2016 BRICC Awards • Doreve Nicholaeff
Three-time award winner
Pleasant Bay • Excellence in New Construction
Utilizing a background canvas of four waterfront acres on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by Pleasant Bay, Doreve Nicholaeff, AIA, founder of Nicholaeff Architecture + Design, applied her masterful artistry to create a stunning family compound that will become a home for generations. An extended family wanted a space that could capture the sunlight and views offered by such a special site, a challenge that was successfully resolved, since the project garnered a 2016 BRICC award.
The front façade makes a timeless statement, with a covered entry flanked by columns and tall gables guarding a central tower, its six-foot stacked windows offering glimpses of the signature staircase within. Inside, the spaces radiate from the circular kitchen, located within the core of the tower, and offering generous views overlooking the terrace and outdoor kitchen. The kitchen borrows additional views and light from the living and dining room wings, which extend toward the dunescape, each culminating in a pentagonal extension, one a piano alcove and the other a south-facing all-season room.
The second story of the wings radiates from a central library and deck, with a master suite comfortably situated in one and guest rooms in the other, each with their own balconies. Conforming to height restrictions commonly encountered on the Cape and Islands, Nicholaeff adroitly took advantage of ceiling space that reached into the roof for the various bedrooms, a practice with precedence in the Cape Cod vernacular.
Just as this home overlooks waterways that swirl and circulate around coves, islands and bays, the house emulates such motion, with passageways leading in and around living spaces, and various “coves” for exploring and pausing. Acting as the chief facilitator of that motion is the architectural centerpiece of the home, a sweeping split staircase, with twin eight-step curves that unite to become a single staircase, rising through a tower. This theme is repeated just steps up from the second floor studio office, where stairs lead to the roof dormer, which then gallantly opens to a second split-curved staircase ending at the emotional center of the house, the widow’s walk. The expanded widow’s walk, partially contained by the entry gables at the front and framed by dormered wings on the opposing side, offers breathtaking 360-degree views.
The ground-level outdoor spaces provide the perfect backdrop for seasonal living and enjoyment with the large deck, outdoor pool, and idyllically landscaped grounds. Nicholaeff has taken a beautiful spot crafted by nature and accented it with her thoughtful, innovative design to create a place that is difficult to leave behind.
Nantucket Sound I • Excellence in New Construction
Chosen to create a family compound in the gated community of Great Island, Doreve Nicholaeff was tasked with the enormous challenge of capturing a world-class view while creating a large, yet welcoming structure to embrace a family that gathers to establish lasting memories. Having lived and enjoyed a vacation home for many years, on virtually the same spot, the owners were invigorated to build a new family compound closer to the water that could accommodate their growing extended family, provide luxurious respite for visiting guests, and indulge their appetite for great design. Nicholaeff was the right person to channel their list of wishes into a place they now call home.
At the foundation of the project, an extensive undertaking for the functional systems of the home was one of the biggest challenges, particularly since the home does not have a basement due to its proximity within a flood zone. Nicholaeff resolved this riddle by placing many of the mechanicals within a shed that integrated with the other architectural design. Design of the frame components required special acumen as well, since the waterfront setting inevitably would affect the structure, but a solution of liquid Kemper for waterproofing and an elaborate drain system should ensure a worry-free future.
Acknowledging the breathtaking views is where Nicholaeff applied her unique artistry. Such a large home could easily feel cocooned and closed, but the innovative design achieved openness and brought light deep into the interior while a sense of connectedness encouraged exploration to the next vantage point to appreciate the view. Making the 9,000-square-foot house feel like a home was accomplished again with particular attention to design. The front of the house feels protective and familiar, and the interior accommodates large gatherings for three generations of the family, yet recognizes the importance of the need for retreat and solitary activity by offering several private areas.
Designed to take full advantage of summer living, an over-sized terrace with a hot tub and an outdoor television viewing area is remarkable in the absence of a pool. This is a family that lives for and loves the beach, which is just steps away. Complementing these amenities is the roof deck, where the ocean views are epic and the roofscape, with its circulating pathway, is endlessly beguiling.
Creativity, collaboration, ingenuity and an understanding of how a family lives and plays made Doreve Nicholaeff the right person for the job.
Nantucket Sound II • Excellence in New Construction
These next clients, who had a vision of a contemporary version of a sea captain’s home on a waterfront site on Great Island in Yarmouth, probably didn’t realize how lucky they were to find Doreve Nicholaeff. Her signature use of a central multi-story structure that spools off wings for distinct living areas, like the spokes in a ship’s wheel, earned Nicholaeff a gold 2016 BRICC distinction.
The approach to the home seems familiar in the context of historical abodes with the columns flanking the entry, and twin gables that act as hinges for the symmetrical wings that fold from the central core, like a sailboat venturing forward, “wing and wing.” Harkening to the days when men sailed the world in search of riches and adventure, a rooftop deck and cupola crown the structure. Curved and rectilinear elements are juxtaposed with an eyebrow window that floats over the covered entry like a seagull, against a curved triptych of square windows, over which the circular roof deck presides.
Facing Nantucket Sound, the house has a commanding presence as the wings expand to two full stories, and the central core billows outward. In contrast to the front of the home that is restrained, private and intimate, the water side, with its paired French doors and tall rectangular and broadly arched windows, expresses itself as open, embracing the Ipe deck, the centered rectangular infinity-edge pool, and the dunescape and sea just beyond its reach.
While the exterior of the home is all about symmetry and stability, inside the energy spirals outward and upward, moving through a series of half levels, evolving naturally from its core. Each level provides teasing glimpses or full exposure to the views. Unlike many homes that bathe in the bright Cape Cod sunshine, instead of light and white, the choice of dark walnut floors grounds the space and evokes a respite fit for a captain. Flooded with natural light and open to the views, these spaces are delineated by their differing ceilings, and reinterpret the ocean surroundings with the Blue Celeste marble fireplace and the ceiling, painted sky blue. A signature surprise of the home reveals a round office with a built-in desk, shelving and storage, all blanketed by constellations painted on the ceiling above. The second floor finds a master suite, guest suites and a second office space evocative of a captain’s quarters or chart room, a sense intensified by a ladder to a roof deck where consummate views of Nantucket Sound await.
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