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Storybook Ending

The work was not easy. “Steep” does not begin to describe the descent from the main road down to the house. Bringing in the equipment to dig out a full foundation to support the kitchen addition was an engineering feat in itself. Also, Rick says, because the home sits on conservation land by the water, “we had to pull permits months and months in advance. We had to go before the Conservation Commission a lot.” It took the better part of a year for the Andersons just to get permission from the town to remove a telephone pole that proved an aesthetic eyesore once they put the telephone and electricity lines underground. 

Inside, Donna Elle worked her design magic by creating specs for a beautifully appointed kitchen that comfortably fits an island and allows not just for plenty of elbow room and prep space but also for flow. For finishes, she chose bark-colored Shaker cabinetry that anchors quartzite countertops with a leathered, non-glossy patina. “I wanted a countertop that was more textural, more gritty, more earthy than some of what you might see,” Donna Elle comments. “It says ‘Lake.’” 

“It was very important that all the textures, finishes, and colors go with out there,” Donna Elle says, pointing to the greenery and the 125-acre pond. That’s why she didn’t go with white, which is often the default choice for kitchens right now.

She complemented the kitchen colors and feel with living room walls painted in Marilyn’s Dress, a soft blue-grey produced by Benjamin Moore. And she gently contrasted the room’s cottage-y matchboard ceiling and ceiling beams in Benjamin Moore White Dove. White was her choice as well for the brick on the fireplaced living room wall at the opposite end of the main living area from the kitchen. In its original, very dark brown iteration, “it had been giving off a dingy vibe,” she says. 

Donna Elle replaced a pre-fabricated shower in the main floor en suite with a glassed-in oasis that has a mosaic tile floor.

Above the fireplace, Donna Elle designed a hollowed-out mantel that hides the wires leading to the television, painting it a soft grey to offset it a little from the wall. And a new firebox surround installed by the Andersons syncs, both dimension-wise and design-wise, with the flatscreen TV above. “All together it updates the look,” Donna Elle says.

Outside the living room, the Andersons built a new deck that overlooks the pond. And they replaced two sets of sliders leading to it with French doors and huge side windows, enhancing the view toward the water and the surrounding greenery while also giving the home a much warmer feel. 

The budget was reined in by saving all the home’s oak floors. The original plan was to rip them out and start anew, but the Andersons were able to salvage them, in part by surgically removing rot and refashioning some of the dark oak borders. Where the new kitchen meets the main room, a strip of that same dark oak marks the delineation, helping to make the entire added space look as if it had always been there.

The Andersons snuck in a closet next to the staircase in the entry hall, too. Before, you could see straight through to the powder room leading from the living room to the first floor’s main bedroom.

In the main bedroom itself, they reconfigured a walk-in closet to allow much more room for clothing and other items and turned the regular closet door into a pocket door to save space. They also transformed a hall closet into a much needed linen closet in the en suite that now opens from the other side. These small changes add both efficiency and livability.

Donna Elle dolled up the en suite bathroom by swapping out an unattractive pre-fabricated shower for a glassed-in oasis with a mosaic tile floor. For bathroom fittings, she chose satin nickel from Snow & Jones in South Yarmouth

Upstairs, Donna Elle chose a bathroom vanity base in an arresting navy blue, topping it with quartz from Cape Cod Counterworks in Mashpee that has bits of blue inspired by sea glass.  

In the basement, the bulk of which comprises a large, open family room space, an original stone fireplace anchors one wall, except now it is graced with a mantel salvaged from a home built by the original owner of the Sandwich Glass Factory. The downstairs bath, destroyed by the tenants, has been refurbished, while across the hall a ballet room for the owner’s daughter now has newly lengthened windows, making it more pleasant for the teenager to practice her pliés. Donna Elle had the room painted in Benjamin Moore’s Antique Pearl.

Rhododendrons below the garage makes the entryway even more magical in spring. At Christmastime, white lights strung along the banister and around the arch enhance the fairytale effect.

The owner did not go crazy with new furnishings, choosing instead to hold on to such heirlooms as her grandmother’s bedroom set for her own room. Pieces the owner did buy were mostly for the living room. Working with Denise Belair of Bassett Home Furnishings in Chestnut Hill, she chose a blue and silvery Alastar rug, and everything else riffed off of that.

All told, the project took two years from start to finish, as long in the planning as in the building. But it was worth the wait, the owner says.

The water access is definitely part of it. “We have two kayaks, my daughter has a paddle board, and we all enjoy swimming as a family,” the owner comments. “And we have lots of friends over to enjoy the water.” 

But it was more than just the pond. “I can’t say it enough that Donna, Rick and Caleb took my vision and my dreams and made them a reality,” she enthuses. “I wanted this sweet little home, and they made it happen. It feels just like living in a storybook.”

Larry Lindner is a contributing writer for Cape Cod Life Publications.

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