Set in Stone
Waterfront building space on the Cape is limited, with scores of new construction projects replacing dilapidated summer homes and beach shanties. “We’re not building houses on expansive lots. We’re building them where there used to be little beach houses,” adds Kimball. The zoning and environmental considerations, he explains, were the crucial components that civil engineers, architects, builders, and most other contractors took into account when designing this new structure. Architect Stephen Hart of Hart Associates in Belmont agrees, adding that the biggest challenge was fitting all of the pieces of the project—the house, the pool, the hardscaping—on a finite footprint while abiding by all the regulations. Though a guesthouse and not the primary residence on the property, careful attention was paid to the details throughout the project.
Hart says that although the shingle-style home is about 4,000 square feet, he’d consider it a “fairly compact three-bedroom house.” Hart redesigned the main residence on the property just over four years ago, taking an existing domicile and giving it a “drastic renovation.” It was the launching point when the homeowners commissioned him to devise the vision for the guest home more recently. “They’re supposed to look like cousins, if not sisters,” he describes.
Compact, top-grade materials became—quite literally—the cornerstone of the project. Kimball says locally quarried granite from Quincy and Weymouth (with some from New York State) was chosen for all of the exterior stonework, which he and Hart sourced and Boley was tasked with crafting. Each stone, brick, tile, slab of granite, and mass of marble Boley uses was hand chosen, chiseled, shaved, fitted, and embedded into the structure. Each stone took roughly 15 to 20 minutes to shape. “I try to make my work look dry-stacked, like there’s no cement or mortar,” Boley says. To attain that appearance, the exposed mortar is raked out about one to two inches deep. The methods in which the stones are placed are also telltale signs of good masonry. In a wall, stones smaller than the size of a fist are a red flag, he warns: smaller pieces are generally used to fill in the gaps that shouldn’t be that large in the first place. “A nice wall has the same ratio of big to small stones all the way from the bottom to the top,” Boley adds.
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