Archia Homes turns a 1950s ranch into a sun-filled cottage by the bay.By Jennifer Sperry | Photography by Remark Visions
Design/ Build: Archia Homes
Masonry: R & R Masonry
When design/build firm Archia Homes in Duxbury stumbled across a diamond-in-the-rough parcel for sale in their hometown, they decided it was the perfect investment for one particular client. They had worked with the couple before, rehabbing different homes and building one from scratch. This new prospect seemed right up the pair’s alley: a dated structure in a to-die-for setting.
The couple leapt, and an extensive remodel that lasted just over a year began. “They live year round in the Boston area,” says Peter Stames, the project’s design principal and Archia founder. “This was destined to be a summer getaway for them, a retreat unlike any of their other properties.”
Dated ranch to coastal cottage
What the owners snagged initially was a 1950s ranch that “hadn’t been touched since the ’60s,” describes Stames. “It was about 2,000 square feet, with carpeting, low ceilings, run-of-the-mill kitchen, tiled sunroom and an unfinished basement,” he relates. Its redeeming feature: 200 feet of frontage on Kingston Bay, and water and marsh views galore.
Working closely with the wife, an interior designer, Stames began reimagining the gutted ranch as an updated coastal cottage. Wanting to avoid anything overly large or imposing, the owners forewent the prospect of a second story, content with the possibilities afforded by the promise of high ceilings, a view-laden interior and finished walkout basement.
Stames altered the existing rooflines, gaining those promised high ceilings throughout. He introduced dormers—including a lyrical eyebrow dormer over the living room’s French doors—achieving a more architecturally interesting roofline while capturing as much natural light as possible. Additional exterior improvements included a new front porch—“They wanted a welcoming feature,” notes Stames—and in the rear, a deck and pergola-covered terrace.
Overwriting the ranch’s existing room arrangement, Stames reimagined a brand-new interior layout for his clients that reaches from a kitchen/dining area on one end to a living room, office space and master suite on the other. Guest suite, pantry/laundry room and media room on the lower level round out the 2,400 square feet of remodeled living space.
In order to execute the wife’s vision of a bright white interior punctuated by rustic, exposed ceiling beams, Stames and his team sourced weathered barn beams from Nor’east Architectural Antiques in New Hampshire. Random-width white oak flooring—reclaimed and hailing from Wellborn + Wright in Virginia—echoes the beams’ age with its visible character and purposeful gray patina.
Stames added visual and textural interest to the all-white interior via detailed millwork, such as board-and-batten walls and V-groove paneling on the ceilings. Built-ins also abound: “They provide an extra level of finesse and make the house feel more cozy,” he explains. The dining area features a set of bookcases and window seat, and the living room sports a wall of display shelves and a TV cabinet above the fireplace. The master bedroom benefits from a built-in armoire for extra clothes storage.
Different door styles add yet another layer of detail. One kitchen door has a porthole, a barn-style door slides open between the office and master suite and a saloon-style swing door leads into the master bathroom. Interestingly, the dividing wall between the master bedroom and adjoining bath does not reach the ceiling—“It’s only a partial wall; it keeps the master bath feeling open and allows light to pass through,” says Stames.
The home’s standout woodwork continues into the kitchen, with custom-crafted cabinets by Hyannis-based Horgan Millwork. Open shelving contributes to the room’s relaxed “cottage” spirit, while a bold navy Viking range and matching hood anchor its nautical vibe. Rich walnut—a warm contrast to the white cabinets and quartz countertops—was used for the raised eating bar, refrigerator panel and four whimsical pullout storage cubbies in a lower cabinet neatly labeled: bread, sweets, pasta and treats.
Opting for a lower ceiling in the kitchen was purposeful: “I like a home to have different ceiling heights; it makes for a much more interesting experience,” says Stames.
One final perk offset the owners’ gamble on their new Duxbury property: an outlying boathouse. Archia Homes preserved the bones, placed it on a new foundation and transformed it into an enviable “man cave”—a bonus retreat within a retreat. Its centerpiece bar is all reclaimed: not just the bar top, but also the barn boards comprising the base. “It has running water, heat, a fireplace, TV, surround sound, fridge, ice maker, even air conditioning. All the creature comforts,” says Stames of the finished outbuilding.
Now, the owners’ cottage and bonus boathouse both take full advantage of their property’s best amenity: the neighboring bay. Whether the day brings dazzling sun or a cloud-riddled sky, July heat or September crispness, the new house offers an ever-bright, always inviting setting that is quick to charm.