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Fool’s Paradise

Renovation
2014 BRICC Award (GOLD)

A client with a good sense of humor asked for a renovation and expansion of their 1930s Cape to add significantly more space, maximize a narrow ocean view, open dark spaces to the light, and create usable outdoor living space. They liked the rambling nature of the old house that had grown with various additions over time. All of the existing structure was maintained and expanded in a similarly additive way. The goal was to provide a contextual Cape Cod feeling, but also accommodate contemporary art and furniture for the retirement home of a worldly couple. The low ceilings, cozy spaces, and multiple fireplaces of the old Cape remain in portions of the interior, but the whole is now updated, organized, and functional for casual, contemporary living. Outdoor living spaces were also created that take advantage of various aspects of the site from ocean view, to a large swimming pool, to a contemplative labyrinth.

The exaggerated fool weather vane was modeled after a tarot card from the owner’s collection, but the fool’s staff was replaced with a golf club and a martini was placed in his other hand. The facial profile is the husband’s actual face, photographed surreptitiously by his wife for use in the design and for his surprise. A functional but unattractive chimney cap was shrouded by a flaring copper screen with flame-like zigzags cut into the copper—a playful detail that contributes to the dancing roofscape of chimney, dormers, cupola, weather vane, and finial. Other classically-inspired but casual details include pineapple-topped pilasters signaling welcome at the front door, and cut-out shapes in the shutters and new back stair balustrade.

The existing driveway was where the property's best ocean view was available. The driveway was moved to pass in front of the house to a new garage at the east end. This allowed locating the addition to access the view. A new porch off of the living room and new dining space leads to a terrace. These spaces align with the view beyond, as does the new master bedroom directly above. To avoid overwhelming the existing Cape, subtle asymmetrical balance was the design intent. The new full two-story addition steps back and up. An existing projecting wing at the back is now one side of a small courtyard formed by the new wing. A new stair runs along the courtyard, connecting the daily indoor experience with the outdoor living spaces and peaks of the spectacular gardens beyond.