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The Cottage on the Cape

It is “This Old House’s” first time on Cape Cod for the 2020 Idea House, featuring quite the forward-thinking floor plan

Since 1979, “This Old House” has been influencing the world of home improvement through their ground-breaking television program where they share tips and tricks while renovating challenging, yet charming, historic homes. As the first series of its kind, “This Old House” sparked the general public’s interest in the inner workings of home building and design. In 2015, continuing to inspire creative thinking, the franchise launched  the  Idea House to showcase innovative building practices and products through an annual new home build. From New Canaan, Connecticut to Narragansett, Rhode Island, each Idea House has pushed the envelope with fresh practices and styles. This year, the program finds itself in Eastham for a contemporary build in a town that embraces new, affordable options.

At the turn of the new decade, the “This Old House” team envisioned a small, functional space for the next Idea House. The 2017 Cape Cod Young Professionals House Design Contest winner was the perfect fit. The contest called for accessible housing plans for young families on Cape Cod. One of the winners, Providence’s Union Studio Architecture & Community Design’s “Side Hustle House,” proposed a resourceful plan that provided space for additional income within the home. Matt Cole, President & CEO of Cape Associates in Eastham, stepped in as the builder, “This Old House” came along in the fall of 2019, and the project took off. 

“Our whole mantra at “This Old House” is, ‘Build your dream. Do it right.’ And, that is what we try to convey through our Idea Houses. We look for top-notch builders, architects and partners in these homes. We have had such amazing responses from so many manufacturers, retailers, and showrooms who are participating in this project. This specific home has really been a hit; it just seems to have resonated because the story line is so interesting,” Claudia Jepsen, Vice President of Marketing at This Old House, says. 

“The Cottage on the Cape” provides two income generating opportunities. First, the Accessory Dwelling Unit off of the back of the home can function as a separate rental space. Second, the garage will serve as a creative studio space. Such conveniences modernize the home, amplifying square footage with purposeful amenities. “The home accomplishes the idea of a flexible design. Calling out the need for an in-law apartment is a huge aspect,” Andrea Baerenwald, Director of Marketing at Cape Associates, says. 

On the exterior, classic Cape Cod style is given a modern twist. Atlantic blue shingles and black windows add a modern touch while upholding the traditional look. “I think the look and feel of the design speaks to New England. All of the materials take into consideration the Cape Cod climate, like the harsh salty air and frequent winds,” Baerenwald adds. The tight building envelope furthers the home’s affordability, with a focus on insulation and product choices, like triple-paned windows. Indoors, the comfortable floor plan is in sync with the exterior’s aesthetic.

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