A Place to Call Home
While the living room is Cooper’s favorite, he acknowledges that the most significant change to the Osterville home has been the kitchen, designed by Becky Brown of Classic Kitchens & Interiors. As previously noted, the original kitchen lay next to the front door, “back where people wouldn’t really want to spend time,” Cooper says. Still, before the transformation, the Herrlingers would gather in that space, despite its lack of a view. Swensson states that the new kitchen is set in a “modest addition” to the home. Yet, for many family members, this is the space that is most special. David notes that its dimensions are 14 by 22 feet with a bay window and claims that “most people spend the most time here.” A table set beside the window affords the same spectacular views as those from the living room, and the open counters allow the Herrlingers to “cook as a family,” as Cooper points out. “This is the change,” he adds, “that really updated the flow of the house.”
The Herrlingers’ summer home in Osterville always contained and created warm memories, but spaces were small and blocked off. For the renovation, Cooper says the family wanted an open floor plan instead of smaller separate rooms. “Everything flows now,” he says. A major element in this process was the way the various teams worked together, and, like the space itself, it was important for the overall synergy to flow. Swensson explains that the whole family contributed ideas. “The other two sons, Carey and Christopher, had input,” he says, “especially in the beginning and more again at the end, but Cooper worked as a go-between.” In the process, Swensson and the Herrlingers developed a strong friendship, and they continue to visit with each other.
David further emphasizes that the re-creation of the home has been a “democratic process.” After the family members had all agreed to the proposed exterior changes, they continued to share in the decisions so that each constituent’s needs were met. “We’d have family discussions, and sometimes you can have too many cooks, but in this case, everyone’s involvement helped the end product,” Cooper says. “Even though only our parents live here year round, ours is definitely a family house.”
Chris White is a freelance writer who teaches English at Tabor Academy in Marion.
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