Language of the Past

Hutker Architects learns the vocabulary of an antique Colonial for a harmonious new addition to a historical structure.

A wonderful piece of history sits serenely on Lower Mill Pond in Brewster’s historical Factory Village. The Nathaniel Winslow House—also known by locals as the High Brewster Inn—was built in 1738 near the gristmill and famous herring run. A true Colonial design, the structure has a center chimney and center hall flanked by two parlors (now both bedrooms) each with original pine-paneled walls and fireplaces; the original keeping room (now a living/music room) is located along the length of the original house. This room also has period paneling and a great hearth used for cooking in the 18th century.

Language of the Past

Upstairs there are small bedchambers and two additional fireplaces. The period building operated as an inn and restaurant for decades and has retained its original detailing throughout the centuries–steep staircases, low ceilings, wide-board floors, and antique wavy glass windowpanes.

Language of the Past

These charming old house details drew Sarah and John Thorne to the property when it came on the market more than 10 years ago. The old portion of the house has wonderful bones and patina, but later additions to accommodate a commercial kitchen were less desirable. The couple wanted to renovate this addition and create spaces honoring the original 18th-century structure, while offering creature comforts and showcasing great views of the pond.

The couple hired Hutker Architects, a firm well versed in creating heirloom houses, to design the new addition that would primarily include an open kitchen and dining hall on the first floor and a master bedroom and bath suite on the second floor. The design also called for smaller spaces such as a screened porch, tavern room, and study. The size and design of these rooms are in keeping with the scale, language, and rhythm of the original house.

Language of the Past

“The 20th-century additions were simply not harmonious with the old house,” notes Mark Hutker, principal of Hutker Architects. Project manager Mary Ryther agrees. “There was a large commercial kitchen and a tavern room that were not historical and not worth salvaging.” The firm worked within the existing footprint to create the new spaces with careful sensitivity to the home’s natural surroundings. C. H. Newton Builders a local firm of craftsmen and carpenters familiar with the vernacular of old Cape Cod houses, brought the design to life.

Language of the Past

To bridge the old and new spaces, Ryther designed a new entryway and grand staircase, which is lit from above with a 19th-century-inspired skylight. Designer Abby Bart explains the balusters and newel post for the new stairway were inspired by an old house book. The original 18th-century staircase was kept and integrated into the new space for circulation between old and new. The floors in the addition were raised slightly to take better advantage of pond views. Because the original portion of the house has so many interesting “quirks,” such as built-in cupboards, hallways, little closets, and interesting staircases, Ryther played with the design to incorporate such details in the layout. “We wanted to add hidden cupboards in the paneling and incorporate narrow passages that emulate the old house. All these small details create interest and intrigue,” she notes.

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Nancy Berry is a freelance writer who lives in Yarmouthport.

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