Some dreams-come-true start out small. For the homeowner of this breathtaking family compound, with a view of Cape Cod Bay, her wish had the innocence of a fairy tale. “I wanted to be able to see my grandchildren come down the stairs sleepy-eyed in the morning,” she says. From there, the dream grew. Now she not only looks forward to those precious moments, but also shares in all the youngsters’ delights: taking a dip in the pool or the ocean, a set or two of tennis, or just plucking blueberries from their dozens of bushes.
DESIGN & BUILD BY Hutker Architects, Inc.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Horiuchi & Solien
PHOTOGRAPHYED BY Brian Vandenbrink
“This was designed to be a sanctuary,” continues the homeowner. “When we’re here, we hardly ever leave.” Why would they? With outdoor activities aplenty and a spacious main house designed for both privacy and togetherness, the eight-acre property provides ample reasons for family members to retreat often here from their urban homes.
Working with the design team of Mark Hutker, Charles Orr, and David Johnson, of Hutker Architects, the adults in this extended family of 14 set out to realize a vision that the homeowner and her late husband had dreamed of since the early days of their 37-year marriage. When their children were young, the Boston-based couple would take summer vacations on Martha’s Vineyard which eventually led to several years of looking for just the right piece of property to build on. They found what they were looking for on one of the highest elevations in Marstons Mills. “We fell in love with the land,” says the homeowner of the heavily wooded waterfront tract that reminds her of New Hampshire. At the entrance to the property, there isn’t the slightest hint of the dramatic, ocean-view climax to come.
“As you go up the driveway, anticipation builds in a quiet natural, relaxing way,” says landscape architect Dan Solien of Horiuchi & Solien. On either side of the meandering crushed-stone driveway, existing woodland was preserved. “As you round the bend, foliage screens the house and opens up just a bit for a peek at the bay,” says Solien. Flanking the main house is a pool house perched at the edge of an infinity pool and a carriage house with guest quarters.
The architecture of these hilltop buildings echoes and elaborates on the tone set by a small tennis house down below. Its rooflines and detailing foreshadow the traditional Cape-style main house, which has white cedar shingle walls and a red cedar shingle roof. “The family wanted the house to feel like it was part of the Cape,” explains architect Charles Orr. Thanks to the size of the plot and the woodland palate Solien has chosen, a settled-in effect has indeed been achieved.
The 9,000-square-foot house is organized into four bedroom suites situated on the periphery of the main public spaces. “Each family unit has its own intimacy, its own autonomy,” Orr points out.
Covered outdoor space, in part for reading in the rain, was high on the client’s wish list. Throughout the property there are features designed for downtime, like a custom bench swing on pivots that was a gift to the family from the architects. The porch’s multiple exposures, for cross-ventilation, create the sensation of being outside. And one of two outdoor showers is “a riff on a conch shell in plan and elevation,” says Orr.
As the family continues to grow, the beauty of this home comes into ever-increasing focus. There’s a mezzanine full of books to read, a secret-entrance playroom, plant-filled patios, an exercise room and a poolside Jacuzzi. When asked to pick her favorite spot, the homeowner simply replied, “It’s impossible to pick a favorite, there are so many of them.”