Cape Cod Home / Autumn 2021 / Home, Garden & Design
Writer: Kathleen McKenna / Photographer: Dan Cutrona
The entire team at Lewis & Weldon spend their days transforming clients’ dreams into homes they love.
There’s nothing that invigorates Chuck Hart and his teams at Lewis & Weldon more than homeowners whose finished projects make them over-the-top happy.
“It’s just so satisfying when you see a client’s dream come to life right before their eyes,” says the owner of the award-winning Lewis & Weldon in Hyannis. ”My favorite thing is the walk through with the client at the end of the project, knowing we would not change a thing. When they love it, we love it.”
That was the case for Kevin Klett and the dream kitchen that Lewis & Weldon brought to life in his home on a cul-de-sac in Marstons Mills more than a decade ago.
Klett, who loves to cook and entertain friends and family, says it was important that he hire a builder like Lewis & Weldon who wouldn’t out-source the highly detailed millwork and custom cabinetry he imagined for his new kitchen. It was also important that his builder understood the vision Klett was crafting in his own mind.
“Lewis & Weldon just does amazing kitchens,” he says. “Their cabinetry is top-notch and has held up beautifully in the eleven years since installation.”
Hart and his team created an open, simply stunning space featuring a vaulted celing with custom-made beams, which span the width of the kitchen, and an 11-foot by 5-foot soapstone island that anchors the space as it welcomes many cooks to the kitchen.
“The project was a rarity because we really had no limitations,” Hart says. “The space just worked, exactly the way we had envisioned it. We were excited to be involved in everything from the initial plans, through every phase of construction, to the final delivery of a new and very improved space for Kevin to enjoy.”
The 30-foot by 20-foot kitchen was designed as an addition that took space from an existing deck, and involved the pouring of new foundation and the construction of sweeping vaulted ceilings supported by the beams that were designed and fabricated in the Lewis & Weldon woodworking shop, and ultimately lifted into place for installation.
“Because the whole space was an addition, and not a renovation, we kind of had a blank page upon which we were able to create exactly what the client wanted,” Hart says.
Some of those well-considered details included the potential of the over-sized island, and the complementary dark blue cabinets featured in the wet-bar area built in the dining room.
“From the start, I loved the openness of the entire kitchen, and the details of the ceiling as well as the custom-designed hood over the range,” Hart says of the project that also included a new roof, sidewall, and heating and cooling systems.
The home, which Klett purchased in 1998, originally had a tiny, annexed kitchen, and is anchored in a waterfront neighborhood that has access to sparkling Mystic Lake in Marstons Mills. The original kitchen was razed and the space was re-purposed as a spacious dining room where Klett and his husband Peter Lydon serve dinner to upwards of 30 friends and family members each Thanksgiving.
“I was always inspired by the idea of hosting large gatherings here,” says Klett, a Connecticut native who cherishes memories of summers spent with family, including his six siblings, on the Cape.
In addition to Thanksgiving meals (they stuffed two 24-pound turkeys last year), Klett and Lydon host an annual “Big Chill” weekend for college friends, as well as numerous summertime gatherings.
“This home is the place for our friends and family to meet up,” says the project manager who’s worked with multiple start-up companies, both in Boston as well as on the Cape. “And everyone is always in the kitchen; it’s by far the most used room in the house.”
That’s especially nice when your kitchen is 600 square feet, and your island is nearly 60 square feet.
“We can have five people working on five different aspects of a meal in the kitchen without getting in each other’s way,” Klett offers. “Everybody loves it.”
That island, Hart says, presented an unusual challenge because Klett was determined to have soapstone on all of the perimeter countertops as well as the top of the 11-foot-long island. But since soapstone is known as a soft and fragile countertop material, a section that size proved hard to come by, but Cape Cod Marble & Granite found the right piece.
“We really needed to think out of the box and it turned out to be a lot of fun,” Hart says. “We were able to get a hold of two bookmarked soapstone slabs that created a wonderful countertop choice for the island.”
They used a “butterfly method” to fuse the slabs together. “The right-hand side and the left-hand side of the island became mirror images of each other, so that the seam in the middle created the ‘butterfly effect.’ In this case, it just worked out really well,” Hart explains.
The project’s second big challenge came when Hart and the Lewis & Weldon team were tasked with installing the massive beams—which they’d carefully designed to match the kitchen’s white cabinetry—into the 20-foot-high rafters.
“Both the sheer height and the detail that went into the beams created challenges in the vaulted ceiling,” Hart says. “It was fortunate we were able make several customized pieces in our shop beforehand and then lift them into place.”
The soaring ceilings, pine plank floors, and traditional woodwork combine to create the farmhouse kitchen Klett had envisioned. Industrial pendant and recessed lighting, and beveled glasswork on the cabinets enhance the accessible charm and appeal of the space.
“The kitchen just has a very authentic feel; over time we find we just love it more and more,” Klett says. “Apart from the soapstone, it’s very traditional. And we love the soapstone, we’re constantly oiling it and it always looks great.”
Hart and Klett worked together with Cape-based interior designer Lynn Hetzel to plan the kitchen. Since the renovation, both she and Hart have happily accepted invitations to socialize in the very kitchen they helped create.
“Kevin had his ideas, and I had mine, and we worked together with Lewis & Weldon to make them reality,” Hetzel adds.
“His parties are frequent and always fun,” she says, “with friends gathered around the island for drinks and hors d’oeuvres, followed by large sit-down dinners in the dining room, then a return to the kitchen where there’s plenty of space for dancing.
“The size of the kitchen is just so unusual, you rarely see that kind of room,” she explains. “I always love going over and seeing the place, and Kevin always gets a great group together.”
When they’re not enjoying their one-of-a-kind kitchen, Klett and Lydon are often found on Mystic Lake where they’re known to bring their spirit of adventurous entertaining from the kitchen to the water’s edge. On the lake they canoe, kayak, and take their Portuguese water dog Manny for rides in their pontoon boat.
“If you want to get to know your neighbors, get a dog,” laughs Klett, who also has a place in Boston and says “hunkering down” on the Cape during the pandemic was a blessing. “We’ve built a real community for ourselves on the Cape.”
Next Klett hopes to build a carriage house on the grounds, with help from Steve Cook of Cotuit Bay Design, the architect who drew up the plans for the kitchen.
“It’s such a unique property,” Klett says. “For us it’s so much more than a getaway place. We have roots here now that go back to the 1990s. And our overlapping universe of friends—from the Cape, from Boston, from overseas—this is the place where we bring everyone together.”
Which brings us back to why Chuck Hart enjoys working with clients who share Klett’s mindset. He believes that a kitchen’s design is uniquely dependent on the wants and needs of the people who will live in it, raise their families in it, bring their friends together in it. And he believes that striking up a collaborative relationship and understanding the client’s needs is essential for any project to succeed.
“The kitchen is the heart of any home, and it should be a reflection of the homeowner,” Hart says. “Nothing is more important than ensuring our clients love everything about their kitchens.”
Lewis & Weldon has built a 20-year-old reputation for the custom-built kitchens they are known for. Throughout the past two decades, they have often taken on smaller projects, like bathroom renovations as well as bigger projects, like full home redesigns. All featuring their distinctly beautiful cabinetry—offered in a variety of styles and price ranges—which works in any room of the house.
“We’ve done over a thousand projects, but for some reason I will always remember this one,” Hart says. “The best part is the very first party after the renovation—the one where you get all the initial ‘oohs ‘and ‘aahs.’ That’s a great moment. There’s really nothing like seeing a client happy.”
Kathleen McKenna is a new freelance contributor to Cape Cod Life Publications.