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Polhemus Savery DaSilva revamps iconic Chatham home

Tides of Change, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home |

View from the water side of Riptide. Family and friends can enjoy the picturesque scenery overlooking Chatham Harbor from the patio. Photo by Brian Vanden Brink

Whimsical is the perfect way to describe many PSD homes, and the firm’s sense of whimsy is apparent upon pulling up to Riptide. The “fanciful” new mailbox stand announces the home from the street, DaSilva says, and features an abstracted classical urn design that serves as a backboard. A commanding “Riptide” quarterboard, designed by the Chatham Sign Shop and displayed on the street side of the house, also makes the home’s presence known.

For this project, establishing an entry sequence was a must. Working with landscape architect Clara Batchelor of CBA Landscape Architects in Cambridge, DaSilva says a portion of the driveway the home shared with a neighboring house was eliminated, thus creating a defined pathway complete with a low stone wall and white picket fence. Batchelor also removed overgrown bushes that once hid the house from view. DaSilva says his team replaced the railing of the “rickety” old widow’s walk with a more substantial balustrade, which echoes the same urn shape found in the mailbox backboard. This design is also incorporated into a child’s gate atop a steep indoor stairway as well as the new arbor in the yard.

“The house is unusual in that the back door (the mudroom door) faces the street,” DaSilva says, “and there was previously an arbor that announced the path from the driveway to the mudroom door.” PSD replaced this arbor with a new one that creates an entrance to a path leading to the gridded glass front door, which faces the south side of the house and was previously difficult for first-time visitors to locate. The team restored the glass door and removed the solid-wood storm door that had closed it off. Inspired by the fan light design seen above the front door, DaSilva created an abstracted fan light pattern atop the arbor, adding playful emphasis to its classical design.

Just beyond the arbor is a seven-foot, white marble whale’s tale sculpture, fashioned by Brewster artist Tim Dibble. “From the beginning, John felt we should have a piece of sculpture outside of the main entrance, and that made sense to us,” Bonnie says. “Seeing the whale’s tale among the daisies in bloom with the water in the background is lovely.”

Inside, the home’s pre-existing dark and brown-stained interior was not only deprived of light and water views—it also lacked functionality. Daily living spaces faced the street side of the home, and the only access from the water side to the street side of the house was through either a butler’s pantry or a narrow door hidden in paneling. “There is all this spectacular water view, but the kitchen, daily dining and family room spaces weren’t located to take advantage of any of that view,” DaSilva says, “so the floor plan really needed to be rearranged in order to get the daily living spaces on the water side of the house.”

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