Dairy Farm With a Design Difference on Martha's Vineyard

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By David Colman

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."

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Martha's Vineyard Dairy Farm Gets a Minimalist Makeover
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Dairy Farm With a Design Difference on Martha's Vineyard
Cattle graze outside the home of Molly and Eric Glasgow at the Grey Barn and Farm in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Local firm Hutker Architects created the main house (left), which was designed to look like a repurposed barn, as well as several outbuildings; the residence was decorated by Manhattan-based Kathleen Walsh Interiors.
In the living room of the family’s house, pasture views are framed by sliding doors curtained in a Sahco linen; the sofas, covered in a Rogers & Goffigon linen, are by Holly Hunt, and the desk is by Gregorius|Pineo.
The kitchen features a La Cornue range, granite counters, and cabinetry with hardware by the Nanz Co.
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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 that's 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.

Also see: Gisele Bundchen's Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home
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