Set on an island, this single-family residence and accompanying buildings serves as an inviting summer campus for extended family and friends. The “East meets West” program explores playful expressions of design through unique features such as curved roofs, light-filled interiors and rustic modernist features.

Project Name: Seapuit Family Retreat
Location: Osterville, MA
Project completion: 2018

Architect: Catalano Architects
KVC Builders
Interior Design: Manuel DeSantaren
Landscape: Hawk Design
Credit: Trent Bell

Seapuit Family Retreat By Catalano Architects - Sheet4
©Trent Bell

The aesthetic is driven by a present-day homage to the craftsman-built bow-roofed house of early Cape Cod, with contemporary forms rendered familiar through the use of traditional weathering exterior materials of red cedar and local granite. The single-loaded plan captures the path of the sun, framing water views on either side. The positioning of the additional buildings focus around the pool, creating an “outdoor room” for social activities. Designed for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living, carefully considered spaces allow for extended gatherings and simultaneously provide private, quiet areas for respite.

Seapuit Family Retreat By Catalano Architects - Sheet7
©Trent Bell

The design incorporates sustainable and resilient features, including high-performance windows, doors, and a building envelope capable of weathering hurricane force weather. Locally sourced materials such as cedar, oak, and stone reflect the regional ecology creating a vibrant, sustainable, and restorative environment.

The program was broken up into smaller independent structures. A main house, guest house, office/playroom, and pool house with an open kitchen form a campus around the pool terrace. This arrangement couples privacy with the option of a communal gathering place.

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©Trent Bell

The soft curves of the catenary roof forms evoke dairy barns that came into vogue in the 1920’s and create an informal but efficient design sensibility. “Eyebrow” curves at the gable ends emphasize the pliability of restrained shingle-style aesthetic.

The curved plan of the main house splays the gable forms creating a panoramic view of the site as one progresses through the house. The plan was designed with efficient use of space; there are no hallways but rather, the circulation proceeds from room to room. The front entry proceeds through the dining room, the kitchen, and main stair. The living room doubles as a screened porch with folding door and concealed roll-down screens and shades on 3-sides. A large fieldstone fireplace anchors it. The kitchen is the largest room in the house with 11-foot ceiling and 3 pairs of 10- foot doors that open to Nantucket Sound. At the opposite end of the kitchen is a banquette eating nook surrounded by a bay window with views to the dock and Sound.

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©Trent Bell

The main house has exposed cedar timbers and bolted connections at the covered walkway and pergola. The modern forms are wrapped in red cedar shingles, stained horizontal cedar boards and fieldstone – natural materials rooted in the New England vernacular architecture.

The restrained aesthetic is carried through the interiors. The stairway is a continuous cascade of oak treads and risers flush with the plaster stringer and articulated with ¼” reveal. A shaker style balustrade wraps its sinuously curved handrail up three floors to the attic space and roof deck. The same horizontal boards wrap the first-floor level aligning with the riser height at each step.


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