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When Past Shapes Present

The dogwood tree—the site of an occasional family pig roast on summer days—was one untouchable sacred cow, recounts Mark Hutker, speaking of a home he and Gregory Ehrman, a senior associate at Hutker Architects, designed in the upscale Bourne community of Scraggy Neck.

Photography by Dan Cutrona

The dogwood survived the construction process, and the sweet spot for the views was converted into a new deck and a three-season sunroom. Roger had wanted a screened porch where the sunroom sits, but a visit to the site on a windy day during the design process convinced Andrea that the strong breezes that regularly blow would make such a porch impractical. Sliding doors on three sides satisfied both, and if the northern winds are particularly fierce, a granite fireplace keeps the cold at bay.

Andrea’s practical side again showed its value during discussions about the number and location of solar panels. Her idea of using time-lapse photography to track the sun provided the justification needed for more panels than recommended. Not only do the panels qualify for a tax credit, they generate more than five megawatts of energy per year. An engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (in fact he works in the same building where his mother worked during World War II), Roger was interested in the technicalities of the solar panels as well as details of the insulation and hurricane-proof windows.

For her part, Andrea, a retired nurse, wanted to make sure her children had their own rooms, wanted a room for the grandchildren, another room for guests, and a master suite that gave her and Roger their privacy. To satisfy those needs, Hutker and Ehrman designed a suite of guest bedrooms that cluster on one side of the upper story while still providing privacy.

One that does this particularly well is the room designed for Sarah, one of the Stokey’s daughters, who, when not visiting the Cape, lives in Alaska. Hutker says Sarah needs her “away” space even in her parents’ home. Like her father, though, she cherishes her deep ties to the past and has hanging in her room two paintings that once belonged to her grandmother. From Andrea and Roger’s suite, the couple enjoys panoramic views, thanks to windows that wrap around on three sides, including an uninterrupted picture window directly in front of the foot of their bed.

While private space is sacrosanct upstairs, there is an inviting yet intimate two-story library. A gentle push on one set of bookshelves leads to Roger’s secret music room. Though he no longer plays in a band, he has been known to pull out his guitar during the pig roasts, and as Hutker says, that is when the party really begins.

A floating staircase leads to these upstairs spaces, but unlike the original centered staircase, this new streamlined version starts up from the side of the entrance and looks as if it is supporting itself. Ehrman says, “We wanted the support to be as light as possible. It is safe, comfortable, and beautiful.” The waterfall design features risers and treads of the same wire-brushed white oak found on the flooring throughout the house.

Ralph Cataldo of Cataldo Custom Builders in East Falmouth says the staircase was a unique construction challenge for his company’s crew. “There was a lot involved with this staircase because it went up three levels and the design was complicated,” says Cataldo, noting that in such a project the teamwork between architectural and construction professionals is critical.

“With a beautiful house like this, you have so many opportunities to make the house better along the way—especially when you have talented professionals sharing ideas,” says Cataldo. “Working with really respected architects­­—like those from Hutker—the ideas just start flowing, and the house gets more and more unique and therefore, more valuable for the homeowner in every way.”

At the top of the stairs, a bright atrium affords views of the front gardens, the sky, the Kris Horiuchi-designed landscape, and the water views beyond. This atrium serves as a bridge between the guestroom half of the house and the master suite. When everyone wants to come together to watch the spectacular sunsets, a roof deck off the atrium offers an elevated vantage point of the western sky.

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