We worked with two local designers to transform this family home into a nostalgic holiday scene from years past. Read the inspiration behind the designs and learn more about the designers:
A father builds a home for his family in hopes of capturing memories from his own childhood
Yves Locas shares his name with his father. He also shares nostalgic memories of time his family spent in New England in the 1960s and ’70s when his father, a Quebec national, played in the American Hockey League—the farm team, or developmental league, of the U.S. National Hockey League. Summers were spent in the various coastal communities of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where the family racked up carefree days exploring the endless activities afforded to vacationers. As Locas recalls, it was an idyllic time: “It quite possibly could be fogged by memory, but I remember running barefoot, spending the whole summer in swim trunks and just an overall feeling of freedom and contentment.”
Those are the qualities Locas hoped to reinvigorate as he and his wife embarked on a search for a property on the Cape and south coast of New England. Residents of a Toronto suburb, Locas and his wife threw the net wide, not being particularly rigid about determining which community in advance. “I was open to seeing anything, and yet nothing was really fulfilling the vision I had for a vacation home for my family,” Locas recalls. “Then our realtor said if I could think outside of the box, he might have something that would work.” His realtor from the old Cape Sotheby’s International Realty office in Orleans explained that he had a recently divided parcel that separated a post-and-beam barn and acreage from a single-family home.
Upon arrival to view the property, Locas recalls that as soon as he glimpsed the impressive red barn, crowned with a fully windowed cupola, he once again experienced that New England nostalgia from his childhood. All that was needed was a house to complete the scene.
An introduction from his realtor to REEF Builders, newly taken over by president Matt Teague and vice president Jim Hagerty, launched a relationship that Locas still holds in special regard. “The whole experience exceeded every expectation,” Locas says. “When we sat down early in the process and Matt reviewed the timeline, the contract indicated they would complete the construction by mid-March. I told him they could take a few more months since we wouldn’t be there until summer. Matt quickly looked at me and said, ‘That isn’t how we work. We set a timeline and adhere to our schedule.’ That just perfectly describes how you can completely trust them every step of the way.”
Hagerty, REEF’s senior designer, also left an impression on Locas, who had never embarked on a construction project before. “Jim was great,” he says. “One of the first renderings had the home completely separate from the barn, and we talked about it. Jim came back with a new plan that solved the problem with an interesting breezeway that provided a welcoming transition between the two structures.”
Hagerty concurs, “Yves’ instinct was correct. The challenge was to incorporate the early American farmhouse sensibility to the scale of the columns. Instead of big chunky columns that are popular today, they needed to acknowledge the history of the farmhouse when construction was influenced by necessity, not vanity.”
Teague points out the challenging angles and incorporation of the breezeway’s roofline between the two buildings and the expertise exerted to successfully transition between the two. “It wasn’t as easy as just running a connector. We had varied levels and differing elements to tie into. But we made it work, as well as made it look right,” he says. Another point of thought and consideration that Teague touches upon comes in the spa-like, sumptuous bathrooms that accomplish their luxury in a relatively modest amount of space. “We are able to eliminate the need for a glass shower door by deliberately placing the shower head in the corner of the shower. That way the spray is aimed away from the opening and a door isn’t necessary, just step in and step out.”
The open living area is filled with light at every turn that streams through plenty of windows and is reflected by white walls. The space is grounded by an oak floor, saturated in a black stain, achieving a truly stunning effect. The dark stain has transformed the grain in the oak to a mellowed gray, not unlike the muzzle of a wise, old Labrador.
The white walls provide the perfect backdrop to display the family’s significant art collection, yet the ease that exudes throughout the living space underlines the casual, barefoot lifestyle Locas has wistfully and successfully created for his family.
“Throughout my adult life,” he says, “memories of our family and the years spent in New England were always somewhere in my consciousness. But it wasn’t until our family started to grow up a bit that the memories moved to the front of my mind. This house has become that image I wanted, as well as a place where we could create new memories.”
Designer statement: Harvest of Barnstable
Our “Tree Farm” designs were inspired by memories of when we went as a family to the local tree farm to pick out that special holiday tree and fresh holiday greens to adorn our homes. Personally, I love our tree farm theme—when I developed this concept it truly brought back memories of my own father putting our Christmas tree on the roof of our car, after walking down rows of trees that smelled so delightful until the perfect one presented itself. I can still remember it as if it was yesterday.
—Pamela Parker, owner, Harvest of Barnstable, Yarmouth Port and Falmouth
These holiday designs and many more are locally made and fill both Harvest of Barnstable stores located on the Cape. Designs were created by in-house designer Ellen Marie Gillis of Harvest of Barnstable, Yarmouth Port. Custom design services are available. Harvest of Barnstable, 89 Willow Street, Yarmouth Port, 508-362-4595, and 261 Main Street, Falmouth, 508-444-6668 • harvestofbarnstable.com.
Designer statement: Pottery Barn
Working at Pottery Barn for the better part of a decade has allowed me to pursue my passion for design. My taste leans to the minimal side, and it is important to make sure that you work with a designer who excels at the style you prefer. In my approach, which I would call relaxed sophisticated elegance, sometimes it is just one or two pieces that will set the tone of the project. The wonderful thing about Pottery Barn is the one-stop approach. We can provide solutions in all areas of the home as well as outdoor spaces. And our product lines change every year, but still relate to things you may have purchased previously, so if you like what you already have, you can update and keep it fresh and new. For this project, it was about the farmhouse simplicity and the white backdrop that allows the seasonal colors to pop. These spaces celebrate the joy of being with family and friends during the holidays, and allow everyone to feel right at home. —Laureen Marks, designer, Pottery Barn, Mashpee
The homeowners are avid art collectors and have chosen a painting by Elsha Leventis to grace their mantle. Her work is available at in2artgallery.com
Paine’s Patio in Bourne generously supplied two of their beautiful adirondack chairs and a bronze fire pit to create our cozy scene outside the barn.
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