Tour an Osterville Home Designed By Tom Catalano and Liz Caan

June 13, 2023

On the water in Osterville, two sisters create a carefree summer escape next door to their parents.

Text by Alyssa Bird     Photography by Interior photography by Tim Williams, exterior photography by Nat Rea

When architect Tom Catalano designed a family residence in Osterville, Massachusetts, in 2007, little did he know that he would be returning fifteen years later to conceive a house for the now-adult daughters next door. The property’s existing residence—a timeworn shingled cottage—didn’t fit the needs of the clients, so Catalano started from scratch, dreaming up a sprawling summer home tailored to family get-togethers and casual entertaining. “My sister and I have a strong connection to this area,” says the client. “We always joked with our parents about buying the house next door, so when it came up for sale we didn’t hesitate.”

The design concept revolved around the idea of connecting the new house to the parents’ home. “The parents’ property has a pool and pool house that are now shared by both homes, so we used that to anchor a new outdoor space that serves as a nexus of activity,” says Catalano. “It’s an incredible site facing Nantucket Sound with southern exposure, so we took advantage of both and designed all rooms to face that way. The residence is similar in style to the parents’ home, but it’s not a recreation of what’s next door. Here, there aren’t as many traditional architectural elements and the interior is much more open.”

It’s not every day that Catalano designs a house with two owners in mind, but great attention was paid to address the needs of both, including two equally luxurious primary suites. “My sister and I are in different stages of life, so we needed a place for adults to gather as well as something appropriate for young children,” says the client. “There are people staying here most weekends, whether it’s one person or fifteen, so we needed as much sleeping space as possible. With the addition of the bunk room, six families can comfortably stay here.”

When it came time for the sisters to combine their styles, Catalano introduced them to interior designer Liz Caan. “We wanted the house to feel warm, inviting, and not too precious,” says the client. “My sister’s style is eclectic, and I prefer something more classic, but Liz was able to combine both while pushing us out of our comfort zones.”

The result is “classic yet youthful,” says Caan. “The homeowners are casual people who wanted their friends to feel comfortable enough to walk around barefoot with a beer in hand, so we let that thought guide us throughout the process. The furnishings are a mix of high, low, and flea-market finds, and the palette is colorful but not overly saturated.”

While there is some blue, Caan veered away from an expected blue-and-white scheme and opted for “interesting greens, reddish pinks, and other shades on the edge of being another color,” she says. “The tone being just a little off provides an element of surprise and lends a youthful touch.”

Caan was able to sneak in some whimsical moments, too, including a lobster wallpaper on the ceiling of the bunk room and an oyster wallpaper in the pantry. She even brought in an artist to create hand-painted patterns for the walls of the office and one of the primary bedrooms. “The beauty of working with Tom and Liz is that we trust their tastes,” says the client. “Our parents’ home serves as the heart of our family, and this house has that same feeling.

 Project Team
Architecture: Catalano Architects
Interior design: Liz Caan & Co.
Builder: Bayside Building
Landscape design: Dan Gordon Landscape Architects

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