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Serenity Now

Resting along Nantucket Sound in West Yarmouth, this coastal getaway is the epitome of relaxation, with every corner inviting you to stay awhile and let out a deep breath.

A home on the ocean is a vision of easy living, wandering between indoors and out with the water as your daily muse. While the beach provides one facet of relaxation, the home’s interior should take the shape of your ultimate retreat. This home along Nantucket Sound is the epitome of a coastal getaway, with its style reflective of the seascape just steps away. Upon witnessing the panoramic views inside, a rush of calmness overcomes guests, just as homeowners Jeff and Nancy Robinson desired. Taking advantage of its coveted position in the dunes, ERT Architects, MJ Nardone Building & Remodeling, and Pastiche of Cape Cod designed the new build to such a level of perfection, one would never know the initial restrictions in play. 

After purchasing the lot in West Yarmouth, the Robinsons contacted Erik Tolley, Architect and Principal of ERT Architects, to design their dream home on the Cape. The family had vacationed in the Yarmouth area for years and wanted their own retreat for the warmer months. “The dream was to capture the essence of the Cape with an open floor plan and as much glass in the back of the home as possible. We now have views of the ocean from every room,” Jeff notes.

While the lot was picture-perfect, the list of regulations for the new build proved a challenge. Thankfully, Tolley is no stranger to such challenges. “The homeowners purchased the lot knowing it was a tear down. It ended up being in a velocity flood zone, so that mandated the construction of the new house on piers, a type of flood-proof foundation required for velocity zones. A velocity zone is the strictest type of flood zone because it is closest to the water. The structure of the building has to allow water to flow through or underneath it in the event of a storm. This was one of the nuances of the project. It’s not unusual with these waterfront homes, but it does add another level of complexity to the regulatory approval and the construction process.” 

This was just one box to check in the early design stages. The new build was also restricted to a similar footprint as the existing single-story ranch; because the ranch had three bedrooms, the new home was regulated to the same bedroom count. “To be limited to this modest footprint, the challenge for me as an architect becomes how to design a house that is worthy of this site. We fit everything they wanted, in terms of stories and amenities, within a very low profile,” Tolley adds. With Yarmouth’s height restriction at 35 feet, and the home lifted seven feet above the ground, there was a 28-foot window to work within. The new home became two and a half stories, with the third-floor loft serving as a kids’ space. 

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