Draping down either side of the window, jabot and swag valances let the sun in, creating a comfortable environment and adding just the right touch of décor to a room. Window Treatments Etc. of Chatham offers jabot and swag valances, along with a wide variety of elegant shades, blinds, fabrics, and upholstery, all custom-made to fit the customer’s taste.
“Window fashions can bring a sense of individual personality out. You look at them every day, so you want your windows to be catered to your own style,” owner John Fahle says. Serving towns all over Southeastern Massachusetts, Window Treatments Etc. is a family-owned business serving customers for more than 27 years.
We share a treasure chest of resources for coastal living that will help you create that perfect seaside abode…
In a conversation with John Ingwersen, one of the three founding principals of Architectural Design Incorporated (AD) of Orleans, two points about the company become readily apparent. First, the work the firm takes on—whether designing a new home or renovating older ones—becomes personal to the architects; each of the three gets involved with every project, and they often form strong bonds and friendships with their clients. The second point that rings true is this: with more than 30 years of industry experience each, the architects—principals Peter Haig, Andrew Miao, and Ingwersen—have been honing their skills for a long time.
Case in point: in business together since 1986, the architects took on a project more than 20 years ago that involved designing a couple’s summer home on Town Cove in Orleans. The requirements for the structure were simple: that the home be cozy and that it feature small windows—protection against strong nor’easter winds. Years passed, and eventually, that couple passed away. Recently, new owners purchased the home, a young couple with children. They hired a familiar architectural firm—Architectural Design Incorporated—to add a bedroom and to open the kitchen/dining room/living room into one large space. The couple also wanted more windows for better views of the water.
Ingwersen says seeing completed homes like this one—and others the firm has designed over the years—in action, and being used as the client intended, is a great feeling. “That’s very satisfying,” Ingwersen says. “It is not just a house and you turn your back on it and go on to the next one.”
In an interview in December, Ingwersen spoke about the philosophy of the firm, some of the projects they have completed over the years, and what it has all meant. In addition to general architecture, the firm provides services and ideas for interior design, energy conservation, and landscape architecture. The architects design new homes and buildings, as well as additions and renovations. The firm also takes on ‘adaptive-re-use’ projects, where the original structure—such as a mill—is reimagined, and transformed into an apartment, or other new use. Much of the firm’s work involves designing homes on Cape Cod, but they do complete some off-Cape projects including, notably, a home in Arizona made mostly of rammed earth.
Ingwersen says communicating with clients is the key to the firm’s work, and one of his favorite parts of the job. “Much of our work is talking to specific clients,” he says. “[The clients] come in and we talk to them. We spend a great deal of time trying to determine who they are and what they are all about.”
Generally, the client has an idea or an outline for a project, and those ideas, those projects, are usually pretty unique. “Our houses are very individual,” Ingwersen says, “and they are all quite different, very much depending on the family and the people that live there.”
“We listen to what they have in mind, what their experiences are, what their background is,” Ingwersen adds. “Some people love porches because when they were little, they were at their grandparents’ house and they had one.”
We do ask a lot of questions too, Ingwersen says, with a goal of nailing down a client’s idea—or expanding on it. “We want to steer them in their original direction,” he says, “or one step beyond it.”
Though their focus is largely residential, the architects have taken on some commercial projects over the years. The firm renovated the interior and completed an addition for the Sandwich Glass Museum in 2002; they also built an addition to the Mass Audubon facility in Wellfleet in 2005. The latter structure is a LEED Platinum project, meaning it includes environmentally friendly building features, such as composting toilets, etc.
Ingwersen earned his master’s in architecture from Harvard, while Miao and Haig earned theirs at MIT. Each got their start in the profession working on large, high-design projects at Boston firms. In 1986, the architects opened Architectural Design Inc. together in Orleans, focusing mainly on residential work.
“The three of us have all different talents,” Ingwersen says, “and on any given project one of us will be the lead on the project and speak with [the client] throughout.” He adds that each principal weighs in on the design for every project.
In recent years, Ingwersen says the firm has been taking on smaller, more budget-minded projects.
Another new addition, the firm is now providing clients with three different price points to demonstrate what could be done on a given project: a minimal, barebones proposal, a medium plan, and an extravagant one with all the fixings. “[Clients] don’t just hire us to draw up the plan they originally had in mind,” Ingwersen says, “but they hire us to give them ideas they didn’t think about.” The architects may suggest removing a ceiling, adding a skylight, or other creative touches.
One trend Ingwersen has been seeing lately is a move to living a more informal lifestyle; clients have been asking for large open spaces rather than specialty rooms, such as formal dining rooms.
There has also been an increase in remodeling and a decrease in new home building. “Construction is still expensive on the Cape,” says Ingwersen, and the price of materials keeps going up. Products such as hurricane windows are more expensive, too.
