“Although the location was ideal, the old house was in terrible disrepair—a drab, dark shell with little personality . . . the windows were rotted, mold had set in, the electrical system was outdated, and a colony of mice had taken up residence in the walls.”
When I read this description in one of this issue’s stories about a Chatham fishing cottage’s transformation into a coastal retreat, I shivered a little. I could imagine the rotting windows, smell the mold—writer Nancy Berry paints a compelling picture of a Connecticut couple’s ability to envision a lovely getaway for summer days in Chatham Harbor.
One of the best things about this job is that I get great ideas for our own Cape house from the stories written so artfully by writers like Nancy. Ideas like “She actually painted the floor with a sea foam green rug design accented with sail rope and native seashell motifs” (the background image seen here) become wishes that I write down for the day when we decide to redesign our old Cape. I look at clean, sun-washed rooms painted in serene sea tones in this story’s photos and I wistfully imagine the day when our house might look as lovely as that featured in “Tide and Time” on page 26.
It makes me smile when I read that the new cottage’s “stairs are spattered, a traditional paint treatment found in older New England homes.” Many of the floors in our house are spattered, bright patterns still gleaming on ancient wide pine floors despite wear and tear from generations of sandy bare feet, like those of my children, who perfected walking in this house when they were tiny. I wish that I could hire someone like Marsha Malone of Chatham’s Nautique to transform the marvelous bones of our old house into a brighter, less cluttered, more serene oasis.
It would also be wonderful to have the imaginative vision to decorate my house on my own, like Brenda Lee, whose amazing Hyannisport cottage is like something out of a movie or a fairytale. “I’m not afraid to use color, and I wanted there to be a surprise in every room,” says Brenda, who designed a colorful, fun kitchen around existing red formica counters bold against “nacho cheese yellow” walls. Brenda, a friend who also gardens with painterly profusion, inspires me—some of her ideas are in my House Wishes notebook, too.
Maybe someday I will share thoughts here on what we should do with our outdated kitchen, how we should redecorate the living room. Until then, I hope you enjoy reading about lots more inspiring stories for home and garden in our summer issue. And let me know if your house has a story and ideas that we should share on the pages of Cape Cod HOME.