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Part of the front elevation at PSD's "Saint Peter's Cottage" project.

Saint Peter’s Cottage

Saint Peter’s Cottage reflects playful joie de vivre. Its lighthearted eclecticism provides a rich but relaxed retreat from urban life for a sophisticated family. New England shingle and Gothic revival styles provided the initial inspiration, as did the seaside location. Symbolic interpretations are possible at the large scale of the entire house, the medium scale of individual spaces, and the small scale of details. Take a look, for example, at the street facing side of the house, with its asymmetrically curved roof at the taller eastern end, low roofed but vertically accented center entry, and eyebrow-dormered sloped roof at the western end. What do you see—locomotive, sea creature, cresting wave, abstracted vernacular Dutch colonial…? There is motion here. The house appears to reach for the ocean, just to the east, or to be driving toward the Old Village, just to the west. Multiple possible readings make it rich and interesting, like its neighborhood that is part beach community, part dense village, and part suburb.

At the side of the house, the transition from one story at the front to two stories at the back is most apparent.
Scope of Work Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Construction
Finished Space Above Grade 4,125
Photography Brian Vanden Brink
Brackets, a large roof overhang, and an inset porch don’t negate the taut, flat plane that is fancifully cut into an evocative shape.
A bay window occurs directly across from the front door and overlooks the courtyard.
Interior shapes and details at both the front and back stairs. The Piranesian drama starts here.
The main corridor and a service corridor flank the main stair. These circulation spaces combine with the stair, its landings and balcony edge above, arches, shaped ceilings, and high windows to create a small but complex Piranesian space at the core of the house.

The existing home that had been on the property had two wings. The owner requested a similar layout in their new house, with both main and guest wings.

This layout allows both togetherness and separation when guests are present. To accommodate this request, fit into the neighborhood, and to take advantage of water views, the house shifts in scale, each side having its own distinct and dynamic character. The larger scale east (family) wing is almost all glass facing the water view. The smaller scale west (guest and garage) wing gestures toward the village while an eyebrow peels up out of the roof to bring light into the back stair beyond and to add a touch of anthropomorphism.

Ceiling coffers, large windows, and elegant details in the family room.
The main family room mantel has a miniature version of the front porch engraved into a frieze pattern. A traditional element (fireplace mantel) is here made contemporary through invention.
A great view and a direct route to outdoor dining and grilling is provided in the kitchen. Classic Louis Poulsen light fixtures are, like the space itself, warm but contemporary. A path to the beach runs through the trees beyond.
Dining is between, and completely open to, kitchen and family spaces. A ceiling coffer pattern, however, follows and helps give centers to the functions below.
The primary suite is on the second floor and faces the view. It has access to a private balcony held up on two large curvaceous brackets.
The primary bathroom of PSD's "Saint Peter's Cottage" project.
The stairs leading up to the guest bedrooms in the guest wing.
The guest wing has a family room as well, with a little less detail but still uniquely crafted for this house.

The balanced asymmetry of the street-facing façade accommodates eccentricities, in fact it benefits from them.

The small window at the western end of the white painted, “vestigial” entry porch is joined to the adjacent larger by fanciful reverse curve woodwork, like a bracket, but here just a flat profile. This may appear to be pure whimsy. There is an “a ha” moment, however, when one is inside and realizes there is a functional determinate. The smaller window accommodates the laundry machines, located in the mud room, and tucked in below the window. Playful, whimsical spaces and details make this house unique to its owners and a great place to relax and have fun.

The afternoon glow permeates the study with light from the northwest. Arched window muntins in the study windows have an abstracted Gothic Revival character.
Front entry at PSD's "Saint Peter's Cottage" project.
The courtyard is designed to be a private, contemplative space. The ambiguity of the front goes away here—it is clearly two tall masses connected horizontally. An area-way leads to a finished lower level that houses a playroom and exercise room.

Each façade has a different, but still friendly, character.

At the rear, the courtyard is designed to be a private, contemplative space. The ambiguity of the front goes away here—it is clearly two tall masses connected horizontally. An area-way leads to a finished lower level that houses a playroom and exercise room. On the ocean-facing façade, the four-light windows are domestic-looking but scaled to the view.

The ocean-facing façade is from a different, but just as friendly, world. The four-light windows are still domestic looking but scaled to the view.

As Seen In...

PSD AHCC Spr Sum24 Saint Peters Cottage

Whimsical Wonder, by Carol K. Dumas, Spring/Summer 2024.

PSD's "Saint Peter's Cottage" project is featured in Cape Cod & The Islands Summer 2022 issue.
Cape Cod & The Islands

Shifting Perspectives, by Jennifer Sperry, Summer 2022.