Square One

An unforeseen construction issue inspires a grand revision of plans.

By Rachel Arroyo | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Builder: Ed Shea Custom Carpentry
Landscape: Sweet Earth Landscapes
Kitchen Cabinetry: Main Street at Botellos

When Robert Valletta bought his Mashpee home almost two decades ago, he knew the aging property would need a lot of updating. But, he loved the location overlooking Cotuit Bay, and could easily envision fun, family gatherings there in the summer.

Over the years, the home was renovated three times, and while each remodel was seen as successful, says Valletta, overall they “did not truly make the home feel newer.” In fact, the piecemeal approach left the home feeling disjointed.

The fragmented layout, however, was not the primary reason for the fourth remodel. “Ultimately I wanted to get more square footage,” says Valletta. Although not part of the original plan, a more cohesive layout for the home would evolve as the project unfolded.

Building a plan
To head the project, Valletta hired Ed Shea, of Shea Custom Carpentry.  “It was a great feeling for me to have the level of trust and confidence this client put in our team,” says Ed Shea, “and to merge his views and my own to create something that satisfied both of our visions.”

With the goal of adding more space, it was decided (because of zoning regulations) that the team would have to build upwards to create the master suite the homeowner wanted. “I did think about moving and getting something bigger or knocking it down and rebuilding,” admits Valletta, “but when I found out that I could add a third floor, I decided to stay.”

An opportunity in disguise
The original home consisted of a finished basement at ground level and a main floor. During the initial stage of the renovation, while preparing for the addition of another floor, it was discovered that the right side of the house was structurally unsound, prompting the need to adjust the original plan. This was a major turning point as Valletta and Shea decided to increase the scope of the project to include a renovation of the entire home for a more blended appearance from room to room. The unforeseen issue also allowed Shea the opportunity to re-insulate the home for better energy efficiency and to replace the electrical and plumbing throughout.

The right side of the house was rebuilt and now includes a reconfigured main living area and adjoining great room with cathedral ceilings. On the left side of the house, over the kitchen, an upper-level, open concept master suite with a home office and gym was constructed. “The customer had a lot of contemporary visions in mind,” Shea says, which can be seen throughout the home, including the very sleek master suite.

A modern master suite
Awash in shades of gray, the master suite features a deck with water views and a modern-looking Mendota Linear gas fireplace with large format, two-by-one-foot ceramic tile surround. A five-by-eight-foot walk-in shower with Kohler rain showerhead and a built-in bench made of honed granite is the crown jewel of the master bath. For the shower walls, 12-inch-by-35-inch Borneo Blue tile by Porcelanosa was installed, while the ceiling is comprised of Fusion Midnight Bliss half-inch-by-half-inch square mosaic glass tiles. The shower, which doubles as a steam room, has a slightly curved ceiling to allow water condensation to stream down the walls, instead of dripping from above.

As part of the upper level master suite, a home office was built into a wide hallway. Three interior windows, each with four-light operating sashes and antique sash stays, were cleverly incorporated into the office design to provide a clear view from the front of the house to the back, where a gang (or grouping) of Velux skylights in the main living room supplies beautiful views of the bay. Overall, more than 20 windows were installed throughout the home to capitalize on the waterfront views. “Every room now has the ability to see the water,” says Valletta.

Kitchen details
The last part of the project to be completed was the kitchen on the main floor. Shades of gray strike a stylishly contemporary note with semi-custom Dura Supreme wall cabinetry from Main Street at Botellos painted Pearl and marble-topped kitchen island cloaked in a darker hue called Storm Gray. The homeowner chose the flooring, a platinum-gray, maple pre-finished hardwood by Lauzon. “He loved the flooring,” says Shea, who had it installed throughout the home. To soften the kitchen’s modern edge, Shea suggested a custom, marble map of Cape Cod from Cloutier Supply Company in Harwich for the backsplash above the stove. He also recommended adding handcrafted molding with a stock crown to temper the modern kitchen design, and create dimension.

What started off as a smallish sized addition project morphed into a whole-house renovation, and the homeowner couldn’t be happier. “I ended up with everything I had hoped for and more,” says Valletta, adding candidly: “Obviously the cost was much more than the original budget, but it was well worth it. We will enjoy the house for many, many years to come.”

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