3,063 square feet (interior)
3,569 square feet (perceived)
The Bluffs is a classic Chatham seaside house. It stretches out from a central Greek Revival core with wings and ells added over generations. We at Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders like to think of it as a "manse". It is more casual and more quirky than a mansion. It is scaled to fit the five acres of North Chatham Harbor front that it originally occupied. The land was long ago subdivided into smaller lots but the house sits on the high ground and still commands attention as the focus of its environs.
When the owners hired us to design and build additions and renovations, the interior was like a rabbit warren: small spaces connected by inefficient and confusing circulation. We sought to create generous living space suited to the needs of a contemporary family with young children, but without damaging the eccentric charm of the old house both inside and out.
Our work occurs only on the first floor in the central and Eastern wing of the house. Here we modified the floor plan to create an open living/kitchen/informal dining space around an existing fireplace. Only a small amount of additional building footprint was needed. The old house lacked the back entry, mud room, powder room and pantry that is now contained in this addition. The significant re-working we did of the existing space was critical to the functional and aesthetic needs of the family. Adjacent to this space, we added a porch that provides outdoor dining space that both enhances the large, but private, yard and provides a water view of the harbor beyond.
In the adjacent dining room, we removed inappropriate obstructions that had been added over the years and re-created historical details to restore it to its original grandeur.