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In the Eye of the Beholder

Sea Change

Sea Change, like many of its interior and exterior features, is both a work of transformation and a statement about the concept of transformation. On a literal level, the house would seem at home in many traditional neighborhoods on the Cape. Its shingles and white trim would allow it to camouflage easily. Yet its lines are more dynamic than the average; its peaks and curves make it stand out and evoke other concepts. In other words, while it’s a house, it also allows the observer to associate with it other forms. For instance, from the street, it might look like a ship, a galleon, with a arc at the “stern” that suggests the captain’s quarters. Its bold windows further support this interpretation, as do the peaks of its three gables, which rise like masts carrying full sail. The gable farthest from the stern swoops into a curve that resembles the confluence of a jib and a bowsprit. Like a galleon, the home appears both ornate and practical, ready to set sail, yet grounded in its proper place.

John DaSilva, design principal at PSD, deployed the architectural idea of associationism when the firm conceived and built Sea Change. He explains, “Associationism is related to symbolism, but it requires more interpretation. Forms imply other things outside the reality of the building itself. This possibility of multiple readings makes it richer.” In other words, it’s an art of illusion, of magic—which places DaSilva and his team, to extend the home’s foundation of allusion, in the roles of Prospero and Ariel. “It’s a way to do something fresh and contemporary but not be too abstract,” says DaSilva. “Where one person may see a ship, another might see a mountain range or a pool slide. Where you might see a port hole in the round window, someone else may see the eye of a fish. This is intentional in what we design. The home takes on another character at night, too, as the profile becomes very prominent—almost as if you stood up an architectural drawing.”

PSD is a fully integrated firm that takes care of nearly every facet of creating a new home. DaSilva says, “We build virtually everything we design and we design virtually all that we build. We’re one-stop shopping, which is easier for clients; they never have to mediate between the architect and the builder.” The homeowners of Sea Change concur, stating, “It was extremely helpful to be able to have all the parties involved at the same table helping each other so the right decisions are made. And on the construction side, they’re true craftsmen, very skilled at what they do, people who take the utmost pride in their work.”

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