A Cape Cod landscape contractor uses lessons he’s learned through his business to nail down the home of his dreams, inside and out.By Rob Duca | Photography by Cate Brown
As owner of Maffei Landscaping Contractors for 25 years, Bob Maffei understands the significance of long-range planning before he embarks on a major project. So when the time came to design and build his own home, he drew on years of experience to be sure there would not be any regrets down the road.
“The biggest mistake homeowners make is not spending time on design work,” he says. “When you can see a job all the way through before even beginning, you can come up with the right plan. I see people who get excited all the time about a project in their backyard, for example, and then I have to come back the next year and rip it all out because they didn’t take the time to think about what they would want in the future.”
Before hammering a single nail on his three-bedroom, four-bath 3,200-square-foot home in Mashpee, Maffei and his wife, Reyna, first researched housing websites for inspiration and then studied sketches and 3-D computer renderings of their prospective home, which allowed them to easily make changes to the design without cutting into their budget. “It doesn’t cost anything to tweak the design on paper, but people change things all the time in the middle of a project and that gets very expensive,” he says.
They also looked toward the future during the design process. Therefore, they installed plumbing inside the wall of the walk-in closet in their two-year-old son’s bedroom so that it can easily be converted into a bathroom at a later date. “We hope to have another child and if we have a girl we don’t want them fighting over the bathroom,” Maffei says. “Now it’s all there. If I’d done that later, it would cost thousands. If you think it out and plan it, you can save a lot of money.”
Maffei served as the general contractor on the two-year project and enlisted numerous Cape Cod professionals, including E.J. Jaxtimer Building for the project coordination, Fine Line Architectural Design for the 3-D renderings and sketch drawings, Main Street at Botellos Lumber for custom cabinets, Viola Associates for the 20-foot-by-40-foot heated saltwater pool, Theodore Record and Sons for the finish carpentry, Dave Manning Construction for the framing and Extreme Audio for the televisions, stereo sound system and security cameras.
He also relied heavily on his father, John Maffei, who has been a longtime Cape builder and owns High Bridge Construction. “My dad came up with many of the design ideas, including the man cave, the roof deck overlooking the pool and the portico over the front door,” Maffei says.
Maffei purchased the house, originally built in 2002, for its location. The back of the property is protected by acres of conservation land, assuring him a lifetime of privacy. But the interior was another matter. Much of the design made little sense, says Maffei. Walls separated the kitchen from the dining room and the front entry from the kitchen. There was even a bathroom off the living room. “I hated it,” he says.
The home now welcomes visitors from the moment they pull into the circular bluestone driveway. The front entry leads to a Greek column-framed archway and into a seating area with a window bench and table that are next to the expansive kitchen. To the left of the kitchen is the dining room, which flows seamlessly into a living room with a built-in 55-inch television flanked by built-in bookcases. Below the television are cabinets to store the equipment for the elaborate sound system that controls the 24 stereo speakers that are installed throughout the house, along with security cameras that monitor the exterior and interior of the property. The lighting, heat, air conditioning, locks and security cameras can also be operated from a smart phone.
The adjoining sunroom leads to a spacious backyard that includes a pool, fire pit, pergola and a patio built with Niagara blond granite stone. “We wanted to create an open floor plan where we can entertain our friends and family, but if the weather changes we could come right into the sunroom,” Maffei says. “And then we wanted a few little extras.”
Those bells and whistles include a basement gym with free weights, a treadmill and a hardwood floor for yoga; a room to house Maffei’s fishing and hunting equipment; and a man cave that is located above the three-car garage and features an 80-inch television alongside two smaller TVs, a leather couch, a wooden bar that seats five people, a built-in microwave, a beverage cooler and a sign that reads “What happens in the man cave stays in the man cave.”
There are 12 TVs in the house, including one in the master bath that can be seen from the glass-enclosed standing shower. “You can’t miss the ballgames,” laughs Maffei, who is an avid sports fan.
Of course, Maffei built his career in landscaping, so it’s hardly surprising that he created an outside oasis that can be enjoyed throughout the year. A perennial garden featuring peonies and begonias keeps the landscape awash in vibrant seasonal colors, while annual flowerings creep over the sides of a Mexican beach pebble border. Lighting hangs from the trees, shining like the moonlight to provide a spotlight on the conservation land.
The pergola protects a table for outdoor dining, and Adirondack chairs surround the nearby fire pit. There is also an outside shower and a bathroom accessible through the garage. The rooftop deck, accessed from the man cave, also includes a television. Naturally, the entire backyard is wired for sound and it also has landscape lighting for setting the proper mood and atmosphere.
“We spent a lot of time talking about what we wanted,” Maffei says. “Since we moved in we feel like this house really fits us because we took so much time planning it. The best thing about this house is that I don’t feel like we missed anything.”