Osterville Captain’s Compound
Where the front door of the original home resembled a service entrance, a new gabled portico creates a welcoming grandeur and helps to establish, in Ahearn’s words, “the sense of implied symmetry.” The original shape of the house provided “cues” that he used to reinforce this impression. For example, the new wing, he says, “replicates the gambrel” of the pre-existing one. Windows were updated, expanded and framed with black shutters.
Continuing to focus on the overall symmetry of the compound, Ahearn and Jaxtimer constructed a new carriage house that, freestanding diagonally opposite the boathouse, occupies the left side of the motor court. The upstairs floor of the carriage house is a two-bedroom family suite with a breakfast area and kitchenette. Downstairs contains three large garages along with a smaller one. On the ground floor, the right side of the building encloses a wet bar behind barn doors that open poolside. Two outdoor showers set behind the carriage house provide privacy.
One of Ahearn’s goals for the renovation of Captain’s Compound was to transform the dwelling from an indoor-oriented home to one that would take full advantage of its beachfront setting. The flow from carriage house to pool area is just one example of this metamorphosis. Builder Jonathan Jaxtimer notes that the patio surrounding the swimming pool is constructed of reclaimed brick, imbuing an antique quality. Thematically it also connects the left side of the exterior with the back, as the brickwork continues into a screened porch in the corner with an outdoor fireplace.
“It’s basically a new house,” says Jaxtimer. “We had to raise the original one up to build a foundation, then finish the basement, and create outdoor living areas.” The team removed the sliding aluminum doors that were out of character with the historical nature of a home originally built in the 1890s and introduced chimneys that, Ahearn says, “express vertically to give more stature.” Nearly every downstairs room now accesses the back porch, which brings the outdoors inside.
In something of a thematic mirror, the beach side of Captain’s Compound begins with a field of native seagrass. Though carefully planted and maintained, the area looks natural, as does the landscaped woodland of the driveway. When the sun sets, especially in the offseason, the grasses turn gold, undulating in the breeze. Adjacent to the field stands the beach house, or “beach folly,” which Ahearn designed “to mimic a miniature version of the main home.” It also fits as a kind of reflection of the boathouse, since each marks an entrance to the compound. Unlike the implied symmetry of the front, however, “the rear of the house really does express in a new symmetrical way,” Ahearn notes.
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