Chatham Harbor Overlook

Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

Classic Cape Cod cottage meets contemporary California beach house in this oceanfront home, which enjoys spectacular views across Chatham Harbor. It combines the shingled, low-lying, slightly rambling exterior aesthetic of coastal New England vernacular architecture with the light-filled, open-plan, easily flowing interiors of West Coast getaways.

The project included the re-creation and significant expansion of an existing 1935 cottage, whose level of disrepair required it to be torn down. Rebuilt slight further away from the shore, the new home echoes the aesthetic of the original, but on a larger scale, with a new kitchen and dining areas, a water-view master suite, and an adjacent carriage house. The result is an ensemble of interconnected, sensitively scaled volumes that appears both historic and smaller than it is.

Regrading the property as part of the rebuild and expansion allowed for the creation of a lower level that remains invisible from the front. This level now hosts a family room, kids’ room, gym, and office. The first floor, meanwhile, seamlessly connects to the new indoor-outdoor living spaces and a swimming pool overlooking the harbor.

Second-story dormers provide cottage-like character to the house when seen from the outside, while on the inside, they create double-height spaces for every room in the house—from the bedrooms to the breakfast room—all of them filled with natural light. Transom glass used throughout provides similar benefits.

Although extensive, this reimagining remained sensitive to the site’s tight footprint, challenging topography, and coastal conservation restrictions, and it did not change the home’s overall height. The house remains below the grade of the road, which preserves both its sense of privacy and the harbor views of the homes across the street.