Riptide is a beloved Cape Cod house. It sits proudly between Shore Road, Chatham’s grand waterfront boulevard, and Chatham Harbor. As a tall Colonial Revival house sitting high above the harbor it is quite prominent. Changes to the exterior were minimal, yet they went a long way toward fixing problems inherent in the original. A new arbor was positioned so it leads to the side-facing main entry rather than to the street-facing secondary entry, as had the existing arbor. The new arbor design uses an abstracted fan light pattern from the historic main door but with a robust scale that has impact when seen from the street, several hundred feet away. A rickety widow’s walk balustrade was replaced with a new one that has whimsical, abstracted Classical urn-shaped banisters appropriate to the scale and elegance of the home. The “urns” also appear in the base of the arbor and as a stanchion in the new mailbox stand. A low stone wall and gate were added along the road. The portion of driveway that connected to a neighbor’s driveway was eliminated and overgrown bushes were removed. The grand old house is now visible from Shore Road and has its own historic but unique presence in scale with the grand boulevard.
The existing interior was dark and functioned poorly. The spaces for daily living were all on the street side with little connection to the spectacular views. They were accessible only through a butler’s pantry or a hidden door in the paneling. The south-facing front door was solid and closed off in a rarely used vestibule. There is now a clear and inviting entry sequence both inside and across the property. On the first floor, the butler’s pantry was removed and a connected breakfast/kitchen/family room was created that is open enough to provide for casual mealtime socializing, and that lets the light and view from both the northeast and northwest corners of the house penetrate the space. A large opening connects the kitchen and family spaces to the new dining room, which had been a central study that included the main stair. The stair was re-configured so that it is open to both the entry hall and the new dining space. Whimsical “Greek” columns now create an aedicule around the stair, separating it spatially, but not closing it off. The walls that had enclosed the entry hall and vestibule were opened up to let natural light into the core of the house and to let the circulation flow with ease. The second floor was reorganized to improve circulation and views.