An Architect Builds His Dream Home -July 2019

by: Leslie Linsley

photography by: Terry Pommett

When an architect designs his own home, there is freedom as well as cautionary restraint, especially when the architect builds a house of his own vision, in a place where creativity is totally eclipsed by emphatically-spelledout building codes.

Herbert Seigle, a Pittsburgh architect, had been coming to Nantucket since the 1950s. In the late 1970s he was dating the woman who would become his wife, but only after bringing her to Nantucket first.

The library is to the right of the front entryway. This light-filled room has two different ceiling levels and is a wonder- ful spot for reading.

“He made it clear that my liking the island would make or break our relationship,” said his wife Robin, an attorney.

“He had rented for years from Mrs. Emmons at 21 Federal St. At the end of the week I wasn’t sure about us, but I fell in love with the island and told him I was coming back the following year,” she said.

Seigle studied architecture at Yale University, and upon graduating went to work in Manhattan for well-known architect Philip Johnson. After three years, he missed Pittsburgh so much that he returned there to open a solo practice. It was the mid1970s, and he spent a lot of time designing Turnberry Isle, a re-

sort in Aventura, Fla. He had never designed a house for himself. After they married, Herb and Robin moved from the 21 Federal rental to a house built by Tom David on Olde Quidnet Milk Route out of town. Stephen Swift, the furniture maker, found the rental for them.

The house is modern, even by today’s standards, with soaring ceilings and odd-shaped windows that certainly don’t conform to Nantucket building norms.

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