Modern Serenity

A clever redesign gives a modest-sized condo more light, waterfront views and storage.

By Rob Duca | Photography by Christian Scully

Architect: b Architecture Studio
Build: Cape Associates, Inc.

For a condominium in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with limited living space and a narrow footprint, it was vital that every square inch be put to practical use. Equally important was the interior redesign that required dramatic changes in order to take advantage of the property’s waterfront location. In the end, the 960-square-foot condo lives large, both from a functional and visual standpoint, thanks to a totally reconfigured space that now features dazzling views of Cape Cod Bay.


“It was an older structure, so we had the logistics of dealing with that, and it was more of a front-to-back house instead of one that sprawls across the coastline,” says Chris Brown, owner of b Architecture Studio in Osterville, Massachusetts. “We had to focus on making you feel like there is a connection to the water even when you’re on the street side of the condo. Now the house really has a classic modern feel. Everything flows and comes together and it’s just very comfortable.”

“Chris was wonderful to work with,” says the homeowner. “He was very good at designing space for storage, which was a key element of the renovation. He had some great ideas and was very supportive. This is the only renovation project I’ve ever done and I was involved in pretty much every detail. He helped me with my ideas, and when we couldn’t get something just right he worked with me until we did.”

A study in minimalism, the kitchen features neolith countertops, pewter cabinets and contemporary counter stools.


Significant changes included removing a stairway that led to the bedroom loft but blocked views to the bay; building storage space into the newly installed stairway; designing a light well in the space that previously was the sleeping area; and installing new windows to allow light to flood into the central living area.

The original stairway served as a barrier to the spectacular view of Provincetown Harbor. By building a new stairway on the opposite side of the condo, the sightline now extends from the entryway straight through the living and dining areas to the water. The new design also allowed for building storage space beneath the stairs.

Another change included raising the first-floor ceiling, which led to the discovery of wood beams that had been hidden. The beams were painted white to meet with the contemporary style desired by the homeowner. With the addition of a light well that extends from the second-floor ceiling all the way down into the apartment, the space is now flooded with natural light. “It looks beautiful,” the homeowner says. “It opened up the space in a way I did not anticipate.”

“The light well was a key move,” Brown says. “It brings ambient light into a space that would have been dark.”

By building a new stairway on the opposite side of the condo, the sightline now extends from the entryway straight through the living and dining areas to the water.


Among the other innovative features is the entry room, where a Murphy bed allows the space to double as a guest bedroom. A sliding glass door, designed by the homeowner, provides privacy when needed. When open, the space serves as a foyer.

“The creation of a wrap-around chair rail, lined up with the divided lights of the sliding glass door, makes for a purposeful connection in a small space,” says Brown.

The light-filled loft (above) offers sleeping accommodations with water views. Opposite page, right: Wavy, green tile in the master bath subtly references the coastal setting. Opposite page, left: The entryway doubles as a guest room with a Murphy bed and sliding glass door.

Additional storage was created in the master bedroom loft by designing shelves and drawers along a wall.

With the exception of tile in the kitchen and baths, the flooring throughout the condo is a pickled and stained white oak. The fresh and clean kitchen design is in keeping with the homeowner’s minimalist sensibility. It features white neolith countertops, pewter cabinets, contemporary white and orange counter stools and a flush, minimal baseboard. But the centerpiece is the unique gray-and-white kitchen backsplash that the homeowner found after much searching. For the upstairs bathroom, which has a view of the harbor, the homeowner selected a wavy green glass tile that reflects the condo’s ocean surroundings. “I went to 20 stores before finding what I wanted at Nemo Tile & Stone in New York,” she says.

From design and furnishings to flooring, tiles and color selections, the condo now reflects a warm and quiet modern aesthetic. “For me,” says the homeowner, “the feeling when I come here is calming and serene.”

*The original version of this story, printed in the Spring 2017 issue of Home Remodeling South Coast, Cape & Islands, South Shore magazine, included references to Elkus Manfredi Architects’ involvement in this project. B Architecture Studio was the sole architect for the redesign.


In the details

Sandglass Waveline Mini tile, in “Fresh” green, was purchased at NEMO Tile Company, New York.

Onda counter stool, designed by Jesus Gasca Stua, was made in Spain.

Porcelain 8” by 32” Materia Decor 02 tile by Decorative Materials was sourced from NEMO Tile Company, New York.


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