A waterfront home goes from feeling dark and dated to open and airy in just five months.By Rachel Arroyo | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Family and friends are important to David and Patricia Wallace. Every summer the couple packs up their family, a young son and their excitable Shitzu-Yorkshire terrier named Mulligan, and migrates north from their home in Florida to Cape Cod, where David grew up. In 2007 the couple decided to buy a summer home on Craigsville Beach where they could spend time enjoying the sun and surf with family and friends.
Long on views, but short on space and light, the 1950s home needed a lot of work. “It was fairly dark for a house on the beach,” David explains, and, “It needed new plumbing and electrical.” When the couple bought the home, their plan was to knock it down. But, with the help of Architect Gordon Clark and John Falacci and his crew from Home Improvement Specialists, David and Patricia were able to achieve their dream vacation home without a costly and time-consuming demolition.
Fast and downright fabulous
Taking less than five months total, the whole house renovation started with fixing a leaky pipe in the downstairs bathroom and continued on to the dark, enclosed kitchen. Adding much-needed open space to the kitchen, the living room wall separating the two rooms was removed and extra layers of ceiling were discarded. To add light and expansive ocean views, taller, wider windows were installed around a custom-built window seat that also holds extra storage as well as a plush pullout doggie bed for Mulligan. A large L-shaped island with counter seating and an extra sink displaced the more formal kitchen-table seating and is now one of the most popular spots in the house. “My favorite part is how the kitchen counter was set up,” says David. “It’s nice to get a cup of coffee in the morning and just have the whole ocean coastline view right in front of you. We didn’t have that before.”
Rethinking the second floor
Improved views of the ocean are especially noticeable on the second floor, where multiple dormers were put in to create more usable space in rooms with sharply sloping rooflines. David’s small 10-by 12-foot office area boasts a first-rate view of Centerville River out of the nearly floor-to-ceiling dormer window. In the opposite direction, looking through the clear office door, you can see Nantucket Sound. To save on space, custom built-in shelves and bookcases crafted by Scott Horgan from Horgan Millworks in Hyannis provide plenty of storage. “ The amount of detail and thought that went into this is incredible,” says Falacci about utilizing every inch of the home. “A lot of times we were scaling things off to a quarter of an inch to maximize space.”
The master bedroom, which also gained a large dormer, was carefully laid out. “It felt like we picked up a lot of space just with the [addition of the] curved wall and the windows looking out over the coastline,” says David about the changes to the room. To capitalize on crisp natural lighting and clear ocean views without having to sacrifice privacy, a clerestory of small rectangular windows were added and now create a continuous line of windows within the room. And, instead of installing one single door, which would require more swing space, space-saving double doors were used to lead into the make-up sitting area connected to the walk-in closet and small private bathroom.
On the opposite side of the second floor is Andrew’s room, a cozy nook where a seven year old has space to play and plenty of built-in shelves and storage to stow away his valuable toys. Complementing the fun, nautical-theme of the bedroom, the adjoining bath has wall-mounted light fixtures reminiscent of boat lighting and sailboat accessories displayed front and center on a custom shelf. The tilt-down vanity mirror can be adjusted as he grows.
Space for friends and family
Originally the whole house renovation project did not include remodeling the guest quarters above the garage, but since a working crew was already on site, John suggested tackling that space as well. With the deadline remaining the same, it was a risky proposition. The guest quarters were given the same treatment as the main house: space- and light-enhancing dormers, built-in shelving, and laid-back Cape Cod coastal décor put together by interior designer Marilee Bentz, who had worked with the Wallaces on their Florida residence.
Making it feel beachy
“The design I would call Cape Cod modern,” says Marilee Bentz, was has been an interior designer for more than 30 years. “I wanted to make it feel current for a young family,” she says. Because of the tight timeline, Marilee looked for quick-ship items from major retailers such as Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel and in-stock items at Ethan Allen in Hyannis. “You can go to major retailers and still put together a beautiful room,” she says, adding, “The trick is to mix pieces.” The woven armchair in the guest living room is from Ethan Allen, the dining room table in the main house is from Crate & Barrel, the area rugs in the living room of the main house come from West Elm and the artwork in Andrew’s room is pure Pottery Barn.
The project’s tight space and even tighter timeline were challenging parts of the remodel. But, amazingly, the Wallaces’ had their Cape Cod getaway just in time for the summer season.