Chatham Charmer

Tim Smith, owner of Minglewood Homes, puts a fresh face on a timeworn 1930s Cape cottage.

Sitting vacant for years, a 1930s Chatham cottage was in dire need of some tender loving care. When the property came on the market, Tim Smith of Minglewood Homes—who has a knack for reviving old houses in the town—jumped at the chance to purchase it. “The house has beautiful views of Oyster River, Harding’s Beach, and Nantucket Sound,” notes Smith. But time and neglect had left the house in disrepair. Inspired by the natural beauty surrounding the house’s location, Smith devised a plan to re-create the timeworn structure into a welcoming seaside vacation home.

Chatham Charmer Chatham Charmer Chatham Charmer

The original three-story shingle-clad cottage had a few unfortunate alterations and additions over the years, which resulted in a house that did not flow well for summer entertaining and its layout didn’t take advantage of the water views. “All heating systems, plumbing, and electrical needed to be replaced and a guesthouse sat in virtual ruin on the property,” notes Smith. “It was quite simply the perfect ‘before.’” Before renovations began, the property was divided into two parcels, with the easterly portion sold to a neighbor. The remaining piece included the old house, guesthouse, and 147-foot frontage on the Oyster River and would prove to become the perfect “after.”

Smith set to work, to design a house that would fit the setting as well as offer amenities for contemporary lifestyle. Due to the age of the existing structure, Minglewood Homes worked closely with the Historic Commission, Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals to realize the firm’s vision. “We wanted the scale and proportions of the home, as well as the materials, to be in keeping with the original house and other vernacular cottages in the area,” says Smith. Ubiquitous weathered shingles and white trim abound in the historical town and Smith honored these precedents.

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Nancy Berry is a freelance writer who lives in Yarmouthport.

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