Skip to content

Subscribe  |  Login  |  Account

Living at land’s end

Living at Land's End, Summer 2017 Cape Cod HOME |

Open interiors and a multi-sided wrap-around porch provide countless places to sit and take in the breathtaking surroundings. Photo by Mike Crane

Prior to building, the owners and Dvorsack discussed options for coastal homes that live well instead of livng large. The homeowner states, “We knew we didn’t want a large house, and John Dvorsack did a beautiful job of bringing the concept to reality.” Dvorsack notes that while the home occupies a small footprint, “It feels big because of the additional volume on the inside, and the porch also extends the living space significantly.” Many of the design plan decisions were derived from wisdom the wife’s family had accrued over generations of living on Cuttyhunk. The homeowner says, “We have porch areas to take advantage of sunny summer days,  but we also have one that protects us against the prevailing Southwest wind.” They also installed solar panels as part of their goal to create an energy-neutral home.

Despite the home’s broad porches, the interior is bright and well lit because of both the materials and innovative design. Cataldo states, “It’s all vertical grain fir, including the dining table and kitchen nook, which our carpenters built.” The team designed and constructed the fir built-ins on site—and the owners are most thankful for the quality of the woodwork. “Ralph brought in three of the best carpenters I’ve ever seen; all the guys were highly skilled,” he reflects. The Stoughton firm of Kochman Reidt & Haigh Cabinetmakers worked magic in their design of the kitchen, too. “It is a quintessential kitchen plan,” says Paul Reidt, principal, “all of the function is provided by an elaborate island that provides the open living feel, and a casual gathering spot as well. The kitchen table and banquette offer a rich mix of function and feel with their comfortable cushions—the perfect place for an hour-long cup of coffee.” Reidt and his team were also responsible for conceptualizing another favored spot for respite in the home: a window seat without a window. The center hallway has a nook that is bathed in sunlight  and offers a place to catch up on reading, journaling or to just take a lazy nap.

Cataldo and the owners constantly swap memories of the entire team and the community of Cuttyhunk that helped in the construction of this amazing home. Cataldo recently shared a recollection after celebrating the 90th birthday of a longtime resident, Dr. DiMare. He describes how the doctor met him at the icy docks every Saturday morning during the construction in a warm truck to transport the crew to the site. The cost of the gesture? A newspaper from “America.” “The neighbors were extremely cooperative and some of them worked on the project or provided  their professional expertise like plumbing or electrical services,” Cataldo says. “It really was quite the challenge to complete this project. With only about 30 year-round residents on Cuttyhunk, the resources were quite limited, so we were definitely grateful for the help.” The entire process completely met the owners’ expectations, but they have also enjoyed happy surprises. “It was just a real joy to work with Ralph,” the homeowner says. “He’s an extraordinary builder.”

The family was plenty familiar with Cuttyhunk prior to the build—and the satisfaction of living on the island has proven greater than they had ever imagined. A lifelong gardener, the homeowner completed all of the landscaping himself, careful to avoid introducing plants without native roots. He has planted hundreds of native trees, and his gardening and horticultural pursuits lend a dynamic quality to this project that began 12 years ago. Cataldo concludes, “It’s an incredible place, and they take impeccable care of it.”

The homeowners feel constant gratitude for everyone who battled the elements to create this dream home. “We love it,” he says, “a day doesn’t go by that we don’t thank Ralph,  John and their team. It’s been a wonderful experience for us.”

Ralph Cataldo and Allen Berry would both like to thank all members of the team who helped them complete this amazing island home, including the residents of Cuttyhunk, their friends and neighbors and the following individuals:

Peter Sarkinen: Project Manager

Eddie Watson: Framing Contractor

Tom Kolton: Master Carpenter

Kochman Reidt & Haigh Cabinetmakers

Joe Wayman/Francisco Tavares

Jim Dicecco

Mark Lemon

Wayne Perrier: Island Electrician

Russell Wright: Island Plumber

Joe Ores

Nathan Cox

Tucker-Roy Marine

The Cuttyhunk Corporation

Darren & Tim from Atlantic Heating

Arthur Bougulas of Superior Walls

All of the island workers

You might also like: