Updating a Classic

A Brewster beauty gets an award-winning makeover for a couple’s golden years.

By Laura DeSisto | Photography by Jay Groccia
Architect: Tony Pond
Design & Build: Encore Design|Remodel
Landscape Design & Installation: Mike Stacy Landscaping

A fieldstone fireplace with a one-of-a-kind mantel is the family room’s focal point.

Empty-nesters Caryn and Jim of Hadley, Massachusetts, had many happy memories of Cape Cod vacations with their two boys. So, when it came time to pick a location for their retirement, the decision was an easy one. “Our favorite area on the Cape has always been Brewster,” says Caryn. “We love the calm, bayside beaches, the bike path, the clam shacks, and the fact that the town is not too far down the Cape yet accessible to Chatham and the National Seashore.”

In 2011, when the couple found an antique Cape on a quiet dirt road just steps to private Sunset Beach, they knew they’d found the perfect spot. “We really liked the bones and location of the house, but we knew we would need to make significant changes in order to comfortably retire there,” notes Caryn.

With the help of local architect Tony Pond, plans for an updated and expanded version of the home began to take shape. The couple then turned to Encore Design and Remodel of Dennis Port to bring the plans to life.

“This renovation won a Contractor of the Year award from the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI), and it is a really good representation of what we do best,” says Samantha Nicholson, Encore’s business manager. “There are so many houses on the Cape with charm and history that families want to preserve. We like to help people bring their homes up to date while respecting what is already right about them.”

In the open-plan kitchen, the center island is painted Benjamin Moore Hale Navy and topped with distressed cherry.

While Caryn and Jim certainly wanted to preserve the charm of their old Cape, the house felt very chopped up. Therefore, a central focus of the renovation was to create a much more usable open kitchen and family room area. To achieve this, Encore demolished an underutilized addition that had been closed off from the rest of the house and repurposed the area into a new kitchen, family room and entry.

The new kitchen has modern conveniences like high-end Thermador appliances, while the coastal, cottage feel is maintained in the finishes—for example, the center island painted Benjamin Moore Hale Navy and topped with distressed cherry.

The focal point of the adjoining cathedral-ceiling family room is a magnificent new fieldstone fireplace with a one-of-a-kind mantel. The homeowners originally planned to install a driftwood mantel, however they ended up finding something much more unique: a reclaimed wooden keel from an antique ship reconstructed by Scott Feen of Atlantic Workshop in Chatham. Round porthole-inspired light fixtures from Restoration Hardware mounted high up on either side of the fireplace complement the ship-like feel of the room.

Complementing textures of wood, rattan and flat-woven cloth mingle in the dining room.

Around the corner from the kitchen, a more formal dining area is anchored by a custom reclaimed chestnut dining table by Cape Cod Colonial Tables of Chatham. The original, bead board cabinetry in this space was spruced up with glass doors and handy pullout drawers where Caryn stores vases, china and candleholders.

The first-floor master suite got a fresh update with a renovated master bath and his and her closets. What was once a second bedroom on this level is now a home office. “We will be able to age in place here,” Caryn observes.

The coastal chic theme continues in the new mudroom and laundry area, which adjoins a new two-car garage. Whale-tail coat hooks accent the white shiplap walls. The nearby powder room features a large, mirrored porthole medicine cabinet and the recurring Hale Navy woodwork.

The new entryway’s soaring ceiling is finished with natural matchstick fir.

A soaring ceiling finished with natural, matchstick fir creates drama in the new main entrance while a more practical, “beach access” entry complete with outdoor shower was designed to prevent sand from being tracked into the house.

Upstairs, three larger bedrooms were carved out of four and, with future grandchildren in mind, an unused linen closet was absorbed into a smaller bathroom, making room for a tub. Shag carpeting was ripped out, and the charming original, painted wood floors got a fresh coat.

Outside, a new bluestone patio complete with fire pit by Mike Stacy Landscaping of Dennis Port adds even more entertaining space to the home. Since Jim has not yet retired, the couple is still primarily enjoying the home on weekends and vacations. However, they are already getting a glimpse of just how glowing their golden years will be in their new retreat.

“When we’re here, we are totally relaxed,” says Caryn. “When we have company, we can all be together without being on top of each other. The house just functions so well for us. We keep pinching ourselves [as a reminder] that it’s truly ours.”


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