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Large lots are rare near the ocean on Cape Cod, but this beautiful land accommodates a good-sized house and a large social barn that sits as an object in the distance.

Harbor View Social Barn

As retirement approaches and more leisure time is on the horizon, couples with extended families and networks of friends often look for ways to promote fun times together. In the case of one long-standing PSD client, a large property across the street from the getaway home we designed and built for them years ago became available at just the right moment to pursue this end. The existing house on the property was well suited to renovating and expanding as guest quarters, and the large field behind it, sweeping down to woods in the distance, was just the right size and character to facilitate indoor/outdoor multi-generational play space.

Behind the fire pit and grill area is a flower garden and potting shed.
Scope of Work Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Construction
Total Finished Space 6,663
Photography Brian Vanden Brink
A combination of rusticism and modernism puts the character of the social bar and guest house addition in the same realm. Light monitors, snow guards, and solar panels populate a standing seam metal roof. The large solar panel array powers the complex as owner and guests power through their workout or games, or relax through days of retirement.
A bocce court completes the recreational scene. A sweeping pitched roof with large overhangs allows the pavilion to appear to hug the ground.

PSD set out to design a “social barn” and associated landscape for the back of the property. The goal was to create an environment of pleasure and relaxation—as well as to bring people together in a dynamic venue for great parties, workouts, basketball, and board games.

Timeless appeal (both classical and contemporary); functionally attuned but flexible spaces; simple but well proportioned forms; and beautiful but durable materials, were all on the agenda.

The social pavilion has an exposed fir wood post and beam frame of mortise and tenon interlocked solid and glue-laminated timbers. The custom designed trusses in both the gym and social hall were created to be structurally sound as well as aesthetically pleasing. Engineering and visual elegance go hand-in-hand in this type of construction. Walls and roof are attached to the outside of the timbers as SIPs (structural insulated panels) that integrate exterior wall, interior wall, and high-performance insulation into a panelized system. A fireplace with a large television anchors one side of the room. Large steel-framed windows and doors open the space to the light and landscape beyond on the other three sides.
Computer-controlled LED lighting is concealed within the trusses, within the luminescent bar surface, and in a cove above the paneling of the gymnasium walls. A digital color-wheel system allows the light to be set at any color or to automatically rotate through the wheel—not necessarily appropriate for a basketball game but great for a party!
The kitchen has a view down into the court.

The front of the building is a social hall built with an exposed fir wood post and beam frame—a nod to the “barn” idea but with crisp contemporary detailing. Lights hidden above the beams and in ridge-top skylights can be set to any color or to automatically run through the color spectrum. An acrylic bar top has the same feature. A fireplace with a large screen television anchors the center of one side of the room and large steel-framed windows and doors open the space to the landscape beyond on the other three sides.

One can sit at the bar and watch basketball on the screen or live in the regulation sized half basketball court below. Alternatively, one can sit on the couch and watch a move, or in the kitchen while enjoying a snack.
A self-supporting steel, wood, and cable rail stair hovers over the space below. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo (officially authorized by the University) inspires better play on the court, or at least reminds the owner of glory days! The barista above can watch, or direct, the action. Even here natural light, through skylights that straddle the roof ridge and high individual windows, is important.

A freestanding steel and fir stair is reached via an open balcony that looks down from the social hall to a half basketball court below. The court also has a dramatic high ceiling with arched fir beams and up-lighting that creates the same dynamic color sequence as in the social hall.

An exercise room, locker room, and sauna complete the lower level active retreat space. A large solar panel array positioned on the standing seam metal roof powers the complex as guests power through their workout or games.

Because the basketball court is one level down, its full height and dramatic ceiling shape and volume appear to be one story from the exterior, so the building is not overwhelming on the site.
Off the exercise room a changing/locker room, bath, shower, and sauna are practical but also luxurious.
The sauna is a perfect spot to relax after a workout.
Separated from the court by a glass wall, a fully outfitted exercise room helps keep owners and guests fit as well as entertained.
Woman’s best friend eagerly awaits her arrival as she moves across the open field from house to pavilion. Treats are on their way, and he knows it! Treats for adults await in and around the pavilion-as-play-space and at the nearby grill.
The social hall glows at night. The color wheel can be set to tint the glow for whatever mood is prevalent, or desired. The long side of the social hall opens directly to the big lawn. The north end of the hall opens onto the bocce court, and the south end, nearest the bar area, opens onto a terrace. The building touches the lawn with a wrap-around pedestal of wood steps. No plantings interrupt this direct connection. An object on a plain is the result.

As Seen In...

PSD's "Harbor View Social Barn" is featured in the Annual 2023 issue of Cape & Islands Design Guide.
Cape & Islands Design Guide

Social Barn, by Madeline Brisbane, Annual 2023.

PSD AHCC Fall22 PSD Harbor View Social Pavilion
At Home on Cape Cod

A Splash of Color, by Lisa Leigh Connors, Fall/Winter 2022.

PSD's "Harbor View Guest House and Social Pavilion" project is featured in the Summer 2021 issue of Cape Cod & The Islands magazine.
Cape Cod & The Islands

Warm Welcome, by Kelly Chase, Summer 2021.