Grand living on Great Island
In the yard, innovation and juxtaposition once again find harmony. Manicured lawns and planted beds are flanked by moors brimming with a profusion of wildflowers scattered by seed by the homeowner. Twin sheds joined by a bridge and topped with a cupola bank off to the southeast side, and it is there that this home’s HVAC systems and a golf cart used to get around the surrounding neighborhoods are housed. On the southwest side, a long covered porch with concealed Phantom roll screens overlooks the flat, sprawling green lawn and gardens. It was such a porch as this that inspired the whole design of the new house. “The property had an existing house that was moved,” Nicholaeff says. “It had a covered porch, and my clients wanted to repeat that idea and orientation because they wanted to take advantage of the afternoon sunshine.”
This porch’s placement was the initial factor that determined the home’s site and configuration, and with so much to pack inside, the interiors quickly became deep and dense. The challenge became how to organize and connect the many rooms upstairs and down and ensure they all had access to the exceptional Cape Cod summer light. The solution became the home’s defining dramatic feature: a central two-and-a-half-story galleria, which draws and disperses light into the interior from its window-studded roof. This galleria acts as an architectural firmament, expanding the central energy of the house while directing the flow to all of the spaces.
This multi-faceted home creates a variety of experiences both inside and out. A typical Cape Cod day for this family with adult children may involve the simplest and best summer has to offer. A short stroll over a granite block bridge, which traverses a wetland created by Duxbury landscape architect Dan Orwig, leads to a grouping of white Adirondack chairs on their private sandy beach. After a day of sunbathing, a rinse in the outdoor shower may be in order. While some may practice chip shots on the sprawling lawn, others rest in Adirondack rockers. When cocktail hour arrives, the husband stands in one of his favorite spaces (other than his driftwood-inspired office or among his library stacks, that is): behind the bird’s nest bar, inspired by one he saw in Washington D.C. From there, he serves drinks to family and friends, who gaze at the views beyond.
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