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A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home, Winter 2016 Cape Cod Home |

Photograph by Dan Cutrona

When Helen and David Herrlinger committed to the notion of leaving their permanent residence in Cincinnati and moving into their summer home in Osterville full time, they understood the need for a transformation of space that would include both an exterior expansion and an interior overhaul. They also wanted to transplant as much of their history and memories as possible, but the challenges were myriad. To accomplish these tasks, the Herrlingers enlisted the architectural firm of Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber, of which Tom Swensson would serve as project manager, and they commissioned their son Cooper Herrlinger to design the interior. To the family’s delight, Cooper, a Boston-based interior designer, was able to, according to Helen, “fit everything” from Cincinnati into the smaller space of Osterville—while simultaneously managing to avoid any feelings of cramped-ness that had restricted the original home.

At the most basic level, the two houses could hardly have been less similar—one of vast English Tudor style with high ceilings and oversized rooms, totaling approximately 8,000 square feet; the other a 4,000-square-foot gambrel of 1950s New England design with much smaller spaces, including cubby-like bedrooms. “The two houses are like night and day,” says Cooper. “Cincinnati was quite formal, with a lot of darker colors.” For the new look of his family’s Osterville home, Cooper made a concerted effort to “try to make things less serious, with fresh, upbeat colors.”

Another part of the puzzle was how to work with the antique pieces, which the family wanted to keep because, as Cooper explains, “they tell a story.” In order to put everything together, some of the furniture required alterations. For instance, he shortened the legs of the secretary, which stands near the front door, so that it could fit more naturally in its new setting. Due to the smaller scale of the Osterville home, Cooper says one of his goals was to create a greater sense of comfort.

Swensson notes that the Herrlingers were already “very attached to the home as it was, but it didn’t meet their needs” any longer. With three grown sons living in Boston, they wanted to create a house that all could share, that each family unit would want to visit on a regular basis.

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