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House of Shifting Sands

House of Shifting Sands, Early Summer 2017 Cape Cod HOME |

Photo by Jane Messinger

Stepping through the rest of the house, bare feet fresh from the beach are spared splinters as they meet rift sawn white oak floorboards that sheath the floors of the surrounding bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and gathering area. “The main level,” as Ruhl explains, “is a collage of overlapping, cantilevered planes and volumes that culminate in a large living/dining space that is defined by an asymmetrical, arcing copper roof plane overhead.”

Contrary to how it may sound, simplicity and efficiency flourish throughout the home. Appliances, tiles and furniture in warm hues of orange and blue are paired with upholstery in neutrals to make up the overall look and feel, but the design choices also triumph in their superior functionality to help the homeowners maintain a practical and modest aesthetic. Leveraging the latest innovations for energy solutions, the house is outfitted with highly efficient air-to-air heat exchangers and ventilators as well as a rooftop solar electric array. While not pursued, the house was designed with the principles of LEED certification in mind.

Exploring the nooks and crannies of the house, one will eventually find areas of peace and tranquility where the Zen of vacation can be found. Separated from the main house by a screen porch and contiguous deck is a studio for artists, yogis and thinkers alike. Here, a single large loft space is embraced by views, and energized by the sun and coastal driven winds as it seemingly floats 14 feet above the ground. Below sits an open-air art studio and boat/beach storage that is sheltered behind walls of wood slats and matching barn doors.

Never one to be outdone, the exterior of the house offers fun relaxation and wonder of its own. The roof over the main living space has its very own curve appeal. “Every piece of structure for that roof started as a standard rectangle,” explains Ruhl. ”The clients’ wish was to design it to be curvy, not sharp and boxy. Working with our structural engineer and Sea-Dar, we produced computer-generated guidelines of exact measure for the lumberyard to precisely cut each rafter, in order to mitigate the risk of error and remain cost effective.”

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