Staying in Character

The outdated 1940s house rested at an idyllic Chatham location on a bluff with sweeping views of Nantucket Sound, Hardings Beach, Monomoy Island and the Stage Harbor Lighthouse. But with low ceilings, petite windows, a restricted floor plan and limited second-story living space, those spectacular views were being hidden. Enter Tim Smith, owner of Minglewood Homes of Chatham.

The back of the home features an intricate roofline and several terraces and balconies overlooking Nantucket Sound.

The back of the home features an intricate roofline and several terraces and balconies overlooking Nantucket Sound.

It all adds up

“The new homeowners wanted tall ceilings, an open floor plan and lots of light,” he said. “We ended up with nine-foot ceilings, and we were able to insert structural steel to open up the floor plan. We took the old house down to the first floor sub-decking.”

By adding a full second story and additions over the garage, Smith increased the living space nearly 1,500 square feet to 4,400. The home now serves as a beacon from high above the ocean, featuring a series of roof peaks, two second-floor balconies and approximately 40 windows.

“It’s a very visual house from the beach,” Smith says. “We wanted it to be in character with the bluff. We wanted something very traditional, with some flair. The challenges were that it was an old house, with small windows and tiny dormers in the back.”

minglewood livingroom

The 11-month project was completed in August, 2011. The finished product blends a traditional Cape Cod saltbox style with a contemporary, upscale interior that offers four bedrooms and six baths. The house was designed by Mark Williams of MW Design in Chatham, which is Minglewood’s in-house design service. Eileen Nadeau of Botello Lumber in Mashpee designed the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry.

“It’s quite beautiful,” says Peter Barnard, Minglewood’s operations officer. “We took something that was very outdated and turned it into a modern house that has lots of appeal and fits right there on the bluff.”

A different approach

It was critical that every step of the process be coordinated in ways that Smith had not encountered in the past. The homeowners, who are from India, insisted that the project’s time schedule adhere to the wishes of their guru. Therefore, they had to take down the old house and hand over the keys to the new house on precise dates that were determined by the guru, who was present at completion to bless the property.

“The homeowners are very connected to karma,” Barnard says.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the new home is the tung-oil stained hardwood flooring that runs throughout the house. The homeowners were adamant on finding materials that were made in America and were particularly keen on using reclaimed wood. Smith located antique white pine that was purchased from Stonewood Products in Harwich. The wood came from a mill in Kentucky. “It was literally taken out of the mill, where large beams were cut down to planking that is six inches,” Barnard said. “It still has wood holes in it and all the imperfections are there. We didn’t try to get rid of them. It’s a heavy, dense wood that is as hard as oak, even though it’s pine. That floor is absolutely gorgeous.”

 A nine-foot wide island is centered in the open kitchen.

A nine-foot wide island is centered in the open kitchen.

A wide-open feeling

A fieldstone fireplace in the great room serves as the centerpiece to the first-floor entertainment area. Previously, the fireplace was more of an obstacle. “You had to walk around it to get through the house,” Smith said. Now, the kitchen, great room, dining room and sitting room all flow seamlessly into one another. The dining room sits just off the kitchen and offers dazzling water views. Separation is provided by columns between the kitchen and great room, while a coffered ceiling further defines each space. The center beam that runs the length of the house is wrapped and finished with white crown molding, adding elegance to the area.

“It breaks up the ceiling and further defines the spaces between the rooms,” Barnard says.

The expansive kitchen features a 9 x 7-foot center island and reflects its seaside surroundings with various shades of blue and green used for the granite countertops and the Italian-tiled backsplash. A striking square insert of dark and light blue tiles breaks up the backsplash and provides dazzling contrast to the soft blue French Le Cornue stove. Solid poplar cabinets coated with white enamel paintcomplete the soothing atmosphere.

The second-floor master bedroom also has expansive views of Nantucket Sound, especially from a private balcony. The master bath is awash in pinkish hues, from the wall color to the marble Jacuzzi tub, flooring and shower tiles.

A second-story den area features a Juliet balcony and built-in floor-to-ceiling shelves with a rolling library ladder.

A second-story den area features a Juliet balcony and built-in floor-to-ceiling shelves with a rolling library ladder.

Another balcony sits off the second-floor family room. The landing area features a 12-foot floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcase, along with the requisite ladder needed for pulling out your favorite reading material off the top shelf.

A 600-square foot office, located at the top of the stairs, is painted blue, with a white ceiling line wrapped in beading providing a contrasting appearance.

“It was a great build and a lot of fun,” Barnard says. “The clients were easy to work with and they made it happen by allowing us to do what we do.”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Josh Kuchinsky

Design & Build: Minglewood Homes
An additional seating area tucked off the side of the living room.

An additional seating area tucked off the side of the living room.

A wet bar placed between the open living room, kitchen and dining area.

A wet bar placed between the open living room, kitchen and dining area.

A blue La Cornue range in the white and blue-accented kitchen is a show-stopper.

A blue La Cornue range in the white and blue-accented kitchen is a show-stopper.

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