Diamond in the Bluff
Their optimism regarding the home’s endless possibilities led to an 11-month renovation led by Matt Spencer of Spencer & Company, transforming the house into the haven of mid-century modern style that it is today.
“This was an exciting project for the entire Cape Cod SV Design office because we could completely explore a thoroughly modern design aesthetic,” says Schneeberger. “The house that was there was definitely not traditionally Cape Cod, and there was so much potential to take the design to the next level. Often, our clients want a clean modern interior but hesitate to deviate from the traditional Cape Cod vernacular when it comes to exteriors.” The original home stood prominently at the end of a quiet neighborhood, at the entrance of the association’s path to the beach, so the neighbors were accustomed to an aesthetically different structure that crowned their treasured beach landscape.
The new design features innovatively stacked exterior walls that are clad in familiar white cedar shingles, but the siding is one of the home’s few traditional characteristics. The levels of the home were one of the features that everyone wanted to preserve. “All of the levels were already there, but we expanded and played with them in a lot of different ways,” Schneeberger explains. In fact, there were several aspects of the home that the homeowners and Schneeberger decided to maintain. “We played with keeping the spirit of the house and some of the original architectural elements intact,” says Schneeberger. The open wooden staircases, for example, are a central feature of the home’s six levels and were also left largely untouched with the exception of newly stained treads.
The entry level features a living space and kitchen with two lofted levels overlooking the living spaces below. “It’s definitely a family togetherness house,” confirms the mother of four active adult children. “It’s like one big room with three bedrooms.” For a family who sought to replace electronic and worldly distractions with family connection, this architectural style lent itself perfectly to their needs. The living area is accented with walnut built-in shelving against sawn oak wall panels, marred for intended texture by Spencer’s circular saw to create depth as it serves as the focal point for the only television in the home. Gray-cushioned sofas and chairs are arranged around a Tulikivi wood-burning fireplace, which has the capacity to radiate heat from its soapstone blocks many hours after the fire has burned out. “We had a different model from the same company in our previous home and just loved it,” says the husband. More than serving as a physical heat source, the warmth of the fireplace balances out the industrial aspect of the exposed steel beams and ductwork above. Behind the sofas, a wall of windows touches each end of the room, allowing the panoramic view to be immediately perceptible upon entry. Concealed among the windows, several sliding glass doors lead to an outdoor deck overlooking the beach, a perfectly sheltered spot for entertaining guests and for optimal people watching on the beach below. The renovated home has 50% more surface area in terms of windows, so the house is accordingly fitted with windows that promise maximum longevity. “Windows are such an important feature in all construction projects,” explains Spencer. Taking into account the size of the windows and the exposure, the team landed on Anderson “A” Series windows. “We use Anderson on most of our projects,” Spencer confirms. “The exterior of the Anderson window is a material called Fibrex which is extremely durable and well suited for coastal applications.”
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