The late Chester Wisniewski, a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and founding principal of major New York firm Davis, Brody and Wisniewski (now Davis Brody Bond) first built this sailboat workshop in the late 1990s. Like many of the structures he conceived and self-built on Martha’s Vineyard, this A-frame shed resulted from experimentations in both design and the use of material.
The repair shop was constructed using readily available building components like dimension lumber, plywood, glass, and steel but in an unconventional way. Its roof, for example, was built in a fashion similar to the Japanese Shinto temples Wisniewski observed during his service in WWII.
Much in the same spirit of making and think as a one-in-the-same approach, Newark, New Jersey-based designer Erin Pellegrino recently transformed this workshop into an up-to-date vacation home. Her aim was to execute an emphatically site-specific renovation that would honor the building’s original function in almost every aspect while also ensuring its livability.
“I wanted to hold onto the idea of the space having been a workshop,” said Pellegrino. “How it was used, organized, and adapted to different types of work, correlated into how I programed the kitchen and surrounding social spaces. the central island became the table saw, a focal point of work to be done and the starting point for any activities. The bandsaw literally became the bar, where material was once cut freehand and made ornamental and now, a place around which people congregate.”