The floor plan in a South Harwich home is reversed in a renovation that created spaces that are much more usable.By Rob Duca | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Michael and Patricia Butler’s South Harwich summer home was something of a diamond in the rough. The upside was its close proximity to Red River Beach. The downside was that the stunning water views and a beautifully landscaped backyard with an outdoor kitchen and seating area were not being fully appreciated in a circa 1960s house that had small, isolated rooms that offered only fleeting glimpses of the dazzling sights.
Creating a clean slate
Enter Chuck Hart of Lewis & Weldon in Hyannis. Hart’s assignment: transform four tiny, walled-off rooms into an open area by incorporating a new and spacious eat-in kitchen and a living area into one space that would be ideal for entertaining the couple’s large extended family and wide circle of friends who regularly visited from across the country.
The first step was to gut the four original rooms. “With that we had a completely clean slate [of nearly 1,000 square feet] to work with,” Hart said.
Previously, the kitchen was at the front of the house, with entry to the backyard requiring a walk through the dining room, down a hallway and out a small side door. Hart reversed the layout, shifting the kitchen to the back of the house, installing oversized windows, and raising the ceiling height from 7½ to 9½ feet, thus taking advantage of the dramatic surroundings.
Modern Cape Cod style
“The kitchen was outdated, small and dark,” Patricia said. “Now we have this wonderful open gathering room. Chuck was able to give us that Cape Cod feel, but in a modern way. We used to have to walk from the backyard through the dining room with our dirty dishes; now we can walk right to the sink from the outside. And from the kitchen we can look out and see the patio. The kitchen just flows right into it.
“I can sit at my kitchen table or island and look straight out to the ocean,” she says. “It’s just a beautiful view, looking at the blue sky, the green trees and the water. We want to spend all our time here.”
With easier access, the Butlers are able to more fully enjoy a backyard that includes a brick patio, outdoor kitchen, fire pit and plenty of seating.
“The kitchen was halfway around the house before and you couldn’t even see the outside area. You were completely secluded in the kitchen,” Hart says. “We kept the same footprint, but raised the ceilings and flipped the layout.”
The open floor plan was extended throughout, so that visitors can now see through the house, into the backyard and on to the water when they walk in the front door and when entering via a side entrance.
The centerpiece to the kitchen is an eight-foot island with a Quartzite sandstone countertop with a cherry rub and coffee glaze. It is wonderfully offset by the Caesarstone Lagos Blue counters used throughout the rest of the kitchen. Glazed cream subway tiles provide an intriguing backsplash alongside custom maple cabinets painted linen white.
“The backsplash pops out beautifully,” Patricia says. “I didn’t want anything too bold. I just wanted it classic and Cape-style.”
Cabinetry hides various appliances, including a dry bar, a subzero cooler and a wine refrigerator. The countertops are distressed quarter sawn oak stained a dark walnut. By building a two-sided cabinet, Hart inserted the oven and full refrigerator on one side and on the opposite side placed a built-in fireplace and mantel, with bookcases. “It ties it all together,” he said.
An end cap next to the refrigerator was closed off with cabinet doors at the bottom, thus serving as both a pantry and a shelving unit for placing photographs, books and assorted personal memorabilia. Storage and shelving is prevalent throughout the new space. Another end cap behind the ovens provides spots for showcasing books, glasses and pottery.
Additional built-in units in the living room frame a window seat, while a built-in television sits above a fireplace framed in Botticinno maple. The center fireplace in the living room is surrounded by built-ins, with hutches on both sides.
A little something extra
Hart also made significant changes to the master bathroom. He doubled the size of the bath by removing a wall between the walk-in closet and the bath, and integrated wainscoting, bead board, mirrors and sconces for elegance.
“We’re thrilled with the finished product. It really opened up [the house],” Patricia said. “The storage is fabulous. Before we all couldn’t sit together in the same room. Now it’s great to know that family and friends can come and all be comfortable and be together. We had a party with 40 people not long ago, and everybody was at ease and had a nice place to sit.”