An Oasis in Surfside -Spring 2019

by: Leslie Linsley

photography by: Terry Pommett

Carol Muehling and Pat Taaffe moved to Nantucket year-round in 1980, Pat from Long Island and Carol from New Jersey. Her parents had vacationed here off and on during the 1960s and 1970s, and over the years she developed a love for the natural beauty of the island. They were married in 1989 and for three years lived in a spec house that Pat had built in Surfside.

When they finally sold it, they realized how much they liked living in low-key Surfside due to the proximity to the south shore and the quiet pine woods. A friend soon told them of a twoacre lot and once they were able to purchase it they began to hunt for a house design that appealed to them both.

A collection of sand-worn glass bottles line the kitchen window sill, and vegetables fresh-picked from the well-tended back-yard garden are available all summer.

Pat and Carol both love barns, so they began thinking about building a home along those lines. Then they read an article in Soundings magazine about the history of life-saving stations along the East Coast, the precursors of today’s Coast Guard stations. The couple liked the style of these buildings and began to visualize designing one as their home.

Their needs were basic: a large enough workshop for Pat, and a living space similar to a small apartment for temporary living until they could build a house.

“We decided to customize the building by using the 1,200-square-foot ground-floor space for Patrick to set up his woodworking shop,” Carol said. “Then we added dormers to create 800 square feet of living space above.”

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