The clients purchased a waterfront house they had rented many years earlier as graduate students. Over time the home had endured a number of architecturally unsympathetic renovations by previous owners, and in many places the interior had been chopped up into a warren of small rooms. The new owners wished to take better advantage of the splendid views plus improve the ventilation, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems while respecting the Shingle Style character of the original home. The project was published in New England Home Magazine.
Operable double-hung windows replace fixed-glass windows on the porch and second floor observatory. The multi-angled portion of the porch and observatory have been visually unified with trim and paneling. Windows were added and centered below the gable. New shed dormers improve the headroom and views on the second floor while respecting the existing rooflines, and a lantern-like headhouse improves access to an enlarged roof deck.
The dark wood interiors of the original house were retained, so that the rooms provide a cool retreat from the hot summer sun, yet feel warm and cozy in the winter months.
In the living room a large panel hung from rolling barn door hardware glides back and forth, alternatively covering or revealing the television with its tansu-inspired media cabinet below or a tokonoma-style alcove where pieces from the owner’s Asian art collection are displayed.
Large pivoting glass panels allow the living and dining rooms to borrow views and breezes from the adjacent porch.
The wall between the living and dining rooms and the porch was shingled to make the porch feel more like an exterior space. Trim and paneling around the windows mimic trim and paneling on the outside of the house for the same reason.
On the second floor a couple of bedrooms were reconfigured into a master suite with a reading room on the ocean side, a sleeping room on the town side, and a bath and cedar closet space between. The configuration allows light, views and breezes to flow freely from one side of the house to the other.
Baths were relocated, reconfigured and rationalized. White beadboard, white marble washstands, white fixtures and exposed chrome fittings helped recreate the character of the original baths.
A new stair replaces an old pull-down wooden ladder to provide access to the roof. The new metal stair has open risers and perforated treads to make it as transparent as possible.
A lantern-like headhouse replaces a roof hatch, providing more convenient access to the roof. Windows on four sides of this headhouse bring daylight deep into the interior of the home. A thin mahogany and bronze railing provides safety with the minimum amount of visual obstruction for seated guests.