This beloved seaside cottage was originally built in 1920 and has been occupied by the same family for several generations. The wife of the current occupants grew up in the house in the summertime. Over the years, the house has been renovated several times but has retained its classic gambrel-roofed beach house character. The main focus of PSD’s recent renovation was to open up the living, dining, and entry hall spaces to one another and to the expansive ocean view. As a getaway for an active family, it was important to have a connection to the outside, to provide easy indoor/outdoor entertaining, and to facilitate socializing.
The existing front entry was tight and dark. PSD expanded the space to provide natural light from three directions. The enlarged entry also now features built-in storage that provides some mudroom-type function to a house that doesn’t otherwise have one. The conservation restrictions on the blufftop site did not allow new foundation, so the “saddlebag” bay windows cantilever off the small existing entry porch with fanciful reverse curve bases. Other exterior additions were modest: a small dormer facing the street, another fanciful detail around the arch-topped front window, a cupola and mermaid weathervane, a bay window in the kitchen, and a bracket-supported overhang over the doors and windows facing the deck and view. The design at the top of the entry built-in was created to reference the existing arched-top transom at the main door—repeating a classic motif as a subtle contemporary decorative pattern engraved into the woodwork. From the main entry, one now has a panoramic view out to the ocean through the living and dining spaces. These spaces were opened up to each other through an arcade that defines them as separate spaces, but still allows social interaction and view. Wraparound windows were installed to take advantage of the view and to capture natural light from three directions. As an older home, PSD assessed the existing structural elements while renovating. The columns between the living and dining areas also provide critical structure to the 1920’s house. The unique scallop shell fireplace capitols, ceiling design, and shiplap paneled walls all add special character to the updated space. PSD also added additional kitchen cabinetry, renovated the sitting area behind the new bay window in the kitchen, and revised the stair space and details. Atop the existing kitchen wing now sits a large custom-designed mermaid and starfish weathervane on a small cupola—a nod to the home’s seaside location. She is in scale with the beach and ocean below and intentionally, and delightfully, out of scale with the house. In addition to being the architect and builder of the project, PSD served as the landscape architect, designing walkways, front patio for dining out of the wind, outdoor kitchen, plantings, and a firepit terrace right at the edge of the bluff.