I have this fantasy that someday we will move out of our old Cape into a green house—not the kind where you grow flowers, although that would be fine with me, too—but an environmentally efficient house where we could live a sustainable life. This fantasy occurs often in the winter months when the floors of our house are very cold (no insulation), the wind whips through ancient doors, and the furnace never seems to stop running.
Looking at the photos in our cover story on sustainable homes (page 28), I am green with envy. In this feature, we explore three beautiful homes in Provincetown, Falmouth, and in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard—each a gem of sustainable building. What I notice most is the amount of light in every photograph—it is as if there are no walls between the coastal surroundings and each home’s interior spaces. “Amazing things happen when your project has nature as a partner,” says our feature writer, Mary Grauerholz.
From start to finish, this issue is all about respecting the natural world. In “Set In Stone” (page 44) we follow Brian Boley, a young Cape stonemason, as he shapes interior and exterior spaces with fine stonework. The heart of one project, a North Falmouth guesthouse, is a stunning floor-to ceiling hearth constructed with reclaimed granite from an old bridge.
Recycling is also a strong theme in “Fresh Past” (page 38), where Michael Ferzoco of Boston’s Eleven Interiors transforms a Truro antique into a design showcase without altering the home’s historical integrity. A tiny dark kitchen comes to life with the addition of a skylight. In the dining room, contemporary metal chairs from the 1950s add a whimsical touch around an antique wood table. Old moldings, windows, and doors are repurposed into new design elements.
Making do with what nature gives us is a long Cape Cod tradition. I thought of this during our first spring cleanup recently when I saw that one of our old apple trees had a new lease on life. The tree had been heavily damaged in a snowstorm a few years ago. The entire top half of the trunk split in half, the gnarly twisted limbs still connected, yet sprawled along the ground.
We did not have the heart to cut down the tree, which has a certain wild beauty to it. The fallen crown of the tree has rooted into the ground now, sending up healthy new shoots. Birds find shelter in the tree’s hollow during winter storms. Maybe next fall we will find some apples. What’s old is new again.
Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor
- Posted in Susan Dewey's Blog