Heartfelt Home in Hyannisport
Carrying out the architectural plans was Craig Ashworth of E.B. Norris & Son Builders, an Osterville firm with more than 85 years of experience known for expertise in historic renovations and for understanding Cape Cod’s iconic architectural style.
The wife’s relationship with the area runs deep. Her great grandparents lived in Hyannisport, and she grew up spending summers in her grandmother’s house nearby. The painting of a ship of a more distant relative, a captain who sailed out of Provincetown, hangs above the table in the breakfast nook. For many years, hers was a long-distance relationship with the Cape she loved, as she and her husband lived abroad. Eventually, the couple wanted to give their children a home base, a “heart home,” as the wife describes it, and they bought the cottage next door in the early 1980s. When their children became adults, they turned it over to them and bought its neighbor. Other family members also live nearby, including the wife’s sister, whose home is just on the other side of a shared “great lawn.”
Though their new cottage was in so many ways “sweet,” it was not necessarily livable. Most impractical, for instance, was the main staircase placed awkwardly right in front of the entrance where it not only impeded visitors, but it also blocked the view of the living room fireplace and divided the living and dining areas. “Before, when you opened the door,” Dick says, “you ran right into the first tread of the stairs.” Or, as the wife tells it, “The house had a charming staircase, but it was treacherous and killed two rooms.” A better-situated switchback staircase took its place, its newel post topped with the “mortgage button” of its forebear.
What was the dining room is now a sitting area, and the dining table now occupies the space where the staircase once stood. A diamond-paned window—a more weather-resistant replica of an original—fractures the light coming over a newly added built-in seat. “This renovation gave the family a more open and functioning dining room,” Dick says, “and the window seat with its lovely view creates a little moment. It can also serve as additional seating when the dining table is extended.”
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