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Changing Spaces

Jean Bill Romeo

A metal whale by Steve Swain works perfectly in a cathedral ceiling in the new home, equally as well as when it graced the millwork above a fireplace in their former home (above).

The Romeos’ love of summer activities like sailing and beach-going came through, translated through the use of natural and nautical accessories like an oversized driftwood bowl, lamp bases constructed of natural hewn rope, and multiple weathered tables from the Nautique Sail Loft Collection, Malone’s signature furniture line. “Bill walked into our showroom and saw an oversized, pedestal dining table that I had coaxed our cabinetmaker into making for another client,” Malone recalls, “and immediately knew that was exactly what he had been looking for. I thought, ‘Oh, no, our craftsman is going to kill me.’ That piece involved layers and layers of wood to make the base since we don’t have a lathe to create something so massive. Now I had to ask for another one! But that’s what we do for our clients.”

A large dining table is a cornerstone of how this family lives. They are an active, multi-generational family that gathers together on the Cape in order to spend precious time together, from hours on Nauset Beach to dusk-imbued dinners with friends and family. Malone succinctly sums up the experience of ensuring a home reflects its owners: “What I do is not just a job. I really feel like I create places that welcome the owners, their family and their friends. But beyond that, it becomes the backdrop to where they make memories, and laugh and sometimes cry together. It needs to be a safe, comforting space that ultimately brings them joy.”

This family also indulges in another favorite pastime of Cape residents: the casual but serious exploration of the myriad art galleries that dot the various Cape communities. Their collection of art—found and procured while seeking out events like the Wellfleet Oysterfest, or just strolling through the Cape’s villages—adorned the walls throughout the home. Like many people who truly enjoy their found treasures, the endless opportunities to gaze upon a painting, a sculpture or a unique piece revives memories of the day leading up to the moment the art created a milestone in their life.

As is sometimes the way, life takes a turn. The Romeos family was growing up; the kids were in college and frequenting the Cape with adult friends. Jean and Bill were looking down the road to a distant future that would likely find them spending more time on the Cape than not. Despite the exquisite renovation accomplished at the Margaret Stanger home, and the perfect environment they had achieved with Malone’s help—not to mention their beautiful collection of art—the fact was that the home lacked sufficient storage. It didn’t have a basement, or a garage, and the closet solutions allocated during the Colonial period fell quite short of today’s needs. After significant consideration, a decision was made to sell the home.

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