Furthermore, as builder Mick Lahart says, “It’s always challenging going into an older house because of the unknowns; you don’t know if the columns will be in good enough shape. It was a very basic looking house to start, so we changed the whole design and completely rebuilt it.” In the process, the team would construct a new basement, double the size of the family room and install a large stone fireplace, and remove the good morning staircase—in addition to adding dormers and bathroom windows. “The walls had a swirled putty texture,” says the owner, “so we took down all of them. The overall flow of the place was awful before, so we had to fix that, too.” The transformation would finally allow the house to properly access its views and to maximize the potential of its location.
One of the keys to the success of the home’s renovation was collaboration amongst the owners, builders and designers. It’s often impossible to finish any project on time, especially one as involved and as complex as this one, but Lahart says, “The owners knew what they wanted and were quick to make choices, which was helpful since there were so many decisions that we had to make in the time frame.” They also had a great working relationship with Dave Johnson, the architect. “This helped a lot,” says Lahart. The owner also notes that, “Dave was awesome. He made barrel ceilings upstairs and in the entranceway that really opened things up, and these lines also tied things together.”
As with many of the homes around Nesting Way, this one sits upon a lot of about two acres, most of which is lawn and natural open space that stretches toward the banks of Scorton Creek. Conservation land abounds in this area, and striped bass patrol the waterways. “It’s a special place,” says Lahart. “It’s a lovely part of Cape Cod. The owners were a joy to work for, and they use their home much more than they thought they would. Once they moved down here, they realized how much they really liked it.”
Laura Urban deserves much of the credit for the degree of comfort that the family has come to enjoy inside their renovated dwelling. To return to the eagles’ nest analogy, she’s most responsible for creating the “egg bowl,” the soft and cozy areas that make a house feel most like a home. Says the owner, “It took me a couple of tries to find someone who could help me achieve the right look. Laura really worked with us. She is so patient; she just keeps bringing things until they work.” Urban came into the project after construction was complete, so she wasn’t directly involved with the building team. As a result, the goals for her part would manifest as an evolution of the initial desire to let in more light and bring in the outdoors. Urban says, “We really wanted to give the house a coastal feel, but upscale coastal, and we continued with the theme of lightening the space up.” She and the owners introduced a number of natural textures, too, incorporating sisal rugs and grasscloth wallpaper.
The colors and textures draw upon the home’s natural surroundings, evoking sand and beach vegetation. Features such as the vertically stacked stone wall finishing in a second floor bathroom advance this theme, as does the naturally weathered balcony. The dining room, with its picture windows, feels immersed in the beachscape, and bright natural wood finishes run throughout the home in contrast to the muted coastal grays and tans. Artist Cris Reverdy produced paintings for Urban and the owners, too, including a landscape above the fireplace that looks like a mirror of the view, with the bright blues of an inlet on a sunny day. Urban also contracted with decorative painter Kathleen Collings. “She used hand-cut stencil for some of her work,” says Urban. “You’d probably think some of her painting is actual wallpaper. In areas where there were certain angles, we brought in lines, diamonds and other visual textures.”
Throughout the interior, the owner says they were hoping to achieve a certain level of comfort. They wanted something that reminded them of an “eclectic resort in Vermont” where they used to stay for vacations. As a result, Urban says, “The rooms really are individual with their feel, but in keeping with the overall theme of coastal lightness. Each bedroom is a special space, and the master suite has its own balcony.” A bespoke fabric in silver and navy, depicting coral branches in a raised velvet burnout, is found in the drapes, pillow cases and the bed scarf that complement the exquisite blue grasscloth wall covering in the downstairs guest room, while an upstairs guest room relies upon light blues adorned with white floral outlines and creamy walls to achieve a classical beachside tone. One element that the designer introduced in a number of spaces is a harlequin-style pattern, one that she has used in her own home. The bright contrast of white and black infuses yet another texture into the home, and it gilds the beachiness with a cosmopolitan sophistication.
Ironically, the family here at Nesting Way are empty nesters, as the owners’ children have already graduated from college. But this renovation has created what should be a lasting home to which all parties may migrate home for relaxation, vacation and seclusion from the bustle of the city. Initially, the family worried that the home’s location, a seven-minute walk from the actual beach, would feel like a downside, but after a few winters, the owner says she’s thankful. “It’s nice to be set back just far enough that we don’t have to worry so much about storms,” she says.
It’s been seven years since the family made their move to East Sandwich, and the project is pretty well completed. “There are a couple of small areas that I haven’t decided how to move forward with, some finishing touches, but we’re very happy,” the owner says. “Now it just flows the way we wanted it to.” This aery on Nesting Way has developed into a true home, and, like bald eagles, the owners will continue to work with Urban and others to bring more beauty into their roost.
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