Worth Its Salt
This bayside retreat is small in size, but big in casual style and ingenious comfort.
Cape Codders have a complicated relationship with salt. We call our vintage sea captains “old salts,” and we like them that way¬¬—experienced, a bit crusty, ready to tell a rollicking yarn. We dislike the salt that scrapes the paint off our cars and that sticks to our windows like barnacles—but we love the salt sparkle left on our skin after a dip in the ocean. For the bi-coastal homeowner who bought a wind-whipped property—a crooked finger of land jutting into Buzzards Bay—salt is the welcome seasoning that gives this red-cedar clad home its softening silver sheen.
This property had been the site of a derelict home, neglected since Hurricane Bob devastated the region in 1991. A developer had designed a replacement, but its new buyer, searching for a light-hearted beach house that would offer respite from a busy life, elected not to follow those plans. Instead the homeowner opened a folder of dreams with its pages of inspiration and pulled out images of Split Rock, that Hutker Architects had designed. Soon the homeowner was working with Charles Orr, as principal architect and manager, and Thomas McNeill, the primary designer, to create a new, modern home that took its cues from a fishing shack that had once been on the land. The homeowner needed a house that could withstand the onslaught of elements blowing off the bay, and wanted a house that would age gracefully.
Choosing the right material for the exterior was fairly straightforward. “Not many things can survive out there,” McNeill says, “though there were some red cedar groves. Eastern red cedar was what we used for the siding.” If the home were located inland, the cedar boards would simply turn brown. To acknowledge the natural resource that gives the new home a special seaside beauty, the new owner called the house the Salt Shack.