Open Minded

An extensive remodel liberates an Osterville home from its outdated origins.

By Jennifer Sperry | Photography by Dan Cutrona

They were not encouraging real estate adjectives: dark, confined, and narrow. The house’s location in the heart of Osterville was ideal but its interior presented a modernizing challenge. Built in the 1980s, it was a collection of small, closed-off spaces, including a singularly dated kitchen.

“During that era of construction, the goal was to create more rooms, and the open space concept wasn’t as popular then,” explains Ron Welch, one of three partners at Osterville-based Kendall & Welch Construction. “The clients and their Realtor contacted us for ideas on what to do with the house. The husband is in commercial real estate and knew right away that it had good bones and great potential.”

It would ultimately become the family’s summer getaway—“When school lets out, they move in,” notes Welch. But before they could enjoy their new home, a comprehensive remodel was in order. From the very beginning, the owners were clear about what they wanted: a more welcoming interior with an open floor plan. And with three teenagers and the promise of plenty of visiting friends, they knew that maximizing all available square footage was key.

Completely rethinking the interior

After a walk-through with the owners, Kendall & Welch solidified the accumulated ideas into a long laundry list of improvements, and no area of the home was spared their critical eye. Overall, the remodel required the gutting and rebuilding of almost 90 percent of the structure. By adding two dormers, one above the front entry and one over the garage, and by converting attic space above, Kendall & Welch achieved a dramatic increase in ceiling height on the first floor from seven feet, six inches to an impressive 12 feet.

The construction firm tackled the long, dark front entry corridor by eliminating it completely. Instead, the front door now opens directly into the great room without delay. Topped by its new dormer and transom window, the entry is a more inviting space with plenty of natural light.

Three rooms become one space

Undeniably, the transformation of three dedicated rooms—living room, dining room, and kitchen—into one expansive gathering space altered the interior’s entire feel. And the addition of a large deck off the great room continued the open living concept into the outdoors.

The color scheme of soft whites and beiges and continuous stained oak flooring visually unify the individual areas. Pops of red, such as the living room’s club chair and the kitchen’s statement “Beach House” sign, attract the eye while stainless steel appliances add a contemporary edge.

A new fireplace of natural cut stone was crafted in lieu of an existing brick version, located on an outer wall and torn down. “We wanted something to anchor the living spaces but also to provide a sense of separation between the dining area and great room,” says Welch. The gas log fireplace is open on both sides and the structure even supports a mounted TV. A raised hearth on the great room side doubles as a hangout spot but the dining room’s side was purposefully minimized to ensure enough room for an oversized table.

The remodel carved out yet another gathering space, this one with teenagers in mind. The dormer above the garage donated enough square footage for a game room, accessed by a dedicated stairwell from the mudroom area. Rounding out the second floor are a large bedroom, shared by the two sons; the daughter’s bedroom; and a full bath.

An interactive kitchen

A house filled with family and guests means a well-used kitchen, which is why the owners requested one large enough for both cooking and informal eating. Painted white cabinets from Main Street at Botello’s in Mashpee feature recessed beaded doors and honed granite countertops in “Absolute Black.” The Viking range is positioned within an extension of cabinets that loosely separates the kitchen and dining area.

“The idea was to be able to cook while interacting with anyone in the dining room,” explains Damon Kendall of the range’s position. Kendall, who worked alongside partner Welch on the Osterville project, adds that the owners specifically wanted to keep the kitchen island clear of tasks other than eating and lingering. In contrast to the surrounding “Absolute Black,” the island’s granite countertop is Carrara marble-like in appearance.

The task of modernizing the first floor expanded beyond the main living areas into the master bedroom, which was upgraded into a full master suite. All of the bathrooms in the home were redone but the master bath benefited from a new tiled shower, his-and-her vanities, and an adjacent walk-in closet.

Now that the redo is complete, the home’s modest Cape-style exterior masks a fully up-to-date interior with plenty of destinations for entertainment and relaxation. The visionary remodel traded 1980s cramped for spacious living and reenergized a tired home for a busy family.

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