A Cape Cod Retreat Resembling a Work of Art


A Boca Raton couple had spent years vacationing in Cape Cod but always yearned for a true dream house there. When they found an available 9-acre parcel of gently sloping coastal hills, they knew it was time to build. But this wouldn’t be just any beach house: The residence needed to be as creatively and exquisitely wrought as the clients’ art and sculpture collection—a work of art in itself. “He referred to what he wanted as a jewel,” recalls interior designer Louis Shuster. After working on their Florida home with Shuster (a longtime friend) and builder Steven Paskoski, both based in Fort Lauderdale, the owners brought the team to Massachusetts to assure the same high level of craftsmanship and detail.

For all the beauty of its ensuing architecture and interiors—immaculately rendered cypress cladding inside and out, classic modern furniture in every room, an eye-catching art collection—the overriding sensation at the Cape Cod residence is of being one with the land and sea outside. Approaching the entrance, for example, the owners are met with one of two of the home’s reflecting pools. Coming into the house, “you’re looking straight ahead at nothing but water,” explains Shuster of the great room’s floor-to-ceiling glass view. “Your mouth drops with the expanse of blue water and sky. It feels like you’re outside when you’re inside.”

Though there are extensive floor-to-ceiling windows to allow a focus on the water, “the owners also wanted a house that blends with the surrounding landscape,” Shuster notes. Indeed, while the glass fac¸ade creates a pristine geometry, the low-slung house hugs the undulating topography. Its architecture was conceived by Eric Dyer, who was enlisted to help with the overall design while in Shuster’s employ; Dyer consulted on the architecture with local architect Mark Hammer of Hammer Architects in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cypress siding adds a touch of naturalistic warmth while maintaining a flawless precision, with panels continuing around corners and from inside to outside without interruption. The interiors also called for materials rendered with care, such as the living area’s textured concrete wall formed from cedar boards.

The interior spaces also accomplish an ideal balance between openness and definition. A fireplace between the living and dining rooms, for example, divides the space by extending its low-slung mantel to include cabinetry for dining table service. The living and dining rooms are divided from adjacent his-and-hers offices with a small interior atrium that brings the landscape up close. And with no immediate neighbors, the glass-walled shower in the master bathroom gives one the feeling of being outside. “I think that’s part of the genius of the design, how it moves you through the house without feeling like you’re going from one space to another,” says Paskoski, who helmed the build with project manager Kevin Brooks and superintendent Jim Watson. “Every part of this house is warm and inviting.”

A serene yet clean-lined interior look is achieved with an array of classic midcentury modern furnishings (in neutral colors to avoid competing with the view), such as gold-hued Barcelona chairs in the living area or Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs in the master bedroom, and George Nakashima dining room chairs. But the home is also enlivened by its artwork. At the entrance, a large metal sculpture of a gorilla appears to hang off the entry wall like King Kong clutching the Empire State Building, as if this whole construction project were a kind of whimsical adventure. And over the breakfast nook hangs a light fixture meant to resemble a cluster of milk bottles. Yet the art never dominates; rather, a few key pieces were placed throughout so as not to compete with the architecture itself.

“All of the art and furniture pieces make their own statement,” Shuster says. “The owners didn’t want people to be distracted by a lot of color, yet the house is very warm and soothing. It’s all about celebrating the water and this gorgeous piece of property. This is what they always wanted.”