Second Chance

Cape Cod Home  /  Autumn 2022 /

Writer: Julie Craven Wagner / Photographer: Mike Crane 

When lucky homeowners get the chance to buy the property next door, it only took one call to their builder for a do-over.

The sweeping sand dunes in East Dennis conjure up images of how the Cape landscape might have appeared when it was little more than a British colonial outpost. The intriguing and curious names that define the fingers and estuaries undulating across the panorama are rooted in a 400-year-old vernacular and now denote neighborhoods and destinations. Quivet Neck, Sesuit Creek, and Crowes Pasture are all monikers that connect the rich past to a vibrant present as they have provided a backdrop for families and memorable moments over the centuries.

Nestled into one of those dunes, overlooking Cape Cod Bay’s ever-changing tableau of greens, blues, and grays studded by whitecaps and sun-dancing diamonds, a couple has been fortunate to build their dream home, not just once, but twice. The homeowner explains how she and her husband happened to refine a dream into something that is as close to perfect as they could ever expect. “We built a vacation home next door, and we were lucky that we chose the right builder, REEF Builders,” she recalls. “But as the years clicked by, and as much as we loved our home, we were aware that our growing family might be getting bigger than our home. So, when our neighbors decided to put their home on the market, we understood it was a perfect opportunity to expand our options for our family, as well as expanding the beautiful view we had come to love. We called Matt Teague at REEF and asked him to reassemble the team. We wanted to do it all again.”

The first experience with REEF Builders, Cape Cod Home Builder,™ was successful enough for the project to be featured on the cover of Cape Cod HOME in 2014. “This project was different, only in that we had a lot more freedom to take the things we had already been successful with in their first home, and make them even better,” Matt Teague, president of REEF explains. “Together with my partner Jim Hagerty who handles the design of our projects, we were able to create a program that had few limitations. The site allowed for a larger footprint, so we were able to add a detached garage with additional living quarters above, more expansive landscaping and the view is largely unobstructed, so the views from everywhere in the home are maximized.”

The view Teague mentions is not a 180º of a straight line over water, but rather includes marsh-like moors in the foreground, rolling dunes with paths cut through swathes of beach grass and iconic shingle-style homes that spill forth with the kinds of quintessential summer activities that find their way into fine art paintings—here though, this masterpiece is alive. The story unfolding within this home is also imbued with plenty of life and gusto. “This is one of my favorite places to be,” the homeowner confesses. She and her husband raised their family in Connecticut and now have the time to spend most of their summer in Dennis as well as plenty of weekends throughout the shoulder season. 

“We love to entertain here, we both have big families, and whether it is our kids, our extended family or our friends, everyone is just happy when they are here so it always feels special.”

The home’s open kitchen, dining and living spaces make sure everyone is part of the action. The homeowner loves to cook, but she also appreciates the finer aesthetics of her surroundings. A massive island topped with a sophisticated dove white quartz with a remarkably interesting grain detail, provides enough space for everyone to roll up their sleeves to help, or just perch and enjoy some wine and the endless view. The kitchen designer, Bob Gluskin, principal of Atlantic Kitchen and Bath in Pembroke, a regular contributor to REEF’s projects, echoes the sentiment that this was a dream project. “Working with Matt is always a wonderful experience, not only because his hard work and vision minimizes complications, but when challenges that require solutions do inevitably arise, he quickly and clearly responds to the situation without any additional stress,” Gluskin confirms. “But really it is the homeowners who made this project one to remember. They knew what they wanted, they have great taste, and they are always pleasant and grateful to work with. If they want to do a third home, they can definitely count my team in!” The homeowner’s unique style is evident in her request to the tile contractor to include vertical brass spacers between the Carrara marble subway tile in the counter-to-ceiling backsplash. Sleek Jenn-Air appliances serve as the workhorses for this bona fide cook. 

A Dutch door leads from the kitchen to a three-season porch, making a perfect, quiet spot to curl up with a book after the beach, while still enjoying the water views just beyond.

Not only does she enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, but her inquisitive nature has served her well in sourcing most of the fixtures and fine details found throughout the home. “I am dogged when it comes to finding exactly what I want, and these days on the internet it is so much fun,” says the homeowner, who did not enlist the help of an interior designer on this project. Drawer pulls, lighting fixtures, wallpaper, furniture, carpets and artwork; at every turn there are distinctive items of interest, and most have a good-natured story the homeowner is eager to share.

Second chances in life are rare, so are perfect waterview homes. With the help of REEF Builders and their team of contractors working to create a successful building experience, these lucky homeowners were fortunate enough to create their dream, twice. 

Julie Craven Wagner is the editor of Cape Cod HOME.

Julie Craven Wagner

Julie Craven Wagner began her experience with Cape Cod Life in 2010 when she joined the sales team after 10 years of working with local businesses on the Cape and Islands with WMVY. In addition to sales, she is the Associate Publisher/Editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. Growing up on the Outer Cape has given her a unique perspective of life on Cape Cod, from tip to bridge, and that is reflected in her appreciation and presentation of stories found within the pages of our publications. Julie lives in North Falmouth with her husband, Eric, and their yellow lab, Enzo. When she finds free time, she enjoys her Cape Cod life sailing on Buzzards Bay, spending time on the beach in Wellfleet, or exploring Martha’s Vineyard.