Admit it: there’s something fun about checking out other people’s houses. No? You don’t love HGTV just as much as the Travel Channel? You don’t browse real estate listings for pleasure reading, or attend open houses just for entertainment? That’s fine; I already knew my family was quirky (popping into open houses used to be part of the weekend routine when I was a kid, along with turning garage sale-ing into an Olympic sport and getting our dogs doughnut holes at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive through.)
Speaking of dogs, I want to say a quick thanks to Tucker for stepping in and telling you guys all about our Memorial Day weekend adventures on the Vineyard. It was such a fantastic five day trip, and I hope you guys had as much fun reading those posts as I did, er, editing them.
That said, I thought it was about time to take the keyboard back. It’s been two years since I last led a virtual house tour of our family cottage in Oak Bluffs, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been itching for an update. A refresher: after a childhood spent visiting this idyllic Massachusetts island via a series of rental houses, in 2012 my mom and I returned for a nostalgic vacation and went on a walking tour of the historic Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association (MVCMA) in Oak Bluffs. On that tour, we spotted a for sale sign, and the rest is history. Our sweet yellow dollhouse was a bit of a fixer-upper, and my mom and her boyfriend Miller have worked tirelessly on the house for the past three years, doing the bulk of the manual labor themselves.
To really get an idea of how far we’ve come, check out the before pictures of the house in my first house tour post, one year in to cottage ownership. Fun fact: recently, my mom was contacted by editors at Yankee magazine, who had seen photos of the house here on my blog. They just wrapped a big interview and photo shoot, and this house will soon be gracing the pages of a glossy magazine! I’m so proud of my mama and her man for working such magic.
The MVCMA is an incredibly unique place to live. The three hundred houses that make up the Campground, as it’s known, were built in the 1800’s and now sit on the National Historic Registry (you can read more about the history of the neighborhood here). Strict regulations on renovations and ownership ensure that the houses maintain their original charm and the community remains tight-knit.
The houses are also a popular island attraction, which means you get to wave at a lot of tourists who peek into open doors and windows. We generally really enjoy the conversations we have with those walking by who are curious about life in the campground, though our house is admittedly off the main promenade, where it’s not unusual to see tourists hopping onto someone’s private porch to pose for a cheeky photo.
But no porch peeping necessary for you guys — I’m here to give you the grand tour.
I’ll start where I tend to begin my mornings in Martha’s Vineyard, in the upstairs back bedroom. I adore this colorful room and think it’s one of the most finished in the house. The side table needs a fresh coat of paint and I think we could throw some books on the bureau, but other than that it’s golden!
If you look closely at the before photos in my previous post, you’ll notice that we almost exclusively used the furniture that came with the house (plus several billion coats of paint). In the Campground, it’s standard for houses to be sold furnished — there’s a feeling that the house and its furnishings belong together.
Then there’s the middle bedroom. Access to the back bedroom requires walking through this one, hence there’s not a ton of privacy. Someday, when the shed off the kitchen is converted into a master bedroom (it’s in the works!) I’d love to see this converted into a writing and reading room — with a day bed for extra guests, of course.
This room has come a long way since my last virtual house tour, but I still think I’d love to see some color back on the walls, as well as some accent pillows to give the beds more visual weight. But hey, isn’t that lobster rug adorable?
From the middle bedroom, we head down the hall into the house’s one full bathroom (and yup, we had nine people sharing that one shower over July 4th weekend!) Since my last house tour, the vanity built-in was completed which makes a huge difference in making this room feel finished. It just couldn’t be cuter.
Finally, the front bedroom. This is the most private of the three (until the master bedroom is completed, that is) and has it’s own adorable balcony overlooking the street. It even has a teeny closet, a rarity in campground houses. I absolutely love what my mom has done with this room, brightening up the furniture and filling it with local art.
Looking at these photos we agreed the bed could be punched up with some more colorful pillows, but that aside we’re ready to declare this another room done.
The stairwell down to the first story is lined with more Vineyard art and local flea market finds.
And now, the first story of the house. Our front room is gargantuan by Campground standards, but we’re still struggling to find a layout that works, a furniture arrangement that we love, and a design scheme that unites it together. But it’s come a long way.
My favorite part of this room are the lanterns hanging over the couch from the Campground’s famous Illumination Night. We found these originals in the shed after we bought the house, and now they’re some of our most prized possessions.
Tucker’s favorite spot? The fireplace, of course. I crack up every time I walk into the house and find him here.
Like most families around the world, we do the most livin’ in the kitchin. It’s by far my favorite room in the house. It was the first room my mom redid after buying the place, so not much has changed aside from more accessories and storage and a need to redo the floors again already. (My mom’s big if-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now piece of advice to other home improvement addicts? Do the floors right the first time.)
I love that this room seamlessly blends parts of the house’s original cabinetry with innovative ideas from my mom’s
personal handyman boyfriend Miller, who designed this slide-out door/large pot and pan storage unit next to the refrigerator.
I dropped the ball on taking a great picture of the dining room, unfortunately, because it’s looking cuter than ever. We eat about half our meals in here, with the other half taking place in our cute little courtyard outside.
This room get’s plenty of action otherwise, as well, as the dining table does extra double duty as a desk and board game marathon station.
And that’s our little piece of Polly Pocket paradise. (Remember Polly Pockets? When my friend Liz visited, she hilariously declared our house one, and the comparison has stuck.) Fingers crossed that next time, we’ll get to show you a gorgeous renovation of the shed below, and a landscape overhaul of the courtyard it opens out to. Maybe I’ll even get fancy and draw a floor plan.
My mom and Miller (and unwitting houseguests who are handed a paintbrush soon after arrival) work so hard on this place and I’m ever grateful to them for taking one of my favorite travel destinations and turning into a place we can all call home.
