.