Like virtually all remaining undeveloped waterfront lots on Cape Cod, the site for Maison Sirene d’Huitre was a challenge. The space available was a triangular plateau downhill from the street and another property, and uphill from the waterfront. The client likes rambling Shingle Style houses and, to the extent possible on the site, PSD 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 necessarily need a water view, although the entry does have a peak through the depth of the house out to the view. Two wings 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 two-story linear bar connecting the rotated end pavilions and maximizing windows that face the view. First- and second-floor porches cutting into the bar add character, variety, and useful spaces.
The house is 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. Below the apartment is a playroom with walk-out access to a swimming pool and terrace area 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. A whimsical mermaid weather vane, loosely based on a historical example, stands atop a cupola that is open to the in-law suite below. She was designed to point her finger in whatever direction the blowing wind dictates.