Sophisticated planning turns a challenging piece of property into a home that’s the envy of the neighborhood.By Rob Duca • Photography by David Epstein
Not all homes are created equal and neither are the lots they live on. Certainly, that’s what The Valle Group encountered when they purchased this lot at the Willowbend Club in Mashpee, Massachusetts. It had been vacant for a number of years due to its exceptionally narrow footprint. Building a house that met the gated-community design guidelines presented a challenge that the East Falmouth-based company was happy to accept.
“It was one of the ugly duckling lots,” says Joseph Valle, CEO of The Valle Group. “The house had to be very narrow to fit on the lot, so our design challenge was to create a Cape Cod-style house that had some complexity; that’s easier to do in a square than in a rectangle. Although many people looked at the property, they couldn’t envision what could be done. We were able to design a house that fit nicely on the lot.”
Placing the house was also a challenge due to the narrow footprint and close proximity to the golf course. The goal was to maximize the views of the course, while protecting the house from golf balls that were being hit off a nearby tee box. Working with architect Adam Moring of AAM Architecture & Design, in Sandwich, Mass., The Valle Group turned the house away from the tee and planted large evergreen trees to serve as a barrier from stray shots.
With that issue resolved, the next challenge was working within the narrow footprint. The solution was, in Valle’s words, “to make the house live long, meaning lengthwise rather than front-to-back. However, we were able to gain some depth by bumping out a master bedroom and three-season porch off the rear,” he says. “It was a fairly sophisticated land-planning effort but once we did it, we found we had much better views of the golf course.”
“In the interior we raised the ceilings to nine feet and installed transom windows to bring in golf course views and more light,” states Valle. The completed project resulted in a 2,866-square-foot, three-bedroom home that includes a den/office, a family room on both levels and en suite bathrooms in every bedroom.
The home was designed for entertaining, with the kitchen, dining room, great room and porch all within view of each other. “From the kitchen it’s easy to feel like you’re part of anything else that’s going on,” Valle says. “Because the kitchen is lined up to look toward the great room, you can see all the way to the golf course and covered porch, which has become a popular spot for relaxing and savoring spectacular sunsets.”
The first-floor master bedroom offers privacy from the gathering places and the second-floor loft is the place where grandchildren play and watch television.
Interior designer Carolina Tress-Balsbaugh of Manuel De Santaren, Inc. offset the light maple flooring with just a hint of pale wall shades that reflect the surroundings. The colors are warm, subtle and peaceful.
The homeowners, Richard and Pam Jackson, were unquestionably enchanted by the property. “We have built seven houses from scratch and this is the first house I’ve walked into where I would not have done anything differently,” Pam says. “We are very persnickety about details, but this was perfectly done. It was like the house was sitting there waiting for us. We didn’t even know we were looking for a house when we walked in, so it was a very spontaneous decision to buy it. But as soon as I walked in, I turned to my husband and said, ‘This is it.’”