Blog Category: Architecture (Page 1)

Tips from Interior Designers to Reimagine Your Home

One of our favorite things about providing architectural photography on Martha’s Vineyard is collaborating with the talented interior designers that work on many of the homes we capture. When we shoot for architecture we are capturing the design and construction of a building, a structure that should speak of its time and place and the life of inhabitants. We’re also capturing the interior design, the thoughtful details that complement the architectural features and really define the space and its purpose, while highlighting certain elements and personalizing the space for those lucky enough to live in it. 

Many of the homes we capture are new construction, some are renovated historic homes, with stories to tell from generation to generation. Interior design allows the same space to be freshened up again and again, and regardless of the space you live in some interior design tips can really go a long way. These days we are spending more time at home than ever before. It is important to cultivate a space that reflects your personal style and supports the activities you’re performing there, not to mention a place to unwind.

As spring approaches we wanted to share some practical interior design tips from some of the talented designers we work with, whose incredible eyes can transform spaces, create harmony, evoke emotion, and curate places you’d never want to leave. Try adapting some of their tips to help reimagine your home this season and maximize the potential of the walls you’re within.

Mary Rentschler of
Rentschler Company Interiors, Martha’s Vineyard. Check out this fascinating story about a historic home in Chilmark Marcy recently styled that we had the pleasure of photographing. 

  • Be strategic about how you’re using your home. Assess where you spend the most time and ask yourself what activities you do there. Don’t be afraid to consider changing a room’s function as needed and adjust your floor plan and furniture layouts accordingly. Figure out ways to make spaces more functional and visually appealing with good lighting, comfortable seating, and be sure to create a place to work away from the fray of a busy household.

  • Restyle the shelves in your house and make new use of things you already own. In the kitchen add interesting unpredictable objects such as small mirrors, paintings, or objects you can source from elsewhere in your house. Restyle your bookshelves (especially if they’re on display on your Zooms!) and add some new memorabilia, photos, vases, natural treasures such as shells, rocks and feathers. Cull some unread books from your bookshelves and make new groupings on your coffee table. 

  • Update your textiles. Source new throw pillows, throws, pillow cases etc. Find vintage fabric to drape over the back of your couch, or layer at the bottom of your bed. Hunt down some fun new towels or recycle others from your linen closet. Change it up, mix it up and layer with texture and pattern. 

  • Paint an accent wall. Select a wall in your front hall or bedroom or somewhere that will enliven a forgotten space. Don’t be afraid of COLOR, especially after a grey winter! 

  • Create user friendly and attractive ways to organize. Stash important things in ottomans with storage, beautiful baskets and use visually attractive containers to store things you need to access.

Megan Weeks of
M Weeks Design, servicing Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and Manhattan

  • Invite the outdoors in. Nature provides the very best design elements. Snip some greenery and place in pottery or tall pitchers.  It needn’t be elaborate; a solitary leafed branch in a clear glass can be stunning. Plant fresh herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, and lemon verbena in small pots or boxes, and place inside on your kitchen windowsills.  They’re beautiful, decorative, and fragrant, and having them easily within reach will inspire you to use and enjoy them.

  • Revitalize something you already own. For those of you looking to invest a little DIY time in a project that’s quick and satisfying, consider dedicating an hour or two to transform a wooden piece you already have—such as a mirror, stool, or side table—with chalk paint.   Chalk paint comes in a range of lush colors and is very easy to apply; there’s no need to prime — just paint! It dries quickly and is extremely forgiving. 

  • Indulge in something useful, colorful and delightful. Freshen and brighten your home for spring by adding a cheery and welcoming rug in your entryway, bright cloth napkins to your table, or decorative pillows and throws to your bedrooms and seating areas. If your walls need a refresh, create some simple but impactful art by framing colorful handmade papers or wallpaper (options aplenty on Etsy and Amazon). Consider repainting your front door, as the gateway to your home, your door is the perfect place to go big and bold with color. Why not choose a color for each side – one color for welcoming, and another for departing.

  • Place beauty where you’re busiest. On your desk and within sight of the kitchen sink, create a few vignettes that bring you joy and tranquility. A cherished photograph, a smooth beach stone, an elegant candle can re-center and transport you.