Traveling to the Vineyard and hoping to see the inside of more of the Campground houses? Try to time your visit to the annual Cottage Tour. One day a year, five to six different residents open up their homes for neighbors and tourists alike to come take a peek. I was lucky enough to catch the 2015 edition and will be making it a priority from here forward! Tickets are $25.
Otherwise, you can catch a Walking Tour, offered every Tuesday and Thursday in July and August. These tours, led by MVCMA homeowners, don’t go inside the houses but do guide you through the Campground and provide plenty of anecdotes and history about the area. Tickets are $10.
Excited to check in again next year and see how far this little house has come! Stay tuned for more adventures on the Vineyard soon…
This house is gorgeous! I especially love the decor – those pillows on the couch are adorable! 🙂
My mom is a Marshall’s and TJ Maxx ninja. I can’t believe what great stuff she always finds in there!
As someone who is also nosey about other people’s homes, I LOVE THIS POST! The lavender vanity. The color scheme in your bedroom. The lanterns & little details everywhere! Every nook is so damn adorable, I might combust from cuteness. Bravo, Mom & Miller!!
Thanks Becky! Hoping we can work together to make it even more fab in the future! 🙂
One of those white walls is just begging for sticky wallpaper with some local island color!
Ahh!! That Tucker photo cracked me up! He’s such a cutie. Lily loves sleeping in weird places, too. Her current favorite is in the corner behind a big red armchair. We can see her head peeking out from behind. If we don’t pull the chair out far enough for her to fit, she’ll just walk halfway in and whine for someone to let her all the way into her corner. Such a cute goof!
And the house is adorable. Your mom and her boyfriend did a great job!
Ahhhh, so cute. I miss Tucker now! What would we do without our dogs?
I love how dogs find the oddest places to call their own. When my German Shepherd was still allowed inside, he used to squeeze himself between our computer desk and fridge. You’d just see these great big paws peeking out. Such a cutie.
House looks great, especially that vanity!
What a munchkin! Tucker never ceases to amaze me with all the ways he finds to entertain us.
What a cute little place! Your mom certainly has a knack for interior design, every last detail is just perfect!
In our humble opinion it’s the cutest cottage in the campground 🙂 I’ll pass on your kudos!
Beautiful house Alex! The color palette used really captures the magical quality that’s around just about every corner of Martha’s Vineyard.
Ah, I love hearing from other people who love Martha’s Vineyard. It’s definitely one of my happy places <3
That house is SO adorable!
Just looked through your old post as well and you should all be so proud of what you’ve accomplished – the house is the perfect blend of colour and originality and I can see why yo’ mumma is being featured! xo
You’re so kind! Thank you — it really is amazing the amount of blood sweat and elbow grease have gone into this house (very little of it mine, admittedly 😀 )
I have the best memories of Martha’s Vineyard! Great photos 🙂
Ah, isn’t it lovely? I get so excited when someone comments who has been there!
What an amazing reno! It’s just oozing that small cottage charm.
I particularly love the design of the decorations, the furniture and the colour scheme (pastel blue is one of my favourites).
Thank you Britt! I think my mom did a great job of balancing modern comforts with the historic character of the house.
Adorable house! I was looking at the old pictures as well, and the house has definitely come a long way. Kudos to your mom, Miller, etc. for making a completely picturesque dream house!
Thanks Marni! I will pass along your lovely and kind words.
Wow! So many kudos to your mom and her guy for making such a wonderfully cozy and welcoming house! Beautiful!
Thanks Kristin! We love hosting here in person and now I love doing so virtually as well 🙂 You guys have given me all kinds of warm fuzzies.
That house is beautiful — loved the tour! I also tend to be super nosy about other people’s houses. HGTV is my FAVORITE channel 🙂
Glad I’m not the only one! I always joke that when I’m done being a travel blogger I’m going to be a DIY blogger next…
I love looking into people’s home. What a great job your parents have done. Very nice indeed!
Thanks Victoria! I love looking too. I think it’s fun to see how other people live. House tours are my favorite.
I loved the kitchen best! 🙂
I think it might be my favorite room as well 🙂
This is such a fun idea for a post, Alex! It’s so great that you can integrate such a huge part of your life into your travel blog. If I could spend a day in that kitchen…man, that’s the life. Kudos to your friend for the Polly Pocket reference. I had about a zillion of those as a child and thought of it the second I saw the pic for this post on Bloglovin’!
I used to be obsessssssed with Polly Pockets. So needless to say, I’m all onboard with the idea of living in one now. Man, I wonder where all my old ones ended up…
They are all in a box in the basement!
I’m obsessed with the upstairs back bedroom bedding! Do you remember where you got it?
Hey Libby, I’ll ask my mom to chime in if she remembers. I love it too!
Oh my gosh this is adooooorable! I love the little windows in the front bedroom, and I am seriously jealous of that kitchen right now. So perfect!
Thank you so much Erika! It’s our pride and joy…
Let’s get to the important part: Which one is my room??
I was WONDERING when you were going to chime in 😉 You’ll be the guest of honor, baby — and that means first pick!
What an adorable house! Love the colors!
Thanks Leigh! We love it so much.
This house is incredible i love the places that feel like home and familiar enviroment
Thanks Izy! It is such a comfortable house to hang out in.
ah! I love this! I saw your first house tour before and I’m loving this house even more. the built-in vanity does look nicer! hoping to see more updates in the future.
Thanks so much Janna! I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow and change over the years.
I love how the rooms color came out. Everything looks so at ease and calm. Soft colors at their finest. So pretty house with great type of furniture’s too.
Thanks Marie. I’ll pass on your compliments!