Old House, New Hub

Cape Cod Home  /  Early Summer 2023 /

Writer: Hannah Kunze

A3 Architects and LaBarge Homes team up to give homeowners modern sensibility for their historic home. For centuries, this historic home near downtown Chatham has observed passersby scuttle back and forth from the beach to the town and back again from its strategic position abutting the roadside. Like immense six-paned eyes, its windows have watched generations of bubbly infants grow into observant parents and loving grandparents. They have witnessed clothing styles shift from the colonial era’s heavy dresses to the floral bikinis and flip flops of the modern day. They have watched, perpetually wide-eyed and unblinking, as technology has developed and horses were replaced with automobiles, ink and parchment with sleek computers. But most importantly, its windows and walls have provided a sturdy and reliable home to generations of inhabitants. As the saying goes, if walls could speak, these ones could write a novel.  As the home has watched others grow, it too has experienced the effect of passing time. Though it has remained structurally sound over the years, changing stylistic tastes and the needs of contemporary inhabitants have rendered certain features defunct.  After several hundred years, the kitchen in particular was no longer able to meet the current family’s needs. It was dark, with small windows that did not let much sunlight in, and too small to host friends and relatives. When Alison Alessi of A3 Architects was called in to design a new kitchen space, she immediately noticed that the original room was disharmonious with the landscape. “The kitchen walls face south, east, and west,” she says. “There was so much light to take advantage of, but no windows to do it.”  The abundance of sunlight comes from the home’s uncommonly spacious backyard. Given its downtown location, the large yard is a surprising but welcome feature that largely…

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