  • Remember to be gentle with yourself and those around you. This has been an incredibly tough year all around.  Try to give yourself little wins and glimpses of beauty when and where you can.

Susan Bielski of
Susan Bielski Design

  • Give your Quarantine Spaces some color. Liven it with a fresh coat of color, and punctuate it with a new pillow cover or a plant. I think that color really sets the tone for any space you enter.

  • Declutter. For months your winter reading from cookbooks to magazines have been piling up. If you’ve read it, recycle it. If you haven’t read it yet, ask yourself if you really need or want to; toss it or pass it on. Pick up, put away, containerize, or toss. Purging and organizing is a great morale booster, so give yourself a simpler space to breathe in.

  • Create an outdoor space you can spill into. Once the sun warms up you’ll want to be out there and a small bistro table and chairs could be your new Zoom Room, or a place for that end of day refreshing beverage. Shop the thrift stores or your own garage for someone’s hand-me-down porch seating. Add potted flowers or a container of tomatoes and feel the spirit of spring!

  • Don’t let work follow you everywhere. If you’re working from home it’s great to know you can move your laptop and virtually work anywhere, but you really need to designate a non-work area; a place to unplug and not engage with the mechanical/technical world.

  • Give your Kids a ‘free-zone.’ They’ve been stuck inside too. Give them a space where they know they can just play and hang out, and not have to follow the rules of being in a Zoom Room. It could be a reading nook filled with throw pillows and a colorful yoga mat, or a tent where they can hide from the same technology and noise we all want to run from!

Buildings speak for themselves, and with architectural photography we listen

From total new builds to renovations, additions, deep energy retrofits, and a whole host of other construction projects, our commercial spaces and residential homes on Martha’s Vineyard are in a constant state of flux. As architectural photographers we are often enlisted at the completion of these designs, and for good reason–to help capture an impressive new space that has been carefully considered, respectfully constructed and thoughtfully designed. 

Have you ever picked up a real estate guidebook to browse images of beautiful homes while imagining yourself inside their aspirational spaces? Architecture photography allows people to obtain a visual understanding of buildings they may never get the opportunity to visit, creating a valuable resource that allows us to expand people’s knowledge and understanding of places unknown.

For our clients, including local builders, architects, interior designers, real estate and construction companies, our photography provides valuable documentation of some of their most prized and often most complex work. When you think about the endless hours that go into a building project isn’t it only right to honor that commitment by showcasing it as accurately and professionally as possible? That’s where we come in. Our photography enables our clients to better educate and entice their perspective clients, and we present their work in the most beautiful way they can. 

Essentially, beyond the basics of building and construction, architecture is a thoughtful process of design and function. More than the structure itself, it represent its time and place and inhabitants. That’s why when we approach an architectural photography project we are looking to highlight the beauty of the building, but also its purpose, its uniqueness, its essence.

There’s a lot to consider and in order to capture all of these elements we begin by documenting the spatial design and architectural details of a place. Next, we focus on the unique features, additions, and customized design elements that make the space come alive. When we initially take on a project we consult with our client and scout the location with them, so they can point out those distinctive characteristics that set the building apart. By facilitating this type of collaboration from the beginning, we can develop a strategic approach for the rest of our work. This ensures that our final images most accurately reflect the space, its character, and our client’s intentions. 

Its no surprise that potential buyers and clients are often drawn to properties by images, and the accurate, attractive photographs we provide can be very valuable to our clients. Using composition, angles, images and other photography fundamentals, we illustrate the exceptional characteristics that best represent the space, resulting in dynamic images. We assess how all of the the elements fit together by adding and removing props and accents as needed, for example fruit and flowers might enhance a kitchen, while books and glasses could help define a reading area.

As always, using the right tools in our toolkit for is critical, and the lenses we use for architectural photography allow us to depict any interior or exterior with a wide eyed perspective–without distortion or converging lines. With the help of our professional lenses we can precisely capture the area, and effectively shoot smaller spaces like bathrooms and closets.

