007 Commercial Street
Hanna wanted to preserve as much of the building’s original integrity as possible and maintain its Cape Cod style, but with modern amenities. He explains, “I tried to imagine how it would have developed if previous owners had been able to invest more into it but hold true to the ideals of a vacation home—a slightly gussied-up beach house.” In the process, he conducted extensive research and learned of the property’s long history. He believes that it was originally constructed in two stages and that part of it may have been a “floater,” like many homes in Provincetown that were built across the harbor and transported over to this tip of the peninsula by barge. He says, as he points to a section of the home, “This part may have been sited when Jonathan Nickerson still owned it.” The house retains a plaque from that early resident, but it came to fame in the 1930’s when artist Hans Hofmann conducted painting classes from the studio—which in itself is something of a work of art, having been built mostly from the remains of shipwrecks. Hofmann, a contemporary of Picasso and Kandinsky, helped establish Provincetown’s reputation as a haven for artists and writers to learn and hone their techniques. Local institutions such as the Cape Cod Museum of Art, located right on Commercial Street, regularly celebrate his painting and his influence as a teacher. In renovating his home, Hanna has also helped to prolong Hofmann’s legacy.
Hanna chose Bannon specifically for their attention to detail, and together, owner and builder would proceed with a precision and style that would surely impress James Bond himself. Paul Bannon says, “Fadi requested that we pick up every floorboard and reinstall it exactly where it had come from. I was super proud of our guy who took it apart and put it back together—so, high-five to him.” The team also managed to preserve the fireplace, even when the rest of the unit’s interior had been completely gutted. Rather than pour a basic foundation, the builders encased the new concrete-and-rebar structure in brick to maintain its historical appearance. “No matter where you look, it’s easy to pretend that this is the original,” says Hanna. The first major functional revision to the home, and Hanna’s favorite subplot of the entire project, was to create an additional living space in what had once been a toxic subterranean cavern of decay and asbestos particulate. The plans for the new basement literally developed from a napkin drawing. “Now it’s the most adorable little room,” he says. The space also contains a wine cellar and a mechanical room. Secret doors in the wine racks allow for passage between these chambers, and further enhance the home’s “Casino Royale” effect. Upstairs, the library features a trundle bed between the bookshelves, which is suspiciously similar to the Murphy bed in the opening sequence of 1967’s You Only Live Twice.
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