Another trend that has been especially popular on the Cape is green building and design. “We are in a very fragile environment here on Cape Cod,” Ingwersen says. In recent years, the firm has been incorporating a lot of renewable materials into its designs, with the goal of creating a lesser carbon footprint. The architects also try to use materials produced locally so transportation distances are minimized.
To improve a home’s energy efficiency, the firm lays out a thorough plan for a given project. This may include employing a blower test to determine if and where the home has leaks, installing solar panels, or using spray foam insulation.
Whether it is site conditions such as a steep slope, difficult access to the street, or proximity to wetlands or dunes, many projects have challenging issues to address. And that, Ingwersen says, is where the architect can come in and offer the most help.
“People who hire architects often have challenging conditions,” he says. “Often, the more challenging sites give you more interesting architecture. The limitations, if creatively used, often make more interesting houses.”
What does he like most about the job? “First, it is getting involved with people and their lives,” Ingwersen says. “That is a very gratifying thing to do. We’re very grateful people let us into their lives.” Second, Ingwersen enjoys “designing something so specific it is going to really help people and their well-being.”
During the year, the firm hosts several get-togethers for clients, and Ingwersen says many come back year after year. One client, who had hired the firm to design a home for him in Chatham years ago, hired the architects again to design another home—this time in North Carolina. Ingwersen has since visited the client in that new home; the bond was built and today, the relationship continues.
Fred Felder of Simon’s Supply has some advice for homeowners who have hired professionals to complete their bathroom project: get involved. Felder, the company’s vice president, says he often speaks with customers after the job is completed who say they did not get the right fixture or faucet they were hoping for.
“Ultimately, it is the customer’s home,” Felder says. “Many times they do not know what the homebuilder or designer is installing until it is in. Don’t always leave everything to the professionals.”
In business since 1933, Simon’s Supply specializes in plumbing, heating, and cooling supplies, offering a wide variety of bath products, fixtures, and hardware. The company works with homebuilders and designers as well as individual homeowners who are remodeling their bathrooms, or just need to replace a few fixtures.
The company has showrooms in Yarmouth, Plymouth, New Bedford, and Pawtucket, Rhode Island, displaying many bath and shower options, including showerheads, toilets, fixtures, and lighting. The company also sells kitchen sinks and faucets, and has a discount outlet in Fall River.
Felder says one of the advantages Simon’s Supply offers customers is a wide selection of products from several manufacturers. “Because we are more independent,” he says, “we offer a plethora of choices, at all different price points.”
Asked about a special or unique recent project, Felder did not hesitate with his response. “Every person that walks in,” he says. “Their bathroom is unique to them. When it is your house, that is really special. We know it is special to you, and we want to make it special for you, so that this is your bathroom, not your neighbor’s bathroom, not your uncle Morty’s bathroom.”
Simon’s Supply offers products from Grohe, American Standard, Delta, Moen, and other manufacturers. Felder also recommends Icera, a British company in Hong Kong, which has developed some innovative flushing technologies.
Rob McPhee believes that a key component of any new home or renovation project is a good working relationship with the client. “When selecting a builder for a project, it is important to choose someone you trust,” says McPhee, president of McPhee Associates of Cape Cod.
Founded in 1972, the East Dennis-based company has had a successful run for more than 40 years. McPhee says a part of that success is due to an understanding that any project—whether a new home, an addition, or a renovation—starts with an honest conversation.
“It begins with establishing a realistic baseline,” McPhee says. “We need to know what the client wants their home to look like. We talk about the things that are important to them. From there, we put together a proposal that includes a detailed specification list.”
No matter the scope of the project—large or small—McPhee Associates is there to assist their clients through the entire process. McPhee says the relationship he has with his customers does not end when the project is complete. “You want someone who is going to support you from the design phase through construction and afterward.” Read more…
Customers are encouraged to visit Anthi Frangiadis Associates’ unique design showroom in Marion to see products, designs, and ideas that may inspire their own projects. The Drawing Room, as the company’s décor showroom is called, features original handcrafted pieces made by artisans throughout New England.
Select offerings include custom-made upholstered furniture, several lines of cabinetry, various fabrics, and Farrow & Ball paints and wallpaper. With all these choices, visitors are encouraged to “let [their] imagination run wild.”
“Our storefront space for our showroom is good inspiration for our clients, good inspiration for me, and makes it fun to come to work every day,” owner and architect Anthi Frangiadis says. “I like to keep it eclectic in The Drawing Room. I don’t want to dictate one particular look. But the underlying piece here is good design and good craftsmanship.”
Tom Adams and the late Ted Wolf knew the value of recycling long before the green concept became popular. Nearly 30 years ago, the business partners opened Cataumet Sawmill, and began transforming reclaimed wooden beams into high-end wood products for use in flooring and cabinetry.
Now located on Thomas Landers Road in Falmouth, the original sawmill operation began in Cataumet, and the impetus for the partnership was the sawmill equipment, itself. “Ted and I both saw the same advertisement for a sawmill,” Adams recalls. “We decided to buy it.”
