“Family Tides” is an idyllic place to tie up your boat, put up your feet, admire the view and stay awhile.By Janice Randall Rohlf | Photography by Dan Cutrona
We’ve heard it a million times and it always rings true: Location, location, location. When these Falmouth second-home owners were looking to move from their 1920s Cape Cod cottage, they decided to check out a property on the picturesque Eel River in East Falmouth. “We ran out on the deck and saw how amazing the view was,” says Barbara Nazzaro, “plus we had walking access to the beach.” They were sold. But in order to take full advantage of the southern exposure and views from every single room in the yet-to-be-built house, some important decisions had to be made.
First, they hired Falmouth-based architect John Dvorsack, with whom they felt an instant compatibility. Barbara, a professional home stager, and her husband, Paul, a detail-oriented engineer, share Dvorsack’s “pretty good is not good enough” philosophy. The architect spent hours just walking the property, whose original three buildings were torn down. “We built as close to the water as we possibly could,” he says, explaining that the house had to be raised up due to its flood zone location, but he was careful not to perch it too high.
Standing on their 1,000-square-foot deck, looking out to Martha’s Vineyard where they can see Oak Bluffs lit up at night, the couple and their 20-year-old twin sons fully appreciate the team effort and thoughtful decisions that were made in building their dream house. Many details were small but important, like Dvorsack’s consideration of the height difference between husband and wife. When both were standing, he didn’t want either one to have a window mullion, for example, blocking the view. And compromises were made, such as in the kitchen where they “sacrificed cabinets for windows, lights and the view,” says Barbara.
While she likes to mix old and new, her husband likes everything matching, squared and centered. Together, they agreed on keeping the interiors as open as possible, and, thanks to Barbara’s keen designer’s eye and good taste, the home is a study in calm, informal sophistication. A soft, foggy hue, Seattle Mist by Benjamin Moore, on the first floor unifies the kitchen, dining and living areas, and just off of them the walls of a cozy, covered sun porch sport a complementary shade, Benjamin Moore River Reflections.
The color palette throughout the home blends browns, grays and tans, with white accents and an emphasis on layering a variety of textures in the furnishings. To accommodate a casual lifestyle that includes children and dogs, the main living area floors are reclaimed wood left unfinished and roughly hand-hewn into 6-, 8- and 10-inch wide planks. The same wood, sourced from an 1800s Pennsylvania farmhouse, was used to craft the mantel of the natural stone fireplace. Further enhancing the rustic chic look, leopard and other patterned fabrics are mixed with sisal and rattan. The result is a clean, natural aesthetic with visual impact.
In the kitchen, designed by Marianne Sansone of Kitchen Korner, in Falmouth, Cambria black leathered granite, which replicates soapstone without requiring the maintenance, pairs with handmade white, crackled subway tiles and white cabinets whose rope-y knobs lend a subtle nautical touch. There is a six-burner range and, best of all, says the wife, a convection oven she never expected to love as much as she does.
“[Barbara] has great taste and an innate ability to conceive and execute her vision,” says Dvorsack. “The furnishings, colors and overall décor within the home truly exceeded my expectations.”
In each of the four and a half bathrooms, the same materials are used interchangeably, including the showers’ “driftwood” tiles and “pebble” floors. Striking black cabinetry in the boys’ bathroom was custom made by Dutch Country Kitchens, in Assonet.
It was important to the homeowners and the architect to take advantage of every nook and cranny of the 3,400-square-foot house and garage. To this end, window seats provide extra seating inside, and the floor of the deck—the size of two full rooms—serves as a roof for the patio beneath it. Once envisioned as a screen porch, the den evolved into an intimate, closed-in living space with fantastic views.
For four summers now, this charming house on the water, named “Family Tides,” has welcomed the owners, their family and lots of friends, who come to swim, boat, hang out on the deck or put their feet up inside. “Every time we come here, we instantly relax,” says Paul. What more can you ask of a home?