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It’s Hip to be Square

Each side of Seapine Gables has its own character, features, and gables. On the left side, the gabled garage gives way to another gable that peaks above the mudroom and screened porch, on the water-facing corner. An archway connects these two sections on the ground level, and an outdoor shower stands out, marking the approximate midpoint of this side of the home. The water-facing side of the house offers perhaps the most dramatic contrast with the front, in part because the concerns about scale are different. “People perceive this side of the house from out on the water,” says DaSilva, “so we could build the full two stories and allow for nearly continuous windows.” Another gable with a screen wall rises above the second floor balcony — accessed from the hallway and directly from the guest and master bedrooms — and a hood roof shields three sets of double doors on the ground level. The windows on the water side have large undivided panes but, DaSilva notes, “there are little referential grids at the top” that connect them thematically with the home’s other windows. The fourth side of the house is the least complex, with bulkhead basement doors and a chimney bisecting the gables over the living area and bedrooms. A freeform pool burbling from two waterfalls abuts this side of the home. 

Throughout the home, DaSilva points out, “subtle details make things a little different and a little more special.” For instance, the interior of Seapine Gables circulates around another square, a central switchback staircase that rises from the finished basement, up past the living area to the bedrooms of the second floor. A large, spherical pendant lamp hangs from the ceiling above the staircase and aptly conveys a sense of rotation, of movement. Back on the ground floor, the front door opens to a view of the water, directly at the end of the hallway, and the interior of the screened porch is finished with smooth cedar boards rather than the shingles of the exterior. This was deliberate to signal the hybrid nature of this transitional space. At the kitchen, DaSilva notes, “the screen wall implies separation but does nothing to impede socializing. This allows the family to live within an open floor plan while avoiding a vast feeling.” The v-groove in the screen wall is used almost like wallpaper, he says, which is “more contemporary, more consistent with its actual materials.” Likewise, the molding for the mantle projects only forward rather than out to the sides, another nod to the traditional but a statement about its “own era.” While the home is traditional in many respects, DaSilva concludes, “it’s detailed appropriately to the materials and methods of today.”

The regular rectangle that defines the house footprint is evident at the southeast corner. The roof, chimney, and bracketed hood roof over the patio doors, however, don’t follow a simple box geometry—they add just the right amount of complexity to make it interesting and fun.

Ultimately, PSD created Seapines Gables and delivered both classical cool and refined hipness to its square design, but the firm bears less in common with Huey Lewis than it does with more visionary talents such as Prince or David Bowie. One reason for their platinum-level success is that they do everything in house, as it were. “We are a full-fledged high design architecture firm,” states DaSilva, “and also craft-oriented custom builders.” In this Lower Cape home, they have scored another resounding hit by transcending the square, and they’ve done so by pulling up in a little red corvette and proclaiming, “Let’s Dance.”

It is hip to be round too, when it comes to ideal arrangements for al-fresco socializing at the water’s edge.

For more information, visit PSD online at!

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