The playhouse and the several acres of spectacular marshland that surround it are steeped in history. Margaret Hamilton wrote an extensive history of the property and in it, she recalls the days when Craigville Beach Road was nothing but a sandy path with two wagon wheel tracks and the wooden bridge spanning Centerville River was a precarious liability at best.
Besides its obvious artistic and historical appeal, the house is impeccably private and the land is a breathtaking refuge for wildlife. In addition to the playhouse, the 6.26-acre property includes a two-car garage, a free-standing artist’s studio with panoramic views of the marsh, and a quaint, charming boathouse with a private dock extending into Centerville River. “People don’t know the playhouse is here,” says Jane. “It is so well hidden.” The sassafras trees that were planted decades ago to hide the houses on Short Beach Road have completely taken root and camouflage the cottage to the outside world despite its unique exterior.
Jane notes that Dan Hamilton’s mother loved color, and it is a prevalent theme throughout the house, indoors and out. A keen observer would notice the gentleman who bought the Big House across the street (it sold 15 years ago) kindly kept the exterior color scheme consistent—with khaki-colored stucco siding, orange roof, and sea-foam green trim. The inside of the playhouse has a similar palate, with splashes of yellow and blue. Creativity seems to run in the family. Dan’s maternal grandfather, Albert Henry Munsell, devised the Munsell color chart that is still used in manufacturing to this day.
Although Jane is very fond of the playhouse, she admits she won’t be heartbroken when it sells. “I’d love to have someone come in and appreciate it and refurbish it,” she says. “The house is only going to appeal to certain people.” She notes that art lovers and nature enthusiasts would love the house.
“We’ve had our best times—fabulous times—in this house, but it’s not the same without my husband,” Jane says. “The Cape has changed so much. So many of our old friends have disappeared. So it’s time to move on.”
While Jane heads back to her Charleston, South Carolina home for another winter, the elusive playhouse will continue to evade pedestrians’ and drivers’ views on Craigville Beach Road, except for those willing to brave the elements via kayak—or the unbelievably lucky family who chooses to own and preserve one of Cape Cod’s best-kept treasures.
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