This Cape Cod Home Is a Love Letter to Its Beachy Surroundings
Designed by Jill Neubauer Architects, the glassy Brewster abode puts all eyes on the landscape.
After years of waking up at the crack of dawn, trekking down to the Cape from their home in Dover, and then cleaning up in public restrooms after a day of lounging in the sand, this couple decided it was time to have their own place by the sea. They wanted to build new, and began their hunt for a beachfront property that would serve as a peaceful weekend retreat from their demanding careers as lawyers. That search stretched on for a little over a decade until they came upon a gem in Brewster. To the north of the property was Paines Creek Beach, a low-traffic shoreline known for its jaw-dropping sunsets over Cape Cod Bay. To the south: a small pond surrounded by marshland. “It was an incredibly special site for the view and the privacy,” the husband explains. “I said to my wife, ‘We’ve got to nail this down today.’”
When architect Jill Neubauer—whom the pair called upon to design their coastal oasis—first visited the site, she instantly recognized how remarkable it was. “It’s a very beautiful, colorful, changing landscape,” she says. However, the property came with a challenge: Due to natural-resource regulations imposed by Brewster’s Conservation Commission, the footprint of the new home would have to fall within the outline of the site’s existing house and driveway.
So the architect began brainstorming, ultimately coming up with plans for a rectangular, 3,556-square-foot structure. To create an additional living space without expanding out of bounds, Neubauer also designed a new two-story carport for the driveway, envisioning its second floor as a 484-square-foot TV room connected to the main house by a suspended bridge. As for interiors, the team—which included former Montage designer Lauren Hamilton—would honor the couple’s wish for a minimalist home that showcased the beachy property.
That ethos permeates every corner of the finished house, which reads like a love letter to the oceanfront locale. The main entrance opens to a combined kitchen, living, and dining room, filled with natural light. Here, the kitchen’s green-gray quartzite backsplash and countertops evoke the colors of the surrounding beach and marshland, while furnishings including simple cabinetry and Scavolini barstools keep the focus on the scenery. The team’s finish selections help, too. The walls, trim, and ceiling: all white. The floors: white oak. And on the north and south sides of the living area, Neubauer incorporated 9-foot-tall glass panels, two of which slide open to a beach-facing terrace. “It was all about not having anything in the house that said, ‘Oh, look at me,’” Neubauer explains. “[The priority was] the landscape.”
The pared-down trend continues on the second floor, accessed by a white-oak staircase near the front door. At the top of the stairs, a door on the left leads to the bridge that connects the house to the carport, where the second-floor TV room doubles as a guest bedroom. To provide a sense of shelter and coziness, the space features fewer windows than most of the rooms in the main house. It also takes a step back from the home’s strictly neutral palette with a navy Paola Lenti rug and a blue-gray B & B Italia sofa.
Back across the bridge to the main house, another stretch of windows spans the length of the hallway, beckoning down toward the master suite. Like the living area below, the space—the couple’s favorite in the house—boasts floor-to-ceiling glass on two sides, giving the room a floating effect. Off to one side of the bed, anchored by a shiplap wall, a private deck overlooks the beach. On the other side, two plush “Ghost” armchairs from Gervasoni play up the room’s ethereal aesthetic. A Michael Carson oil painting of a pier in California, which the husband chose for its muted palette, hangs above. A perfect match for the scenery outside, the painting harks back to the couple’s original vision—and the resulting house that they so love. “[The home] is at balance with nature and itself,” Neubauer says. “It’s peaceful and tranquil, and the beauty of the landscape just settles over the whole place.”
Jill Neubauer Architects
Bernice Wahler Landscapes