After two years of planning, a couple with a real love of Cape Cod finally have a home where they can entertain large gatherings and later spend their retirement years.By Rachel Arroyo | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Moving was nothing new for a married couple who met in college more than 30 years ago. In three decades they’ve raised two children and moved ten times to various locales across the United States. The one constant was vacationing on the Cape.
Although they owned a charming ranch-style home in Brewster, it was too small for entertaining all the friends and family who visited. “While we were thinking about expanding, our Realtor told us we should check out a lot that recently came on the market,” the wife explains. The acre lot had beach rights and was just two streets away from close friends.
The homeowners hired architectural firm Zibrat & McCarthy to design the project. “They wanted something that fit into the neighborhood and that was cottage like,” says Mark Zibrat, who designed the five-bedroom home.
Even though the house is 5,000 square feet and has a high ceiling height and roof span, the homeowners “wanted to keep it low profile and modest,” Mark recalls.
The well-planned design includes a master wing with an office on the west side of the home; the kitchen, living room, all-season sun porch and dining area at the heart; and the second-floor guest quarters over the garage.
Crisp, Casual Interiors with a Finished Look
Gable Building Corp. built the project. “We felt that not only would they build a quality house but brought a lot of creativity to the process,” says the wife about working with Jim Gable and Mike Berg. “Both have a wonderful eye for detail and were able to tour me through some other homes they built, which gave me some wonderful ideas to translate to my home.”
The couple wanted the house to feel casual and comfortable like a vacation home but also look like a more formal residence for retirement in the future. “I wanted the whole house to feel accessible and cozy,” she explains. White v-groove paneling lends a casual note while custom-made built-ins create continuity of design throughout the home for a finished look. “I went with a lot of built-ins because I wanted a clean crisp look,” explains the wife, “and also I wanted our life to feel uncluttered.”
An open floor plan was a must for entertaining. The living room, dining room, kitchen and sun porch open up into one large space. Ingeniously, the sun porch can be closed off from the dining room and the kitchen and living area with folding glass doors or opened to allow for a seamless flow between rooms. “I love the folding doors between the kitchen and porch; they slide open so easily and make entertaining so easy,” says the homeowner.
The kitchen, designed by Casa Verde Designs in Minneapolis, needed to accommodate a family who likes to cook and entertain. The expansive custom-made center island, made to resemble furniture with built-in drawers and legs, serves as both prep area and casual gathering spot. The white kitchen cabinetry was also designed to look like furniture. “I used antique glass in the cabinet; it gives a nice sway to the glass when looking at it,” says the homeowner.
The laundry room, off the side of the kitchen, was the most challenging room to design. Because of regulations, the house had to be set back 300 feet from the pond, pushing the east end of the house to be designed at an angle; the need for stairs to the second-floor guest area above the garage further complicated things. The result was a small, oddly shaped laundry room. “It’s always challenging when you are dealing with angles,” comments Zibrat, “but it adds variety to the house.” Berg, who was responsible for positioning a washer, dryer, sink and storage area into the room says, “It was a challenge to fit everything into the laundry room, being mindful that it still needed to function.” “It’s one of my favorite rooms but not one of my favorite jobs,” jokes the homeowner.
After the day is complete the hosts and guests can all retreat to their separate quarters. On the east side, above the garage, are guest accommodations replete with an informal sitting area decked out with nautical elements. “The rooms over the garage were designed to accommodate our children and their friends and eventually their families,” the homeowner explains. “Hopefully someday there will be grandchildren and they can have some privacy as well as [be able to] get up at any hours of the night.”
At the opposite end of the home is the master wing. “Our master bedroom, bathroom and office [area] is our little retreat from the rest of the house—private and quiet,” she says. A small yet formal sitting area off the master suite “is a sort of privacy buffer,” says Zibrat, that separates the master suite from the main living areas. A walk-in closet alcove off the master bath was designed so the homeowners don’t have to walk through the bedroom to get dressed. Meanwhile the small but functional 10-by 14-foot office, requested by the husband, benefitted from built-in bookcases designed by Berg as well as faux cabinetry and a custom shadow-box decoration crafted to create depth, making the diminutive room seem larger.
After almost two years of planning and building, the project is complete. “When I walk into our home, I feel so connected to the house and the land; we completely de-stress,” says the homeowner. “It is our sanctuary that always brings us peace and calm and lots of company—and time to reconnect with good friends and family.”