Adams points out that Cataumet Sawmill is the only such business on Cape Cod. Much of the lumber the company uses to make flooring planks is a yellow pine, coveted for its strength and beauty among those in the construction industry. “It’s the finest timber I ever saw,” Adams says, pointing to a pile of antique yellow heartpine from an old storage facility in West Roxbury.
The process for revamping the old timber begins with good, old-fashioned manual labor. Crew members examine each beam, removing nails and other materials. “We use a metal detector,” Adams says, “to make sure we don’t miss anything.”
When Wolf passed away in March of 2013, Adams made the emotionally difficult decision to continue on with the business. “Ted wanted me to keep the business going. When I asked the crew, some of whom have been working here for 15 years, they said they were willing to fill the void left by Ted,” Adams says.
Adams describes his staff of four employees as “the heart of the company.” Though small in number, he says Cataumet’s size is just right to continue manufacturing custom-made, one-of-a-kind, high-quality flooring.
Beautiful art can be the defining touch for any interior space. An original painting can completely salvage a ho-hum interior, bringing the space to life with evocative images, colors, and textures.
Collins Galleries is a bright new light on Cape Cod’s art scene, where owner Alison Collins works with homeowners to purchase original paintings. “I go to customers’ homes and help them select art,” says Collins, whose experience includes more than 25 years at the Orleans gallery, Trees Place, where she worked under the gallery’s founder, Julian Baird, before opening her own gallery in 2011. For 17 years, she was Trees Place’s gallery director.
“Typically, when someone is looking at a work of art, they know what they like,” she says from the Collins Galleries, located at 12 West Road, Orleans. “One painting can look better in one location than another, just like a certain frame enhances a painting. Sometimes the customer will have their heart set on having a painting over the mantel—and I know it won’t work. When that happens, I help the homeowner envision an alternative.”
Collins Galleries is in a restored, three-quarter Cape where beautifully appointed rooms showcase works of academic realism by admired Cape painters like William R. Davis, Robert Douglas Hunter, and Joseph McGurl as well as some emerging artists. Collins notes that her painters are all formally trained artists. “Their work is all about form, about real life, and about how things truly look,” she says. The owner adds that her gallery’s staging style has helped her help her clients choose paintings. “People often remark that they can imagine how a painting will look in their own home.”
Collins notes that she works with homeowners to purchase art, no matter what their budget. From a William R. Davis masterpiece worth five figures, to a small gem by Russell Gordon, there is something splendid for each customer’s taste—and budget—at the Collins Galleries. “I believe that great art,” Collins says, “should be accessible to everyone.”
Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, Bill Potter noted the hours his family needed to maintain their waterfront home. In 2001, these memories inspired him to found Squash Meadow Construction, Inc. One of the company’s goals is to offer homes that are energy efficient and constructed using environmentally friendly materials. Specializing in additions, new home construction and renovations, Squash Meadow’s projects are on Martha’s Vineyard and throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.
A member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Squash Meadow homes often earn the coveted Energy Star label for energy efficiency with features such as effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight ducts, and energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment. “We want to dispel the myth that green building is excessively expensive,” Potter says. “We have incorporated various valuable engineering construction techniques to reduce costs, while not reducing quality.”
With a background in the insurance industry, Karen Goode knows when people are confused—and how to help. Now that she’s working in the hardware business and answering customers’ questions on a daily basis, that is valuable experience. “People don’t know how to buy hardware,” says Goode, founder and president of Cape Cod Brass and Security Hardware, Inc. “People just look and say, ‘I’ll just call somebody,’ and we just happen to be the people they call.”
The company sells housing hardware, including accessories for cabinets and doors such as knockers, knobs, and kick plates. Cape Cod Brass also offers products from Baldwin and Rocky Mountain—two upscale door hardware lines—and many bath hardware lines.
Goode started the company in 2000, first working out of her garage in East Dennis and selling hardware exclusively for doors online. Today, the company has a showroom in Yarmouth, an expanded inventory, and a very familiar staff—Karen’s husband, Jim, and their sons Chris, Robert, and Alan, all work together. “I opened the business because I wanted my sons to have their own business,” Karen says.
The Goodes work with clients on the Cape as well as individuals who are renovating a bathroom in their home, or tackling any number of Do-It-Yourself projects requiring quality hardware.
Goode says a trend she’s been seeing a lot lately is a renewed interest in brass. “Brass is coming back again,” she says. “It’s been out of favor for a decade or more, but it’s reemerging. I think people get tired of looking at the same thing, and designers get tired of designing the same thing. Brass is traditional.”
In addition, Goode says new technology is paving the way for new products in hardware. The Kwikset Smartkey, for example, is a product that allows the homeowner to re-key their own door lock, rather than having to pay a locksmith to come out and do the job. Another item gaining in popularity is the touch faucet. “They’re kind of cool,” Goode says, “if you’re baking and covered with cookie dough!”