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Lucky’s Bluff

Polhemus Savery DaSilva applies thoughtful design and exceptional craftsmanship to a unique home for the entire family.

Few dogs are as fortunate as a little gray fellow named Lucky. Sure, some have nice places built of plywood out in the back yard, in the classic style of Snoopy’s pad with the upside-down “U”-shaped entryway. Maybe they even have some all-weather bed from Orvis or L.L. Bean upon which they can lounge in the shade, tongues lolling through the dog days of summer. Or perhaps their owners allow them to sprawl out on the living room sofa or provide them with fancy outfits appropriate for various weather conditions and stylish personal floatation devices for adventures on the seas. Regardless of how pampered or spoiled these other dogs may be, however, it’s safe to assume that few have actual homes named for them. For the little dude called Lucky, his owners contracted with Polhemus Savery Dasilva Architects Builders (PSD) to completely reimagine and build a home on Cape Cod Bay that has been christened “Lucky’s Bluff.”

PSD’s Senior Designer Sharon DaSilva, who led the rebuilding design project, says, “Lucky’s a special dog, who is definitely a big part of the homeowners’ family. He was there for our photoshoot, and he did a really good job of posing.” In one shot, Lucky stands in the home’s entryway, very clearly in the role of welcoming host rather than intimidating watch dog. He seems ready to offer guests a tour, but he also radiates a certain degree of pride in his abode and its dramatic view of the bay. From the driveway, one can look straight through the home and directly to the sand flats and water beyond. From this vantage point, the home transforms through the simple act of opening the front door from a charming cottage in a quiet neighborhood to a viewing gallery of natural wonder. It’s no wonder that Lucky looks so pleased, and the effect provides a window into one of the home’s overall themes—that of expansiveness. DaSilva says, “We often have clients who want space but also want the look and feel of a cottage. It’s like the scene in the fourth Harry Potter movie, where the family is going camping, and what looks like a pup tent becomes a two-bedroom apartment once people enter.”

Polhemus Savery DaSilva frequently dip into their spellbooks for the magic necessary to create illusions and to expand spaces. As is often the case in a rebuilding project, PSD had to design and build Lucky’s Bluff on the pre-existing footprint of the original home. “It was an older house with a funky set up that included a little shop, as well,” DaSilva recalls. “So our challenge was to make the house feel open and airy but within a fairly limited footprint.” On the neighborhood side of the home, which faces roughly south, DaSilva brought traditional elements to bear, such as shingles, shutters, and white trim, but she played with scale to shrink the overall facade. “The hood over the entryway is larger than what is typical,” she says. “It’s more generous, creating a more substantial opening.” In addition, the hood’s brackets are oversized and elegant; they serve as both the traditional element that they are, but because of their grandeur, they also evoke the feeling of columns. “We set tiny windows on either side of this to add interest by changing the scale,” says DaSilva. These tiny windows are paired with only one shutter each, which also breaks up the pattern of the home’s facade. These lie on the outer side of the windows, creating something like bookends to the entryway. Like all the shutters on the front and sides of the home, these miniature, square ones are also crafted with v-grooves and a CNC-machined cutout in the shape of a scallop shell; they are both decorative and actually functional (although it is unlikely that the homeowners will ever find the need to close them, they could). 

“We’ve done boats and starfish designs for other clients,” says DaSilva, “but this was the first time we’ve done scallops. They were actually tricky because the scallops have such a delicate shape.” Directly above the hood is a large double window with correspondingly larger shutters. “These provide light to both the first and second floors,” notes DaSilva. Although it may not be immediately obvious, all of the other windows on the front and sides of Lucky’s Bluff are also oversized. “The muntins are also bigger, which creates an interesting effect,” DaSilva explains. “It makes the house look slightly smaller than it really is.” In combining these various elements of illusion, Lucky’s Bluff blends into the neighborhood in the same way that the Weasleys’ little pup tent fit into the campground outside the Quidditch World Cup. 

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