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21st century modern design in Wellfleet

Wicked Modern, Autumn 2017 Cape Cod HOME |

Sited within a three-quarter-acre wooded lot in Wellfleet, this modern green home treads lightly on its serene environment. Photo by Eric Roth

Inside, the entry vestibule gives way to an open living space on the right. The “L” shape plan consists of a kitchen—featuring heron blue backsplash tile from the homeowners’ favorite store in San Francisco, Heath Ceramics—a living room and a dining area, all bathed in the soft filtered light of the Wellfleet woods that streams through over-sized windows on nearly every wall. A glass door off the dining area extends this living space and opens to the outdoor deck. To the left of the entry vestibule, there is a powder room and a door that leads into the master suite. “I love that when I’m laying in bed reading a book, I can see the trees out the window,” Fitzsimmons says. “When I get up and walk around, I feel like I’m in the trees.”

Downstairs, there is a second bedroom featuring a set of sliding white barn doors and a built-in writing desk. The room serves primarily as an office for the homeowners, but it doubles as a fairly generously sized bedroom for guests or renters. A third bedroom and a bathroom—also ideal for guests or renters—as well as a home gym and utility space complete this lower level.

The partially exposed foundation of the home offers a multitude of windows, usually a scarcity in lower levels. “That downstairs space was carefully set into the sloping site,” Horowitz says. “This site was both a challenge and an opportunity. It allowed us to work within the footprint and still create a really nice living space on the lower level. Without the sloping site, we would’ve had to make the house bigger in order to create more living space with adequate light and views. In that sense, the sloped site was a great fit for this more modest footprint we were targeting.”

When it came to achieving energy efficiency and sustainability, Horowitz says she and her team employed a low-tech, passive design approach. The entire exterior of the house is sheathed in multiple layers of rigid insulation, and inside there is dense-packed cellulose insulation—combined with an airtight enclosure, the exterior wall construction minimizes the need to heat and cool the home throughout the year. This super-insulation is paired with an all-electric heating and cooling system and a fresh-air ventilation system (an ERV). The home uses 70 percent less energy than a conventional house built to code, and Hultin reports that air infiltration numbers taken on the home were so low they almost didn’t register on the testing equipment. “Every part of the house was built to be long-lasting and cost effective,” he says, “and carefully designed for overall look.”

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