Downsizing Without Downgrading

A couple looking to lead a simpler life builds a new home that is smaller but just as stylish as their previous home.

By Rob Duca | Photography by Amber Jane Barricman

For Joe and Rose Masse, downsizing did not mean downgrading. When the couple sold their 9,000-plus square-foot home to build a summer house in Brewster less than half that size, they wanted to create a living space to accommodate their joy of entertaining.

Entertaining made easy

Working with architect Peter Brown of Yarmouth Port, the couple’s dreams were realized with a Hampton-style cottage that includes a 40-foot wide glass/screened porch overlooking Upper Mill Pond that can be air conditioned or heated, making it ideal for gatherings regardless of the weather conditions.

The 40-foot-by-20-foot porch stretches the length of the great room and has three sets of French doors and a mahogany deck. “We can easily entertain up to 75 people,” Rose said. “It’s quite a wonderful space.”

The kitchen and great room flow into the porch to create a truly open floor plan. The great room features a granite stone fireplace, with a bead board ceiling and an eye-drop window. Instead of using post-and-beam railings for the second-story loft, glass railings were installed, creating the illusion of more space. When the eight-foot French doors are swung open, the kitchen, great room and porch all blend seamlessly together. “The porch becomes part of those rooms and the area almost doubles in size,” Joe says. “Peter did an absolutely beautiful job designing the house. It’s very attractive and unique. As you drive down the road it looks kind of different, yet still blends into the surroundings. It has kind of a Frank Lloyd Wright design.”

The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home isn’t solely about entertaining. Each bedroom is a suite, allowing for plenty of privacy when children visit.

An incredible kitchen

With the help of designer Edan Dayan of Main Street at Botellos in Mashpee and Snow & Jones, the couple has a kitchen with plenty of space, state-of-the-art appliances and vibrant colors. A federal blue center island, with a gray-beige granite countertop, includes a microwave drawer that is spacious enough to accommodate 20 ears of corn, always a staple on any summer menu. In fact, drawers are a major kitchen theme; there isn’t a cabinet door to be found with the exception of the back hall pantry. Rose prefers pullout drawers because it’s easier to retrieve pots and pans.

Of special interest is the kitchen backsplash with the eye-catching sculpture of a turtle. Made from sandstone, it was created by stone carver Tim Dibble of Brewster.

Kitchen cabinets feature water-glass fronts, an old-fashioned glass that was prevalent on Cape Cod decades ago. The pine flooring, purchased at Cataumet Sawmill in East Falmouth, is more than 200 years old.

Great fixtures are the finishing touch

Plumbing and kitchen fixtures were provided by Snow & Jones, which has offices in Falmouth, Norwell and South Yarmouth. The sink has a pair of castiron bowls with a three-inch divider, which makes for quicker clean-up.

“It’s a great sink for cooks because you really have all your tools right there in front of you,” says Danielle Jones of Snow & Jones. “We focused on making everything beautiful, functional and clean. We wanted a classic design that they can use forever.”

In the bathrooms, the emphasis was also on a streamlined look. A freestanding tub was selected for the master bath. The Lux tub, built by Caml-Tomlin, is five-and-a-half feet long, 32 inches wide and 24 inches deep. “It’s a new shape we’re seeing more in metro areas,” Jones said. “It’s really neat to see someone putting one in their Cape house.”

A Grohe adjustable hand shower in polished chrome allows for flexible positioning, for use as a therapeutic spray and for easy tile cleaning. The eight-inch Moen Isabel Rainshower head provides a soothing spray.

Matching wood vanities featuring black countertops and green Kohler Briolette
glass vessel sinks double as a work of art. Grohe Atrio wall-mounted faucets provide
the final touch. “We picked the vessel sinks because we love the glass, which resembles sandstone, and it allows you to see the granite,” Rose said. “We liked it so much we put one in the powder room, too.”

The contemporary look continues in every bathroom. Kohler Ladena rectangular undermount sinks and Kohler Oblo faucets add a modern touch to the bead board cabinetry. “Mixing the modern and the traditional creates a more transitional feel, creating a bathroom that will stand the test of time,” Jones says.

The home’s walls are adorned with original artwork, and you might call the shower tiles a piece of art as well, with sparkling diamond-shaped silver and gray glass tiles covering the upper half.

The house was constructed by Hamlyn Remodeling and Building. “Rose and Joe have
built multiple homes, so they were a joy to workwith,” Russ Hamlyn said. “They knew what they wanted. Joe spent almost the entire time there with me during the building process. We went through every piece together.”

In the end, the homeowners have a house that combines Cape Cod charm with a modern sensibility. “It sits back without jumping out at you. It
quietly looks very elegant,” Hamlyn said.

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