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New Beginnings

A home on Great Island gets a fresh start while paying homage to its historic roots. 

If an artist were to create an idyllic scene of Cape Cod, what would it look like? Almost surely it would be a sparkling seascape; perhaps a watercolor bleeding across the page to reveal a sandy coastline and a sprawling naturescape beyond. And of course, a lighthouse.

Great Island in Yarmouth is a stunning representation of all of the Cape’s best features; it’s exactly what that watercolorist would look to for inspiration. An expansive natural landscape gives way to private beaches, a picturesque lighthouse, and endless ocean views as the Atlantic reaches with shining, rolling waves out toward Nantucket. But, it is perhaps the homes that make this private peninsula so profoundly special. Thanks to strict building guidelines focused on protecting and preserving the historic charm that Cape homes are famous for, traversing Great Island is like stepping back in time to the days when horse and buggy ruled those same roads, passing shingled homes and inviting porches. Don’t let the charm be misleading though; these homes still have very much to offer in the way of modernity. Take, for example, a home built by the team of Osterville’s T.A. Nelson Construction, Hutker Architects, and Washashore Home Design. Quaint lines outside give way to an open floor plan inside, and the space remains historically deferential while still translating to a modern lifestyle, complete with delightful nautical accents that add a touch of that renowned Cape Cod charm. 

“As a whole, the homes on Great Island all blend in well with the surrounding nature. This house was an old Cape. It was structurally sound, so instead of taking it down and building something new, this homeowner really wanted to keep the home historically correct,” says Tom Nelson of T.A. Nelson. “Great Island has so much history and charm to it. We knew that this home needed to feel some of the vibes of the area. The renovation provided a lot of updates to the home, but the bones were original and a lot of the character remained in the design,” adds Peyton Lambton, interior designer and co-owner of Washashore Home Design. Inside, a marriage of old and new permeates the space. Antique furniture adds charm to a contemporary, open space, perfect for summer living. 

“So, I close my eyes to old ends and open my heart to new beginnings.” – Nick Frederickson

Originally built in the 1800s, the team did their best to salvage as much original material as possible. And where they couldn’t, masterful recreations took center stage: like with the heart pine floorboards. 

“Hutker Architects did a great job opening up the floor plan while keeping the integrity of the home intact,” comments Nelson. A second floor dormer was added, providing a bit more space and playing off of that old Cape Cod feel of the home. “We salvaged as much original material as we could,” he explains, pointing out the antique heart pine flooring. Where the original flooring could not be used, Nelson turned to Cataumet Sawmill. “They’ll make anything!” he enthuses. “And their specialty is reproducing old growth pine. So, they mill new product that matches almost perfectly to the original material.” T.A. Nelson also worked to restore paneling throughout the home as well as the original doors. “We used a company called True Style doors to match the old doors that we couldn’t salvage,” says Nelson. 

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