Today, the shingled house, perched on a hill with a view of Vineyard Sound, is a welcoming, airy space, featuring a cathedral ceiling with beautiful reclaimed Douglas fir beams. But mostly, the family loves the property for what is outside. “My son and I love to go fishing and clamming in Menemsha Pond,” the owner says. His wife has an organic garden, and the family enjoys nothing more than having their neighbors over for striped bass they’ve caught that day and vegetables fresh from their garden.

Provincetown builder Deborah Paine set eyes on a broken-down waterfront cottage in Provincetown’s West End and immediately knew she had a challenge. “The post-and-beam frame wouldn’t even hold a bolt,” Paine recalls of the historic three-story home. Zoning and historic regulations restricted her to the same footprint, which meant a total of just 1,620 square feet on all three floors. Paine began with plans drawn by architect Derick Snare of Snare & Snare in Somerville and embellished them along the way, constantly conferring with her crew and the homeowners, Elise Cozzi and Penny Sutter.


Paine knew from the start that Sutter and Cozzi were kindred spirits. Although the cottage had to be torn down, the homeowners encouraged Paine to repurpose, recycle, and reclaim whenever possible. All the siding and flooring was saved and used in projects such as the winding staircase, complete with drawers built into the steps and a custom-made iron handrail. “All the carpenters made things by hand,” Paine says. “Ideas came up as we went along; we were always devising and creating.” 

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Mary Grauerholz

Mary Grauerholz is the communications manager of the Cape Cod Foundation and a freelance writer.

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