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Harbor View Guest House

Renovation

Sometime in the 1990’s the owners of a typical 1940’s era cape on Cape Cod expanded by moving an old barn to the site, adding it to one side, and repurposing it as living space. The barn was charming aesthetically but marginally functional as living space, so when our clients bought the property they asked us to renovate the cape and replace the barn.

The house sits across the street and down a long drive from a harbor front home we designed and built for the same family several years ago. With no room to expand and very little outdoor living space on the waterfront, they purchased this property to accommodate visits from their large extended family and friends. They liked the old cape/barn juxtaposition and sought to invoke it’s feeling on the entry side, but they asked for a contemporary style addition overlooking the large sweeping lawn at the back.

Our addition sits in the same location as the previous barn, and is designed to symbolically suggest “barn” when approached down the driveway. A new entry porch connects the board-and-batten clad “barn” to the side of the shingled old cape and provides shelter for a new entry door. On the lawn side the barn is transformed into a contemporary pavilion made of steel, glass, and smooth cedar board siding. A curtain wall surrounds a large family room that opens up to the outdoors with a panoramic landscape view. This is a contrast to the old cape that sits immediately adjacent and contains cozier renovated spaces. Two guest bedrooms above the family room project over the curtain wall on slender steel columns and have their own wrap-around windows. Here the addition is symmetrical and has a classical feeling, but the details are modern, allowing it to be in character with the social barn we created at the other end of the field. A one-car garage tucked under the driveway side of the addition allows storage for the client’s classic farm truck.

The fireplace in the family room is faced with cement plaster that has whole shells and wampum (the Wampanoag name for weathered quahog shell fragments) embedded in it for texture, color and seaside character. Some PSD team members found a large piece of driftwood on a nearby Cape Cod beach. We cut it to size for a mantel that, along with the freestanding fireplace on which it hangs, acts as a sculptural focal point set in one corner of the space.