One tool we can’t directly control is the natural light, but we can thoughtfully consider it, as we always do. When we scout a location for our architecture photography we are able to note the angle of the sun and how it lights up a room. The space’s potential for  natural light allows us to determine the best time of day to photograph what room and when. 

Mother Nature can also present us with weather challenges and seasonal factors that can affect our architecture photography too. For interior shots we can shoot year round, and winter is a particularly great time on the Cape and Islands. Many second home owners and rental clients have left or moved out of the space for the time being. Without the leaves on the trees there is more natural light streaming in, and when snow is present it creates a beautiful glowing effect that can be reflected into a space. 

As for capturing exteriors, late spring, summer and fall are good times of year, as you want to consider the state of the landscaping and how you want it showcased. Fortunately our drone can capture exterior shots of our architecture projects all year–it’s especially great for expressing the nearby physical features of a property. By capturing the building’s natural habitat, like a wooded area or nearby coastline, or proximity to a neighboring structure, a broader context of the property can be shared. With a bird’s eye view a whole new perspective is gained and the location is further revealed. 

All of our efforts, considerations, tools, and techniques are what allow us to bring static spaces and places to life through our architectural photography. We’ve been lucky enough to work with Building Shelter, Martha’s Vineyard Construction Company, LDa Architecture + Interiors, Island Housing Trust, Tracker Home Decor, LandVest, The Winnetu Hotel and Resort and Concept Building this year and we’ve captured some truly incredible spaces on Martha’s Vineyard and in America. We do our best to represent the dedication that has gone into the construction of the building, and the talent and craftsmanship of our clients, and as always, art and design remain at the center. 


It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s our drone!

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last thirty years as photographers, it’s that we should never stop learning. After three decades in our line of work we’re still evolving, getting inspired, and always looking to expand our knowledge base. Last year we began embracing drone photography at home on the Island and overseas throughout our travels. We’ve been having a lot of fun with it–and our clients have too!

At RBP drone photography is another lens for us to look through, it’s another tool in our toolkit. We’ve always tried to capture things from different perspectives and drone photography automatically gives us a new outlook. From high above, aerial photography can capture more of the surrounding area in every shot.

On the Island that means more of our expansive beaches and lush landscapes, resulting in a whole new composition for our photos. Our high flying camera enables us to capture unique viewpoints of our subjects in a whole new way, and can tell the story of our subject more broadly, with more context.

With a bird’s eye view we see things in a way we could never see them before, creating images like we’ve never produced them before. In many ways it’s a more simplified view, in others it’s more complex. 

From high above we see patterns in the land appear, while the lines and shapes that make up our streets and neighborhoods seem almost abstracted from afar. The spatial relations of our subjects are changed, and in essence the plot of the photo thickens. Then of course there is the light, the all-important light. It’s different from up there, and you know at RBP it’s all about the light. 

We’ve been taking RBP to new heights all year long, and we’ve captured drone photography of weddings, engagements, local business offices, architecture, coastal communities, and beyond through our worldly travels. Our drone is one of our most cherished tools, but it’s also like playing with a new favorite toy. Not only are the photos that we capture so special, but the experience of taking them is so much fun. To control our camera from afar, as it rises high atop the land, is both rewarding and entertaining–making the work we create that much more gratifying!

Ready to take it to new heights with RBP? Contact us to find out what drone photography services we can provide for you.

South Mountain Company on Martha’s Vineyard

There is a great article in this weeks Gazette entitled “They Came, They Saw, They Moved in: Exploring the Vineyard’s Counterculture Roots” which talks about folks that landed on Martha’s Vineyard in the 70’s. John Abrams who started South Mountain Company at that time was one of several people mentioned in the article. 37 years later SMC, a worker owned business, still design + build beautiful homes but now offer solar and deep energy retrofits to new and existing buildings. This summer camp was retrofitted with solar energy and a wood burning stove to increase energy efficiency through out the year.

Island Housing Trust + Habitat for Humanity + Regional Housing Authority + Island Affordable rock the house!

These organizations play an important role for families of modest incomes to find an affordable solution to housing in the overpriced market on Martha’s Vineyard. Thank you for all you do.

Originally published in the Home & Garden Fall-Winter 2011-2012 edition of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, view the article here