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Owner and interior designer Lisa Kauffman Tharp searched for the perfect piece of property for more than a year. She finally found this one nestled into a neighborhood of existing older homes.
The design evolved from two iconic Massachusetts vernacular precedents: the farmhouse and the iconic Cape Cod and Islands style. The overall form is taken from the former, while the latter provided inspiration for details like the clean white trim. Both precedents also inspired "rough luxe" meets coastal interiors as well.
"A metal roof is the right place to invest, not only for its durability, but also for its aesthetic," Horowitz says. Those little details you see at the edge of the roof are snow guards, which keep the snow from sliding off the roof into huge piles on the ground.
Some of the eco-friendly elements include extra insulation, high-performance windows, radiant heating, daylighting and passive cooling.
Here's the view the family enjoys from the front porch. "The park across the street was an absolute bonus, as it enabled us to purchase a very small lot while enjoying a huge 'front yard' that we do not have to mow," Kauffman Tharp says. Plus, the breezes that race across the open land (we call it 'the whoosh factor') clear street traffic fumes from the air, while eliminating the need for mechanical air conditioning."
Another kitchen blessing and a challenge: Kauffman Tharp had come into possession of some reclaimed high-end appliances and cabinets from a nearby remodel. In order to give the kitchen a unified look, they painted everything a creamy white, added marine-style polished nickel hardware, and added heart-pine countertops.
While the heart pine counters lend a farmhouse feel, the island's counter is a more contemporary concrete surface. The island is 10 feet long and incorporates a Shaw's Original Farmhouse sink, repurposed cabinets, and a pair of Miele dishwashers on one side, as well as seating on the other side.
The furnishings in the living room have a bit of Belgian flair, industrial touches, and the overall feeling of an elegant yet relaxed coastal getaway. "Industrial and vintage elements keep it interesting," Kauffman Tharp says. "I repurposed an old glass pie display as a side table with seashells inside, and the rusted tin chimney piece from France acts as a quirky foil on the low table."
This nautical-themed space is in what's known as an "away room," which is a quiet spot that can be isolated from the rest of the house.
Part of smart, sustainable design is to plan for the future and provide multiple uses within the floor plan. While a current owner needs an office, this room also connects to a full, ADA-accessible bath and can serve as a first floor bedroom if their needs should change or if future owners have different needs. The doors have been outfitted for window treatments for privacy should this change ever take place.
Here's how you can make a fabulous nautical chart wall
These doors provide a farmhouse vernacular detail on the bottom, and the glass on top allows the away room to share natural light with the dining room. When necessary, they can close off the away room, but they can be opened to make both spaces feel larger.
Kauffman Tharp scored the candle lanterns from Vagabond Vintage and gave them a makeover that began with "a paint wash that looks like zinc," she says. "We tied them with thick, rough manila rope to plumbing pipe that spans between the ceiling beams (I did a bronze paint wash on the pipes to match the curtain rods). Battery-operated pillar candles from Restoration Hardware have built-in timers."
Tip: "Hang natural linen draperies high and wide at the windows to add verticality to the space, while blocking none of the natural light," Tharp advises.
What would usually be a first floor powder room has instead become a full, ADA wheelchair-accessible bathroom complete with a shower. "The bathroom is detailed like a big shower; a European-style wet room," Horowitz explains. "The walls are completely covered in tile, and they slope toward a floor drain. Because the room is so beautifully finished, you don't feel like you are walking into a big shower stall," says Horowitz. The wall-hung toilet saves space and makes cleaning a breeze. A few eco-friendly moves include a dual-flush toilet and using a piece of scrap marble for the counter.
Another bonus: It's a great place to wash the dog!
This vanity was fashioned from an antique kitchen worktable. This was not an easy task: The top was crooked and it needed to be plumbed. But it was well worth the effort, as it adds that unique European farmhouse touch to the room.
The sinks are from Signature Hardware and the faucets are made by Rohl's. The goosenecks on the sconces take a cue from the gooseneck faucets, and add a touch of farmhouse style to the light and open bathroom.
The bathroom also takes advantage of the natural light. Clear shower doors allow the rest of the room to receive light from the window in the shower stall, and a carefully composed floor plan maximizes the space. Lots of white makes the space feel roomy and open.
Similarly, white floors, walls and ceiling make the master bedroom feel much larger. In addition, Kauffman Tharp took a cue from A Pattern Language and opted for a bed alcove. The philosophy is that when a room has to awkwardly adapt everything around a bed, it's all wasted and awkward space during all the other hours of the day when you're awake.
Creating a special, cozy alcove for a bed creates a comfortable space just for sleeping, and leaves a lot of other space to use for "sitting space, play areas, dressing and storage" the rest of the day.
By preventing the bed from hogging up the whole room, a comfortable seating area in the master bedroom provides a relaxing place to read. The painting is by Tharp, and the fabric on the chairs is by Lee Industries, known for sustainable practices.
"I have always dreamed of living on the ocean, and yet we love this town. So, I designed the house to live like a vacation home. Why not get that feeling every day of the year?" Kauffman Tharp says. "The interiors are relaxed, use natural materials and connect with the outdoors — barefoot simplicity meets casual elegance. These are the things that we all love about a vacation home, and I help my design clients build those features into their own homes."
"We were always looking for moments and opportunities to create space and make the best of everything," Horowitz says. The storage bench and recessed reading shelf create "a nice place to sit down with a book; the windows were placed low to work well on the facade; from the bench they provide a view out to the playground that is at eye level."
Also, remember those windows in the downstairs wet room? This is what is on the other side; the bathroom is tucked beneath this staircase and behind the windows.
Finally, using every inch of space up to the rafters keeps the square footage maximized and the footprint minimized. The metal roof helps to keep this area cooler in the summer, reflecting the warmth from the sun.
This room is another flexible space that can be used as a studio, home office, exercise room, playroom or extra bedroom. All of the mechanical necessities are tucked underneath the other gable, leaving this space open and usable.
"If you ask me whether it is better to finish a basement or an attic, I will vote attic every time," Kauffman Tharp says. "Dark and dank vs. sunny and breezy. Which would you choose?"
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