This boathouse is INCREDIBLE

Cape Cod Home  /  Summer 2019 / ,

Writer: Elizabeth Shaw / Photographer: Dan Cutrona 

A Boathouse for Every Occasion

Nestled on Arey’s Pond in Orleans, a boathouse designed by McPhee Associates serves as both a private getaway and perfect spot to gather and reminisce. Looking at the pristine space, one wouldn’t guess that it had once been a dilapidated structure, until Rob McPhee, president of McPhee Associates, worked his magic. The old structure was beyond repair, and nowhere near FEMA regulation height in a flood zone. The only option was to start from scratch, in the footprint of the old boathouse, giving McPhee Associates and the homeowners the opportunity to make it the perfect space. 

Once the design was complete, McPhee and his team realized there were still obstacles ahead. The boathouse’s proximity to the main house, down a steep hill, meant bringing in supplies was a challenge. “We ended up getting a small barge to get through to Arey’s Pond,” explains McPhee. “So we had that and little tugboats, and we tore down the old boathouse in sections that we placed on the barge.” The old boathouse was taken away, the supplies for the new one were brought in, and slowly, this special space came together. 

The new boathouse features a screened-in porch overlooking the peaceful pond, with outdoor couches providing the perfect spot to stop and relax for at least three out of the four seasons. The porch was key for the homeowners, who feel lucky to own property on a pond and, of course, on beautiful Cape Cod. 

Inside, McPhee describes the boathouse as the perfect multi-purpose space. Originally designed as a place to escape and work in peace and quiet, the homeowners and McPhee also considered its use as a spot for the kids to hang out and enjoy the water as they get older. Exposed beams  bring some lake house style to the Cape, and a mahogany, leather-accented desk facing the water provides a tranquil space giving new meaning to “working from home.” A kitchenette houses sustenance to keep working, or fuel for the kids to keep playing. Featuring recycled glass counters, on-trend two-toned cabinets and floating shelves, the kitchenette rivals any chic, modern kitchen. A functional full bathroom brings the charm with its Mediterranean-style tiles and a nautical mirror. With air conditioning and heat, the boathouse could also serve as a guest house in the future.

Working with the town’s conservation department, McPhee created an exterior that blends in with the surroundings and doesn’t feel out of place despite its visible location. Using natural cedar, the boathouse looks both natural and elegant from across the pond. 

“The owners love boating and being on the water, so their inspiration was just the spectacular view of the water,” says McPhee. What better way to capture that sentiment than with a quaint boathouse?

Read the entire project transformation by McPhee Associates in the Autumn issue of Cape Cod HOME.

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth Shaw is a former assistant editor, photographer & videographer for Cape Cod Life Publications. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Elizabeth spent many summers on the Cape, before she and her family moved down full time in 2016. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island as a double major in Writing & Rhetoric and Film Media, and started at Cape Cod Life the following fall. In her free time, she takes as many pictures of her dog, Watson, as possible, in between beach trips.