In terms of classic New England architecture, the traditional Cape Cod cottage is a time-honored standard. Built to provide shelter from the vicious winter storms that whipped in off the Atlantic, these homes have remained popular due to their charming simplicity and the nostalgic element of tradition that suffuses them. They are uniquely New England. With modern technology on our side, MMA set out to create a modern Cape house that captures the essence of the original while bringing it into the 21st century.
More than any stylistic preference, the 21st century denotes sustainability. Located on a stunning sloped site on the mid-Cape, our award-winning modern Cape house incorporates Ipê, a hard and resilient wood sustainably harvested in Bolivia. While the material breaks from tradition compared to older Cape homes, the structure retains some key similarities: the clean, symmetrical lines; the white details balanced against earthy neutrals; the materials a direct reflection of the natural surroundings.
Technology allows us to make even greater adaptations to our modern Cape house. Traditional Cape homes feature small windows to better withstand biting winds and brutal snowstorms, but modern tempered glass is able to resist such forces with relative ease. MMA designed the home with great panes of glass to bring the outside in and situated the muntins along the top edge of the windows to allow for uninterrupted views of the ocean beyond. In conjunction with the larger and more prevalent windows, we also added dormers to increase the lighting in the home, once again connecting inside and out.
Such alterations would have severely hampered the day-to-day lives of Cape residents two hundred years ago, if only because the abundance of windows would have let in too much light and air. Blackout shades account for the issue of privacy—and early-morning sunlight—that might arise, but insulation was the chief concern. HVAC and chillers allow us to keep the spacious interior of this home warm in the winter months and cool in the blazing summers.
It is in those pristine Cape Cod summers that this home truly shines. Airy open floor plans extend the illusion that inside and outside have melded together, creating an elegant, summery space for everyday living and entertaining. The first floor opens out onto a wide, curving deck, where every angle grants graceful panoramic views of the Atlantic. Large, shady overhangs protect the viewer from direct sunlight while allowing them to feel the sea breeze, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and simply experience the outdoors.
Because here is the crux of our modern Cape: it is the same Cape Cod you know and love—the same unmatchable blue skies, the same clean simplicity, the same historical underpinnings. When we set out to adapt a style through a modern lens, we always strive to alter only in order to elevate the style, while holding sacred the core attributes that made the original worth emulating.