Oasis on a Hill

A blocky three-quarter Cape from the 1980s is redesigned for comfort, convenience and traffic flow.

By Lenore Cullen Barnes | Photography by Dan Cutrona

It may not have been love at first sight, but the attraction was undeniable. The inherent charm of a classic Cape-style house, set on two acres overlooking Old King’s Highway in Barnstable, was not lost on Elizabeth Lewis, even if that charm was somewhat obscured by a less-than-optimal layout and dated finishes.

Lewis had been “looking for a project” and had enlisted the expertise of architect Rick Fenuccio, of Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Inc., to help evaluate the property before purchasing it. Fenuccio has known Lewis for two decades, since working with her on the renovation of a Hyannisport home she shares with her sister.

“Renovating the home was always a part of the plan,” says Lewis. “I liked the center part of the home. It’s a Royal Barry Wills Cape, built in 1986, and had a good core. I knew it had the potential to be more.”

“I really liked the property itself,” Fenuccio says. “It’s set way back from the road, very private and quiet. It’s a nice little oasis on a hill. The backyard has great southern exposure.” Fenuccio capitalized on that southern exposure to bring much-needed natural light into the formerly dark rooms.

Going with the flow

“We started with a typical, dated three-quarter Cape with very compartmentalized, blocky rooms and no good connections between the spaces,” says Fenuccio. “We opened it up for better flow suited to contemporary living. We achieved a sense of openness and light in a more functional space.”

Fenuccio emphasizes that the entire project was a collaborative effort among Lewis, contractor Steven Bishopric of Osterville and himself.

“Liz was very engaged in the process,” Fenuccio says. “Steven Bishopric was brought in early and was essential to our design/build team. He was very valuable in the early budget development, providing us cost estimates based on initial design drawings, and advising us on how long construction would take and which materials to choose.”

To create the “better space and comfortable master bedroom and bath” Lewis desired, Fenuccio focused on what he terms “bookends” to the central section of the home.

Reconfiguring for convenience

“There were some odd relationships going on,” Fenuccio says. “There was an attached garage, but no access from inside the home; you had to go outside to enter it. Now, you enter directly from the garage into a ‘wet area’ that includes a mudroom, a laundry (previously in the basement) and a powder room. A five-foot-long pantry hall with floor-to-ceiling double-cased cabinets is an attractive and functional transitional space leading into the kitchen.”

What was once a “kind of galley kitchen,” according to Lewis, is now an expansive, airy space, thanks to a vaulted ceiling and a bank of windows across the back of the house. French doors open onto a patio, facilitating access to the backyard, a desirable feature since Lewis has five corgis. Transoms along the rear wall are venting awning windows, which invite the summer breeze and serve as a perfect example of how Fenuccio brought Lewis’ vision to life.

“Rick sketched it out, and I said that’s exactly what I want,” says Lewis.

Kitchen Connection

A cedar trellis outside those windows provides shade and a sense of connection between the indoors and out. Red-oak floors, granite counters, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and cabinetry painted Benjamin Moore ‘Kansas Grain’ create a warm atmosphere with contemporary efficiency. A wall oven is tucked beneath the Wolf range because Lewis “didn’t want the big stove.”

Fenuccio’s favorite feature is the 13-foot-wide archway that opens the kitchen to the living room. “That oversized elliptical opening brought an interesting connection between the main living areas,” Fennucio says.

Mastering the master suite

On the west side of the house, the second “bookend” features a light-filled suite that replaces the original, modest master bedroom. The area was expanded in three directions – bumped out at the front, side and rear of the house – and now includes a master bath, cedar walk-in closet and spacious master bedroom. The vaulted, curved ceiling of the bedroom is echoed in a windowed arch above French doors leading to a deck and outdoor shower. Benjamin Moore ‘Sweet Bluet’ on the walls enhances the serenity. White beadboard wainscoting, a glass shower and freestanding soaking tub render the master bath a luxurious spot to begin or end the day.

The improvements to Lewis’ home extend beyond what is visible – and pleasing – to the eye. “It was clearly a three-dimensional project,” says Fenuccio. “Liz is very interested in energy efficiency. The house has all new siding, windows, HVAC and ventilation systems, foam insulation – we took a lot of measures to tighten up the house.”

“We didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. The original Cape is there and discernible. We renovated without major re-structural changes, then re-stitched it back into a homogenous look.”

“Rick is very talented,” says Lewis. “And I’m very comfortable in this house.”

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