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Abiding by the tide: Continuing the traditions of Modernist architecture on the Outer Cape

Abide by the tide, Indian Summer 2004 Cape Cod Home |

The living room is separated from the dining area and kitchen by an L-shaped built-in seat, which opens for extra storage. Above is the loft-style master bedroom. To the left, this walled-in corridor separates two bedrooms from the main living area. Photograph by Terry Pommett

Though small and understated, the master bedroom area has a suite-like feel with its library/study off to one side, a bathroom, and a private balcony. Topped off with a Cape-style pergola, the ample balcony easily accommodates two people for reading or relaxing. Accented by a lazy cluster of vines slowly creeping up from the screened in porch below, the upper deck provides superb views of the island locale.

Beneath the bedroom, an understated, economical kitchen is reflective of the fact that much of the cooking is done outside on the grill. Everything is practical and easy to reach, from the cherry cabinets to the center island that serves the dual roles of working space and breakfast counter.

Completing the first floor are two guest bedrooms, sequestered from the rest of the house by a dividing wall. Both possess exterior doorways that open out onto a common patio complete with an outdoor shower.

Since both of the owners are writers, it makes sense that the first floor’s office space enjoys the same primary view as the living room. Its wall of windows is at a slightly different angle from the living room’s in order to frame an alternate view, notes Hammer. Despite the surprising fact that there is no door with which to close the office off, the space still manages to feel private and secluded.

For Hammer—always mindful of the owners’ summer-home frame of mind—creating welcoming outdoor spaces was just as important as designing a relaxed interior. The living room’s glass sliding doors open to a bluestone patio and garden, all of which were installed by Crossroads, an Orleans-based landscape design company. The patio offers open-air relaxation amidst modest yet colorful groupings of roses, lilies, lavender, coneflowers, and grasses, not to mention adjoining plots for herbs and vegetables. Off the kitchen is a particularly favorite space of the owners: the screened-in porch, outfitted with a swinging chair made of canvas.

“The adventure of living here,” say the owners, “is that when there are seriously high tides, we can’t go on or off. It’s rarely been a problem. A couple of summer evenings we’ve come back and the tide’s been higher than expected, but then we get to walk through this lovely phosphorous water under a starry sky. It’s not a bad penalty!”

Artist and freelance writer Andre van der Wende is a New Zealand native who has been living on the Cape since 1988. He is currently working as a catering chef.

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