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Changing Yellow Blue

The Yellow House project was already in full-swing when Mayfield joined the team in November of 2018. Richard Curl and Courtney Driver of Curl Simitis Architecture + Design, of Melrose MA, had been working with the owners and the building team of Steve Mellor Building and Remodeling out of Hyannis for most of the year already. Driver had been part of the initial design team, working through design choices that were made in the earliest stages. As the owners confronted decor choices, Mayfield was instrumental in putting the frosting on the fully baked cake. The owner recalls, “When Nina came on, we were visiting our children and working with her from the West Coast, we were completely dependent upon her organizational skills, judgment about resources and folks to work with. Without Nina, we would not have met our deadline (for tenants to move in on June 1, 2019) with such beautiful results.” In keeping with the project’s theme of marrying the past with the future, Mayfield combined her own experience with the home, the understanding of the site’s potential, and the needs of a summer rental property with a forward-thinking enthusiasm and efficiency necessary to wrap things up on time. 

Structurally, Curl, Driver and Mellor had already been working on a number of facets of the rebuild before Mayfield’s arrival. First, the team wanted to maximize the views and capitalize upon the home’s location. In this respect, the most dramatic renovation took place with the living room and porch spaces. Curl explains, “We discovered some of the original porch posts and extended the family room out to the water side; it felt as if it could have been there. This helped us build for the contemporary lifestyle but with a feel of the old, early intentions of the home.” Likewise, the team worked hard to reuse original building materials. “Various types of beadboard pre-existed throughout the home,” says Mayfield, “so they were creative about salvaging and repurposing as much as they could.” Additionally, they stripped the paint from the upstairs floor to reveal heart pine and its natural variation of honey coloring punctuated by knots of a rich, dark maple syrup hue. Based on this discovery, the team installed new growth heart pine throughout the first floor, as well. Later, Mayfield chose a number of pieces throughout the home that mesh with the color scheme of the wood. Natural elements such as sisal rugs, carved wood, rope, and rattan feature prominently throughout the home and act to ground spaces with these earthy tones. The sensation of walking barefoot throughout the house almost mimics a walk on the beach with the contrast of the cool of the pine and the warmer “sands” of the rugs. “One of the owners’ goals was to create a house that would be fun and summery without being too typically nautical or coastal,” says Mayfield. “We wanted to avoid the anchors and seashells; you can evoke the feelings of a Cape House without those familiar elements.”

While the building team opened the home to the view, Mayfield brought the colors of Hyannis Port’s seascape into the home, and drew heavily upon the work of local artists. Sam Barber’s vintage landscapes hang in the living room and in the master bedroom, Wellesley ceramicist Elena Boiardi’s signature Shagreen patterned pieces are featured throughout the home. Mayfield says, “Much of the color template is derived from Liz Roache’s print of the West Beach Club,” which features prominently in the downstairs sitting room, primarily used by the children for watching television or connecting with friends. Roache’s piece epitomizes the joy of summer in the village in at least a dozen shades of blue. These reappear in Driver’s choice of the kitchen’s glass subway tile backsplash, which resemble miniature bricks of water, in the paint of the kitchen’s island, on the beadboard paneling in the bedrooms and in the dining room, in Mayfield’s choice of intriguing fabrics on the upstairs daybed nook, and on the pillows of nearly every sofa. The variation of patterns and prints echoes the kaleidoscopic facets of the sky and the sea itself. “I really wanted the colors to pop,” says Mayfield, “and to provide playful, unexpected elements throughout the house.”

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