Tour a Cape Cod Home Bursting with Color
May 25, 2023
A couple infuses a property on Cape Cod with new life—and an office that takes its cue from the putting green.
Text by Alyssa Bird Photography by Jane Beiles Produced by Karin Lidbeck Brent
When it comes to an old house, it either has good bones or it doesn’t. Luckily for architect Patrick Ahearn, who was tasked with renovating and expanding an early-1900s residence in Osterville, he had a solid jumping-off point. The clients, a couple with three children, had recently taken ownership of the home, the same one where the wife spent summers as a child, but a failing foundation and a rabbit warren of tiny rooms needed to be addressed if the property was to function for a modern family.
“The original home featured a large gambrel, so we took our cue from that and created a new architectural scheme that’s sympathetic to it,” says Ahearn, whose plan included picking up the structure and centering it on the lot to help satisfy today’s zoning regulations. Ahearn removed a small rear wing on the original gambrel mass and then added new wings to either side, doubling the square footage. Accompanying the renovated residence are a pool and two adjoining structures: a cabana with a bath and a carriage house containing a three-car garage, a bar area, and guest quarters above.
“The cabana has huge pocket doors that open up, so you can even watch the television from the pool,” says builder Jamie Jaxtimer. “The carriage house doors also open onto the pool, so everything flows really well for how the family uses the outdoor space during the summer.”
As for the expanded six-bedroom main house, Ahearn centered the front door and added new windows, double-decker porches, and a pair of chimneys to introduce a sense of symmetry.
Inside, a central hallway runs from the front porch to the back porch and acts as the home’s spine. While the office is strategically placed in a quiet area near the front, the rear is all about family living and entertaining, with the kitchen, dining, family room, sunroom, and screened porch easily flowing into one another.
Additional hangout spaces—including a media room, a gym, and a wine room—are tucked into the basement. New moldings and paneling throughout contribute to the home’s overall character. “We wanted it to feel timeless in its appeal,” says Ahearn. “The finishes are carefully detailed but not precious.”
When it came time to furnish the residence, the clients worked with designer Allison Mattison. The goal was to “make this house feel totally different than their primary residence, which is more serious and has a sophisticated, muted palette,” she says. “We punched things up with color, texture, and pattern.” Shades of blue pop up in all the main rooms—including the dining room, which is anchored by a hydrangea-blue lacquered wall—and grasscloth lends a cozy quality to several spaces.
When Mattison pitched the green office, the husband wasn’t immediately on board. “After a little bit of convincing to create a green lacquered room, the idea to make the office ‘golf inspired’ evolved,” says Mattison. “Picking the green was a process. At one point, we had at least fifteen shades on the wall and several other swatches laying around before we landed on the winner. I love that the textured raffia wallpaper on the walls and ceiling play off the lacquered trim to create a warmth in the room.”
New and custom furnishings are upholstered in performance fabrics to account for the clients’ active lifestyle, children, and dog. “They aren’t serious people, and they wanted a home that can be lived in,” says Mattison. “The house feels fresh, bright, and vibrant, but it’s also classic with a sense of nostalgia.”