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Grand living on Great Island

Grand living Great Island

Lush fields of wildflowers bloom around the perimeter of the property. Photo by Richard Hilgendorff

Architect Doreve Nicholaeff successfully makes a 9,000 square foot house feel like a home by providing individual spaces for an active family.

Anyone who has ever looked out across a famous city or iconic town from a high perch knows how entertaining and diverting roofscapes can be.  Imagine having your own beguiling roofscape, with the added perk of a panoramic view of Nantucket Sound. Such is the envious situation of this 9,000-square-foot shingle-style home designed by architect Doreve Nicholaeff.

Though the complex roofscape is the result of some rigorous geometry and careful configuration, it was born simply enough.  When Nicholaeff, principal of Osterville’s Nicholaeff Architecture + Design, was approached by a Boston-area couple to design a home for them that would accommodate gatherings of their large multi-generational family, while providing smaller spaces for work and quiet activities, she faced a challenging balancing act. “My clients are very family oriented,” she says, “but they also wanted everyone in the family to have their own spaces.” That meant not only incorporating an extensive family room and dining area, a kitchen large enough for a small athletic team and several outdoor congregating spaces, but also seven bedrooms, an office and library alcove for the husband and an art studio for the wife. Added to this proposition was the need to house above ground what is normally relegated to the basement since this Yarmouth home is located in a flood zone.

The home’s exterior embodies this dynamic contrast of public and private spaces and expansive and intimate scales.  The front façade is fairly traditional, with an embracing entrance that offers a human-sized welcome, achieved through cascading gables, twin dormers and a protective arched entry. The waterside is bold and broad, with walls of banked windows taking in the surrounding dunes, marshes, beach and ocean. “The back of the house is designed to maximize the views and to relate to the landscape,” Nicholaeff explains. “We oriented the house to follow the natural curve of the water’s edge.” Inside, the family and dining room are positioned to take advantage of the seascape, while the kitchen “is angled so that it is more separated.” The turn is mediated by a circular oak bar, which acts as the hinge or pivot point.

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