— Please tell us a bit about the history of the farm.
I began clearing the land with my own hands, which took me 20 years to do. It had a sense of inhabitation and was a wonderful revealing of what used to be a cultural landscape in the New World.
It’s a magical place. You can kind of taste that in the landscape through the stone walls, wells, and the ruins.”
— Shobac cottages
— What was your inspiration to build those cottages there?
Then we thought about sustainability, so we thought to build some permanent buildings. We built the cottages, a tower, a studio and reconstructed a historic brown barn and other barns where we keep sheep and horses.
Like the historic extended family farm that was here, we now have barnyards and courtyards and microclimates made within the landscape.”
— Please tell us a bit about the buildings and the architecture in particular.
When we built the cottages, we were trying to make a prototype for a modest dwelling in the landscape, touching the land lightly. Learning from the vernacular building traditions here, making microclimates and using the wood material culture that existed here from the ship building traditions, we came up with the idea of buildings like boats. If you’re in one of the cottages, you might get a sense that you’re on a fishing boat.”
— What was your inspiration to rent it out to vacation guests?
— Shobac cottages aerial view
— Please tell us a bit about the facilities of the vacation homes.
The cottages are pretty rustic and basic. I would call it frugal chic — rustic exposed framing that’s relaxing. You don’t feel you need shirt and tie; you can relax and be yourself. The cottages are like a bunch of fishing shacks. For someone who has everything, it’s kind of refreshing. It reminds me of yurts and basic architecture like that, but without roughing it. It’s monumentally modest.
In the studio, there’s a 40-foot long solid maple table. From it you can see the hills, the islands, the ruins, everything. You can have 50 people for dinner, offering both intimacy and generosity.”
— Studio exterior
— Sustainability also played an important role in the design of the vacation rentals?
Everything here is run on passive solar. That’s like breathing, something everybody should do.”