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American Society of Landscape Architects

 

July 2008 Issue

Rural Restoration
A summer place on Martha’s Vineyard respects the landscape of a former farm.

By Jane Berger

Rural RestorationMartha’s Vineyard is most widely known for its pristine beaches and quaint villages that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every summer and cause the local population to soar from 15,000 to more than 75,000 residents. But the 100-square-mile island, just seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod, is also much beloved for its rural character:  rolling hills, a vast scrub oak plain, and more than 30 farms.

As you leave the bustling port village of Vineyard Haven and head southwest out State Road, the two-lane asphalt highway is lined for a mile or so with parking lots and small commercial sites. Abruptly, a very different landscape emerges. It provides just a hint about the island’s long agricultural heritage and introduces the handiwork of Kris Horiuchi, ASLA, of Horiuchi & Solien Landscape Architects.

Horiuchi often commutes to the island from her main office in Falmouth, Massachusetts, via a 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Cod, although she maintains a small satellite office on the Vineyard, in Edgartown. Her long experience on the island and knowledge about its landscape and culture gave her a big head start when she was called in by Stanley and Janet Kane to devise a plan for Tashmoo Farm.

Stanley Kane says he and his wife, a retired couple who live in Sarasota, Florida, most of the year, decided to buy the property for a summer home because it was “so tranquil” and because it was reminiscent of their former home in Bedford Hills, New York. “[Bedford Hills is] a rural community in New York with a lot of dirt roads and more horses than people, and it reminded us of that,” he says.

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