A Fool’s Paradise – Saving a Tiny Cape Results in a Home with Sophistication & Whimsy

A Fool’s Paradise – Saving a Tiny Cape Results in a Home with Sophistication & Whimsy

I love shingle style homes as many of you know, and this one is the perfect melding of old and new in a modest but expanded home in Harwich Port, on Cape Cod. Overlooking Nantucket Sound, the revamping of this small Cape by architects and builders, Polhemus, Savery, DaSilva, a favorite of mine, with assistance from project manager Kevin Miller, achieved beautifully the goals set by the owners. I have such deep respect for owners of a home who choose to work with and save the original house and an architect who encourages it, even though it may cost them more monetarily in the long run. But hard to put a price on soul satisfaction. The original house remains at the central core, where it was then expanded to the left and the right sides. Da Silva calls the end result “balanced asymmetry,” which resulted in an expanded, character filled rambling Cape that functions comfortably for the frequent family visits from extended family, as well as suiting the needs of this active couple, recently relocated to the Cape after 15 years in London. Now that’s a change!

There are some surprises here, as the designer used the owners eclectic tastes to showcase their personalities, resulting in a surprisingly contemporary interior design, and it works. Working with Herbert Acevedo, who designs from his shop Shor in Provincetown, the inspiration for the color palette came from a collection of beach stones he found on a windowsill-gray, white, beige and green, with punches of color from accessories and the owners collection of art.. Notice that every wall and ceiling is painted in the same pale warm gray, with white trim.

View from the front. Seamless transitions from old and new make it impossible to tell that the additions weren’t always a part of the house.

Front of the house, again a stone wall that allows for entertainment in the front yard as well as the back. The “heft” of the trim work gives it such visual impact drawing your eye to it as a welcoming space.

Same view, different angle. The cupola at the top is over the master bedroom. More on the weathervane later!

Before and after of the front of the house. New chimney cap, door trim and and two added dormers on the left.

What a welcoming front entrance!

The pineapple is the traditional symbol for “welcome” tracing back to Colonial America, and is used as trim in the front door surround. The starburst pattern on the screen door is repeated on the banisters of the inside staircase.

Whimsical, the weathervane came about as a result of the wife’s interest in the first card of a Tarot deck, referred to as the Fool. She and the architect John DaSilva, had the silhouette created from a likeness of her husband, adding the golf club and martini glass.

Before and after of part of the back of the house. Notice the addition of a stone wall, also repeated in the front of the house.

Rambling character, one that the owners love. Me too! I especially like how the architect kept the scale grounded, such that the house appears approachable rather than overly grand in scale. Even the scale of the path is wonderful. The landscape design uses the much loved plants of Cape Cod, hydrangeas, black-eyed Susans, catmint and I think that is astilbe, to effectively create smaller areas of lawn and garden, and he made bold paths and an entertainment and dining patio of bluestone to tie it all together.

On the left a first floor view of the stone patio area. On the right, the view from the master bedroom, and past the patio to the front drive.

view of the pool looking back to the rear of the house.

Lovely shingle details leading into the kitchen and dining room.

The old detached garage is now a studio and fitness area.

Before and after of the family room.

Family room off the kitchen and dining area.

Family room with a view back into the kitchen and dining area.

The ceiling treatment mimics the shape of the island. The chair back have similar curves resulting in a softer look in a modern space

The dining room easily accommodates their large extended family. There is no separate formal dining room, and I believe we will see this more and more.

Smaller study, sitting area off the kitchen with it’s own fireplace.

Back staircase where whimsy is present with the sun, moon, and star motif.

The stairway looking down from the master bedroom. Notice the window openings in the left wall that allows the light from the long bank of windows to the right, on the outside wall, to flood the area with light.

Sitting area of a guest bedroom, also seen below.

A guest bedroom.

Light arrives from not only windows, but the cupola above, flooding the room with warmth.

Elegance, modern sophistication, warmth and whimsy in a home where the owners are said to love every square inch of. It’s easy to see why they call it “Fools Paradise.”

I decided to mention this again after you viewed all the interior photos. Interior designer Acevedo, made a less common decision to paint every room in the house, every wall and every ceiling,the same color, a pale but warm gray. All the trim is the same “pristine” white. If you go back and look at the rooms now, you can observe how the light reacts differently , sometime giving the appearance of ceilings that are much lighter than the walls. This is a wonderful way to see the interplay of light and color. I like the result in this house, and the single color allows for the beach colors he choose to immaculately tie in with the architecture, and the landscaping. A wonderful example of  working and coming together with the end result of happy clients and a home preserved and improved to everyones delight. Thanks for stopping by to read. Laters, charisse

photos-Eric Roth

Landscape Architect- David Hawk



  1. Love your house. What color did the designer use for the rooms?

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