Marsha Ahearn found a pair of secluded fishing shacks built in the 1950s and realized she had found the best catch on Martha’s Vineyard.

After convincing her husband, Patrick, an architect, to make the investment, the two spent six months fixing up the three-acre beachside property.

“No one else can build cottages on this land anymore,” her husband Patrick said.

“This place will forever stay the way it is. It’ll always look like the 1950s and 1960s.”

That’s why it was important to the couple as well as the community, that modern updates wouldn’t downgrade the cottages’ original charm.

Marsha and Patrick Ahearn, at the beach near their Edgartown home.

Brimfield Antique Flea Market:

Now after renovations the shacks are a casual and funky beach home. She decorated with antiques from the Brimfield Antique Flea Market.

I still feel like I could pinch myself,” she says. “It’s my greatest hope that we can pass it down. And it can stay in the family forever because it will always be magical here.”

When it came time to add layers of color, Marsha was inspired by the view outside. She began with blue for the shutters and the backdoor.

“Patrick uses a lot of dark black-green for his other Edgartown projects, but I was like, ‘No, no! We are up-island. It has to be a little funky.’”

A ladder leading to the loft is original to the house and can be folded flat against the wall when not in use.

The Gothic mirror and bench are finds from the Brimfield Antique Flea Market.

The Paint They Used:

The couple brightened up the old kitchen with a custom blend of white paint. They used a 50/50 formula of China White and Linen White by Benjamin Moore.

They replaced linoleum countertops with warm butcherblock. And traded upper cabinets for open shelving.

The dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Marsha had the curtains made from 100-year-old French sheets found at Brimfield.

The View:

The metal chandelier doesn’t obstruct the ocean view. A bamboo chair from eBay and a slipcovered sofa provide swimsuit-friendly seating.

In the guest room, Marsha chose a bamboo headboard and an antique quilt she found on eBay.

The master bathroom is a mix of materials. From the bluestone-topped vanity and wood mirror to the bronze hardware.

A sleeping loft has just enough room for a bed, end tables, and a telescope. Marsha found the old sign at a tag sale.

{Details & photos for this home tour courtesy of Country Living}

Similar Posts


  1. I love this cottage! Everything about it is what I would have chosen even the jute rugs. Actually I love the look of it and the feeling of walking bare foot on it.

  2. What a pretty little cottage! I would love to live there. The only thing that bothers me about the decor are the jute rugs. I get decorating with natural items especially in a casual dwelling, but in a beach cottage I would think it would not be pleasing to barefeet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *