“The house actually has more roof than wall, giving it—along with the horizontal extension implied by the large overhangs and the solid carved mass implied by the hipping gambrel—a wonderful earth-bound stability,” DaSilva notes.
The large overhangs also shade the numerous windows from the sun, and the big sheltering roof makes the house feel cozy yet grounded at the same time. “The horizontal and vertical balance of this house is reminiscent of classic New England summer homes,” DaSilva says.
Principal living spaces line up along the back of the house. “The living room is at one end and runs the full depth of the house, exposing it to all-day natural light from the east, south, and west,” says DaSilva, noting that ancilliary spaces like the powder room, mud room, and entry hall make up the remainder of the floor plan at the front of the house.
Throughout the home, the attention to detail PSD is known for can be seen in such structural elements as raised ceiling shapes that create defined centers for the otherwise open living, kitchen, and dining spaces. “The raised ceiling in the living area is clad in V-groove paneling in a checkerboard pattern—a casual variant of a classic summer cottage ceiling,” DaSilva says. A built-in bar by Classic Kitchens of Hyannis occupies one end of the dining space, and simple but substantial wainscotting and chair rails ring the first floor service spaces.
Unique customized features also include a dramatic ceiling in the master bedroom. “There are four bedrooms in the house, but the master has the best view available on the site. We added a cathedral ceiling to make the space really special,” DaSilva says.
As is often the case in the fragile physical surroundings of Cape Cod, the year-and-a-half-long project of designing and building the home was not without environmental hurdles. “The property is in a conservation district, so it required Conservation Commission approval. It is also non-conforming to current zoning regulations, so it required Zoning Board of Appeals approval as well,” says DaSilva, noting that PSD’s CEO, Peter Polhemus, has decades of experience with permitting on Cape Cod.
“Peter was able to assemble a great team with an attorney, a civil engineer, an environmental consultant, and a landscape architect working for the necessary permits. At the same time, we worked with the landscape architect to add indigenous plant species to the property, moving disturbed portions of the property away from wetlands and lifting the house above floodplain level,” says DaSilva. “It was a win-win situation for both the homeowner and the Cape Cod environment.”
While the home is not a certified “green” house, its high efficiency, tight-house components, and nitrogen removing septic system make the house significantly more ecologically sensitive than the house it replaced. “PSD has an integrated design and construction process, where high-quality design, thoughtful management, careful communication—including sincere listening—and precise attention to details all receive equal emphasis,” DaSilva explains, noting that there were few surprises during the home’s design and construction period.
The homeowners are thrilled with their completed dream house, as is John DaSilva, who happens to live in the same area. “I live nearby and pass the house several times a day going to and from work. I never get tired of looking at it,” he says. “The house looks great in any season and under any weather conditions. The front of the house faces due west. Late in the day, it gets a golden glow that highlights the gable end with its big window and welcoming porch. The house is dramatic, but also pleasing; special but also familiar; timeless—but also of its own time.”