Tide and Time
A Connecticut couple transforms a rundown fishing cottage into a serene coastal weekend retreat.
“It was the view that sold us,” says Elizabeth Reilly. “There’s a real connection between land and sea here.” The couple from Connecticut summered in Chatham when their children were small, and have great memories of that time. When they saw the little fishing shack right on Aunt Lydia’s Cove— the northern most point of Chatham Harbor—the couple knew they had found the perfect setting.
Although the location was ideal, the old house was in terrible disrepair—a drab, dark shell with little personality. “We’ve been told that we have ‘vision and guts’ for buying the house—it needed everything,” says Michael. The original fishing shack hadn’t been touched since it was expanded to a mere 1,100 square feet back in the 1940s.
The windows were rotted, mold had set in, the electrical system was outdated, and a colony of mice had taken up residence in the walls. Working in the existing footprint, Dave Donnan and Peter Scannell of Total Estate Care renovated the house. “They had to take it right down to the studs,” says Michael. Instead of tossing the original doors, pine and oak floors, and wainscoting into a landfill, the couple chose to keep those elements for use in the updated house, a sustainable move, notes Michael.