Deep Ocean Ties
Cape Cod Home / Winter 2018 / Home, Garden & Design, People & Businesses
Writer: Lilly Lowe / Photographer: Eric Roth
An undeniable water view sets the stage for a seaside dream home on Cape Cod Bay
Perched above a tranquil cove on the western edge of Cape Cod Bay, a Plymouth home boasts something vast, unpredictable, and ever-changing in color and mood. This spectacular, panoramic view of the ocean is accentuated by the elevation of the home, 40 feet above a pebbled beach below, and able to be enjoyed from every room in the house, even the dog’s favorite resting spot.
After spending 20 years raising a family in the suburbs of Boston, Deb and Greg anxiously awaited the day they could pick up their roots and hopefully settle down someplace where the coastal charm and power of the sea would influence their lives going forward. In 2012 Deb and Greg found a site with the kind of view they had only imagined. They decided to purchase their soon-to-be full-time residence on the shores of Plymouth.
However, the couple required the right interior designer to adequately interpret their lifestyle demands, all the while creating new interior space that would not only complement the show-stopping panorama but also provide the serenity they desired. Their vision was to completely remodel the home—anchoring the design to the ocean view and converting the space into a comfortable, year-round home base, where their four adult children would be pulled, like the tide, to visit.
“The amazing ocean view sold us on the house, and when it came time to renovate, it was important that nothing took away from the view,” Deb says.
In 2016, the couple enlisted Tiffany LeBlanc of LeBlanc Design, a transitional design firm based out of Boston, to manage the yearlong renovation project. The new plan called for completely reworking the layout, as well as updating all of the surfaces and aesthetics for every room in the home. Translating what Deb and Greg’s wishes were for their own active lives, as well as those of their energetic children, LeBlanc reinterpreted the space to comfortably accommodate the family’s needs through every season.
“I wanted to create a transitional style that complemented the view,” LeBlanc says. “They wanted a year-round house that felt akin to the ocean outside.” LeBlanc used the subtlety as well as the majesty of the home’s surroundings as her source of inspiration when choosing the variety of elements for the new space. Natural textures, handmade details and refined choices transformed the space, lending each room its own personality and the freedom to create a moment, all the while connecting them together by tying them to their focal point: the sea.
“We always want there to be good flow of color and style within a house,” LeBlanc says. “But we want each room to feel like its own space—to feel fresh. We don’t want to duplicate design or use the same exact color palette, but there’s always a nod tying back the color or textures to the other rooms.”
The overall feel of the home is casually elegant, while offering sophisticated comfort. Throughout the home one’s eye lands upon shapes and forms that are modern and streamlined, yet never overly decorative due to the deliberate choice of elements with clean, simple lines. Seaside elements hint at the home’s location without overwhelming visitors with a beach house vibe.
Expanding upon the original design of the home, the new layout includes three bedrooms, allowing for personal space for everyone; a suite in the basement for their kids when they visit; a new expansive living room; a new office; an open dining and kitchen area; a new powder room; and a new luxurious master suite.
The office plays the role of a functional space for Deb and Greg—a hub where they can organize and run their busy lives, all while keeping things tidy and organized. In the original design, the office was closed off, but LeBlanc utilized a peek-a-boo bookcase to open up the space and invite the ocean view into the room. Hand-blocked fabrics bring in the texture of the rocks and sand of the beach, while billowing sheers, evocative of sails on a boat, invite a sense of coziness into the office.
The office opens up to the more sophisticated living room. It’s refined with feminine touches, like the soft brass and seashell chandelier. The beach glass around the fireplace adds a subtle element of seaside personality as it sparkles from the light of cool evening fires. “It’s ready to host people drinking white wine on a warm summer night,” LeBlanc says of the sophisticated living area. “It’s meant to entertain, where someone can be comfortable and kick their feet up, but also feel like they’re in a really finished space.”
Meandering past the living room, the kitchen and dining room’s combined personality acknowledge the importance of family time. LeBlanc and team reworked the floor plan, replaced all the cabinets, added new tile, created a new lighting plan, and added a butler’s pantry in the back. The two spaces are open concept, encouraging an inclusive and participatory cooking experience for the couple, their family and any adventurous guests.
The sink and stove work opposite each other, while the dining room table sits nearby, ready to be set for a family dinner. A customary light fixture above the dining room table was purposely left off the menu, allowing for no interruptions of the picturesque view.
“The kitchen is my absolute favorite,” Deb says. “You can see water on all three sides. If you’re sitting at the island drinking coffee in the morning and you look to your left, right or behind you, you’ll see a different view of the ocean.”
Upstairs, the master bedroom encourages relaxation by utilizing calming neutrals and comfortable, private surroundings. “It was all about simplified sleeping, no embellishments,” Deb says. Of course, waking up to the view encourages one to get up and get out. Fresh linens and crisp cottons play up the coastal vibe just a touch more than downstairs, while lending themselves to a serene and restful atmosphere. The white color palette enhances the view, allowing the ocean to become the other color in the room. The trim features a semi-gloss, while the walls and ceiling were painted the same color in a flatter finish, creating volume and maximizing space. The layering that provides the foundation of the design interest comes into play in the room’s carpet and bedding.
The bedroom opens up to a quaint deck, made for soaking in the various moods of the ocean, either with a steaming cup of fresh coffee in the morning, or with a cocktail fit to say goodnight to the sun in the evening.
For the adjacent master bath, LeBlanc and the homeowners worked with Eric Thorson and his team at Thorson Restoration and Construction. The bathroom was completely gutted to open and modernize the space, and infuse the ocean vistas into the room. The new design introduced an enlarged shower with a linear drain and floating stone bench. A new floating vanity across the room keeps the space light and uncluttered. The cool tones of the blue-bleached walnut custom cabinetry complement the organic, marble mosaic wall tile and water-resistant wallpaper. Details like warm brushed brass fixtures give the master bath an old-world elegance, while elements like the beautiful soft wave mosaic pattern of the tile tie the design back to the fresh, modern theme of the entire home.
“The old bathroom was the opposite of the home’s new coastal feel,” Thorson explains. “It was dingy, dark and heavy. All of the finishes throughout the house are light and airy, and I think the bathroom reflects that.” Apparently others agree with the successful design, since the master bath won a 2018 National Association of the Remodeling Industry “Contractor of the Year” gold award for a residential bathroom.
For the homeowners, LeBlanc and the team at Thorson, the delight they shared in working together is reflected in the overall success and satisfaction found throughout the entire project—and will continue to be reflected as Deb and Greg enjoy their ocean views from their home for years to come.
“Our vision was to take as much advantage of our fantastic water views as possible and make that almost part of the décor of the home,” Deb says. “Every time I walk into the house, I’m like, who lives here? Oh, me! I get to live here!”