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Worth Its Salt

This bayside retreat is small in size, but big in casual style and ingenious comfort.

Photo by: Brian Vanden Brink

Not only is the site salt-sprayed, it is also located in a flood zone, which meant that the new structure needed to be built 12 feet off the ground. Raising the living spaces on pilings, like a multi-dimensional houseboat, satisfied zoning regulations, but left the challenge of what to do with the large space underneath. In one of many clever uses of space—the cottage is a tight 1100 square feet—McNeill designed a pavilion for the area under the home.

In sunny weather, the walls are opened, exposing 75 percent of the space to the views. If a party of guests arrives, a table can be rolled out from the garage, and the pavilion becomes the setting for a relaxed evening of al fresco dining. If bad weather looms, the outdoor furniture is gathered and stowed, and the slatted doors are snugly closed.

This bayside retreat is small in size, but big in casual style and ingenious comfort.

Photo by: Brian Vanden Brink

Protecting the homeowner’s privacy posed another challenge for Orr and McNeill when designing the home, as neighboring properties hover close by next door and to the rear of the property, but with the possibility of panoramic views—rocky coastline, sandy shore, sailboats gliding past to the Cape Cod Canal, fishermen on the jetty, a lighthouse, sunsets that go on to infinity—it was imperative to have lots of windows. The solution was to tuck the private spaces—the master bedroom and two guest rooms—towards the back of the house and to extend and expose the public areas—kitchen, dining, and living room—to the full view. The effect, McNeill says, is like being on a boat. “It’s amazing because it’s like being on the bow, or the bridge of a ship. You can only see water—you cannot see the land below.”

This bayside retreat is small in size, but big in casual style and ingenious comfort.

Photo by: Brian Vanden Brink



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