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Living where the sea meets the sky

A Chatham home channels its dream-like surroundings

Living where the sea meets the sky, Autumn Cape Cod Home |

Photography by Brian Vanden Brink

Aptly named by its owners, “Sundowner” in Chatham is perched on a sand ridge overlooking Nantucket Sound and against a golden backdrop of refracted light when day comes to an end. With sea grass lapping the rise of the manicured green that meets the stone patio, the full breadth of this amply windowed home greets the vista with crisp, white defining edges in the form of well-placed trim boards and columns. Broad porch overhangs act as open arms to the sea. A fire pit fashioned in the shape of a globe invites late afternoon guests to gather round on the terrace and watch the sun sizzle into the vast waters beyond.

Sundowner—with its broad, flat columns, large muntins (ridges that separate and support panes of glass), triangular roof peaks, and a flaring copper chimney cap—captures the dreamy quality of its surroundings in its whimsy and has the “happy, iconic character of a home that a child’s drawing might evoke,” says designer John DaSilva of Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders (PSD). “Slight exaggeration combined with traditional forms make the house feel familiar but different, timeless but unexpected, inviting but bold,” DaSilva adds. The home was completed in early 2016—just in time to enjoy the summer season.

Owners Heidi and John Fahey, whose main residence is in Washington, D.C., hired PSD on the recommendation of a friend in their new neighborhood. “They had a good reputation and made it easy with their all-in-one design and build,” Heidi Fahey says. “When you’re new to the area, it’s best to stay with people who are highly recommended, and we could not have been happier with our choice.”

The PSD team—which also includes architect Peter Polhemus and builder Aaron Polhemus—made placement of this 3,200-square-foot home on an 18,400-square-foot lot its number one priority. The one and a half stories facing streetside flow seamlessly into two stories on the ocean side, allowing for full water views and avoiding any full-on views of neighboring structures. The lack of outbuildings or a garage allows the house to fill the vista.

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