Waquoit Bay is a tidal bay on the south shore of Cape Cod that’s known for its beaches and wildlife as well as kayaking and camping opportunities. For those in the know, it is also perfect for kiteboarding—its predominance of shallow water and strong southwesterly breezes are key for boarders looking to maximize speed on long back-and-forth passes without hitting too much deep water.
Location, location, location
And this is exactly what drew Thomas J. O’Neill’s clients to Mashpee’s Monomoscoy Island. Flanked by two tidal rivers, the narrow Monomoscoy peninsula reaches southwest towards Waquoit Bay and is the perfect access point for two entrepreneurial engineers who double as avid kiteboarders. “I was aware of this particularly beautiful site on the tip of Monomoscoy,” says O’Neill. “The two-and-a-quarter-acre lot was on the market and, having successfully built four homes on the island already, the clients trusted me to maximize the site’s potential.”
Now in its 20th year, the firm of Thomas J. O’Neill Inc. specializes in design/build projects as well as major renovations. “We handle every project stage, from permitting to landscape design to finished interiors. Many of our clients are extremely busy and want a lot of service—we take care of everything for them under one roof,” he explains. Since these homeowners have young children, run their own business and often travel to Indonesia, they were particularly drawn to O’Neill’s ability to communicate with them efficiently and produce a cohesive finished product based on their vision.
In keeping with the region’s architectural traditions, O’Neill designed a gracious Nantucket-style gambrel, whose indoor and outdoor spaces take full advantage of the property’s breathtaking views. Washburn Island, South Cape Beach, Great River and even Martha’s Vineyard in the distance provide an ever-changing backdrop of wildlife, marsh, water and beaches. O’Neill arranged the home’s two stories in a long rectangle that stretches towards the bay. A bluestone patio along the waterside is used for relaxing and grilling and boasts a salt-water hot tub.
Maximizing the view
The kitchen, living room and dining room are all open to one another; each space is privy to slightly unique views. Meals can be eaten informally in the expansive kitchen, where stainless-steel barstools line up in front of a large island. The cabinets were custom crafted by Thomas J. O’Neill carpenters to the architect’s specs and feature a flat inset panel design in lacquered white as well as leathered black granite countertops. A tumbled limestone backsplash provides a focal point among high-end appliances, including a wine cooler and double refrigerators.
There are five bedrooms total but the master suite faces the bay and boasts a private balcony, window seat and large walk-in closet with custom cabinetry. The master bath’s centerpiece is its BainUltra Jacuzzi—“It uses compressed air instead of water jets and is mounted underneath the marble surround,” notes O’Neill. Also on the second story is an office with his-and-her desks where the owners can work as needed.
Function and style meet
With two young boys and a new baby, the family knew that furnishings would have to stand up to the rigors of children as well as water and sand from outdoors. “We kept everything very maintenance-free without compromising aesthetics,” points out O’Neill. “Overall, the interiors communicate an updated classicism—it’s more modern but still has classic lines. And every furnishing was specially chosen to wear well,” he adds. The area rugs are all polypropylene sisal, essentially a finely spun plastic that feels like fiber. “They are virtually indestructible and easy to clean. You can use bleach and even power wash them,” says the architect.
Another convenience that was important to the owners was the ability to monitor their home’s systems remotely. All lighting, media, audio and security systems are controlled via radio transmitters, an advancement over the recent past’s more labor-intensive hard-wired smart homes. “This entire home can be controlled from anywhere with an iPhone,” says O’Neill. “For example, they can set the temperature of their hot tub before they arrive.”
But it’s the simpler things in life that first drew the owners to this natural setting and it’s what keeps them returning to Mashpee as often as possible. Whether it’s taking in views from the widow’s walk, grilling dinner, or spending an entire afternoon on the water, they fully enjoy each and every benefit of their seaside retreat.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dan Cutrona
Design & Build: Thomas J O’Neill
**As seen in Southern New England Home magazine’s 2012-2013 print edition.