Maison Sirene d'Huitre
Maison Sirene d'Huitre
Brian Vanden Brink
Catherine Rose Interiors
While the site for this house appears broad from the waterfront, the buildable portion, after zoning and wetland setbacks were followed, was tight for the owner’s needs. The space available was a triangular plateau downhill from the street and another property, and uphill from the waterfront. Like virtually all remaining undeveloped waterfront lots on Cape Cod, it was a challenge.
The client likes rambling shingle-style houses and, to the extent possible on the tight site, we provided one. The central gambrel-roofed portion that faces the apex of the site’s buildable triangle houses the entry, stair, garage, mudroom and laundry room – functions that don’t need a water view - although the entry does have a peak through the depth of the house out to the view. Two wings, set back from the central mass, angle away to fit into the triangle and to rotate the rooms within toward the down-river views. On the water side of the house, the central gambrel disappears and becomes a full two-story linear bar connecting the rotated end pavilions and maximizing windows that face the view. First and second floor porches are cut into the bar to gain outdoor covered spaces and to add character and variety.
The house is for summer living for a family of four plus older parents who occupy an "in-laws" apartment in a wing of its own. It has a private entrance but also direct connections into the house and onto the waterfront porch. Below the apartment is a playroom with walk-out access to a swimming pool and terrace area that are nestled into the low-point of the site to protect them from the wind. The wing on the opposite end of the house contains the living room on the ground floor and the master bedroom on the second floor. Both wings appear from the water as octagonal pavilions with their own centralized roof shapes and individual character.
A whimsical mermaid weathervane, loosely based on an historical example from a sea-faring town in Maine, stands atop a cupola that is open to the in-law suite below. We designed her to point her finger in whatever direction the blowing wind dictates. She has, however, defiantly decided to point only toward the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France, from whence her lover, Samuel de Champlain, came in 1606. He stayed with her on Cape Cod for a while and she fell deeply in love with him, but alas, the lure of the sea once again called out to him and he left her. Despite knowing deep-down what all mermaids know--that sailors can’t be trusted--she misses him still and spends her days longingly gazing out over the pond for him. Sometimes, late at night, she comes down off her perch and cavorts with the oysters in the depths of the pond. They enjoy her so much they often follow her when she returns to the cupola before day-break. No one has ever seen this but the owner’s are sure it happens because every-once-in-a-while they find an abandoned oyster shell next to her.