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It’s Hip to be Square

Paradise enhanced—free-form pool, waterfalls, small boat harbor, and a story-book sky set the scene for a perfect Cape escape.

While PSD mined the square for all of its advantages, the firm also worked to de-emphasize the home’s formality and to creatively de-boxify its lines and appearance. In fact, it’s unlikely that a visitor would have any awareness of its basic building block shape. The most dramatic de-cubing device is the way PSD set the second story back from the first, so the front of the home features two large gables conjoined by the gently sloping roof of the entry porch. “This brings the scale down, rather than having a two-story facade,” says DaSilva. A third gable rises over a large picture window centered above the porch, further fracturing the square footprint. Two pairs of columns rise on the sides of the porch, but they serve an atypical function. DaSilva explains, “They are traditional and round but intentionally overscaled to deformalize them. When they are robust like this, they become more endearing, more playful. I want to give them a hug; when it’s a spindly column, it’s not quite as friendly. They’re ‘correct’ in terms of being classical, but they feel like they are jostling for attention.” 

The screened-in-porch is another room—part interior and part exterior.

In a similar vein, the entrance itself lies tucked into the back right corner of the porch; a pair of windows occupies the space where the door normally would go. “This was in part a planned maneuver to accommodate the size of the garage,” says DaSilva, “but, like the columns, it deformalizes the house by providing something a little unexpected. This is clearly still the entrance but the actual door is not revealed until you get to the porch.” PSD also applied a deformalizing approach to the shutters and windows. They provide symmetry and also imply squareness, but they are fully functional, too. That it’s unlikely the owners will ever choose to close them is beside the point, which is that they’re scaled correctly. They’re also nearly touching their neighbors. “This is the result of wanting windows that would be as big as possible,” says DaSilva. “All the windows on the front and side are six-lite windows with bigger and bolder muntins that reference traditional window grids. The shutters’ louvre blades are overscaled, too, making them more playful.” On a few tiny windows there’s only one shutter, which if closed would cover the entire glass surface. Taken individually, these create a break with the symmetry, but taken as a whole, they also line up perfectly, like bookends at either side of the house.

Top and left: The master suite has a spectacular view with access to a balcony just big enough for a couple to retreat.

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