Yay! Beth, Design No. Five and Laughing Gull Hill are the stars of a feature story in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. We are all super proud to see her get the well-deserved recognition. Beth generously shared the limelight with many of her key partners and suppliers on the project, also mentioned in the article, which which does a delightful job telling the story of the house.
As described in Shot to Pieces a few months ago, Beth invited in noted “interior and lifestyle photographer” Joyelle West to do her thing at LGH. She spent a full day here setting up intricate shots to capture the look, and more importantly the feel, of every room…even the bathrooms!
Coincidentally, Joyelle is the Boston Globe’s go to interiors photographer, so after the paper picked up the story, they sent their ace back down to capture a series “lifestyle” pics to round out the story. Again, it was amazing to see how much time and care the team put into styling and staging each shot, 30 minutes at least, before she would snap away.
The Globe reporter had really grooved on the indoor/outdoor nature of the Cocktail Room and Patio combination, so Joyelle was under orders to get at least one shot to captured. Critical to the shot was getting the sail-like tension cover installed in order to provide just the right lighting on the patio.
Somewhat ironically, only a sliver of the “sail” shows up in the final piece. Still, we thought it appropriate to celebrate the article last night at Crisp Flatbread Company who’s own sails, also from Sperry Sails, inspired this wonderful addition to the patio.
The patio was our first addition to the house. It functioned as our living room while the rest of the joint was under construction. It works beautifully for hanging out and entertaining, but has always been a little hot at midday in the height of the summer. So, we added some shade.
Beth’s inspiration came from similar “tensioned covers” she spotted at Crisp Flatbread Company, one of our favorite restaurants on the Cape. A few questions and a little research lead her to Sperry Fabric Architecture. The company is a spinoff off of Sperry Sails, a forty year old sail loft in Marion. A couple months ago, she rang them up and arranged a consult with Seth, their field guy. He spent an hour or so with us and more or less conceived of the design on the spot. A week later he provided us a detailed design (from their CAD system) and a proposal.
We were out of town when they installed last week, so don’t have a sense for how long it took. We’d been pretty sure we wanted to do it when Seth visited, so discussed maintenance with him. It should be straightforward for me to take down in the fall (or for hurricanes) and to reinstall in the spring. It’s pretty much just lines and knots. I’ll probably take down the guyed mast and store inside as well.
It rained last night and things stayed fairly dry under the cover although that was not the main purpose. And, the light fabric lets plenty of light through, so the cocktail room stays brighten, even on a cloudy Memorial Day.
I’ve been peeking in the windows for weeks, but on my walk yesterday, texted Carol who kindly OKed my sneaking into “Big Red” to check on progress. She tells me they have an early June move in date. So far the contractor has been very good with schedule.
The floors they were able to preserve have all been refinished. In the gutted areas, they’ve put in beautiful new pine that is ready for stain. I love the juxtaposition of the slate next to the patio door as well as the way they turned the boards perpendicular at the far end of the living room corresponding to the exposed beam. Walls and new bullseye trim are fresh painted and look super.
They’ve preserved many of the wonderful details that characterize the house. The big cabinet in the kitchen was the most work. A favorite of Carol’s, in order to work in the new layout, they had to shift it a few feet from its original location. Well worth the effort to retain the memories and commodious storage.
Opening doors, I was able to detect work in progress. We still have some closets that look similar at Laughing Gull Hill. In fact, there were many reminders of our own house and project. The two are very different, but elements have a similar feel. As reported, the Lovell family were common residents, living here before moving a couple blocks into town.
A before/after. You can see the outside door that went away. They now have tons of storage in the huge mudroom.
The exterior, too, has been progressing as well. The new covered entrance to the mudroom replaces the door that had been around the corner. So, they are good to go and will put a wrap on Phase One before the summer. I can’t wait for kitchen cabinets and appliances. Stay tuned.
More on the Red House. Carol sent me into sneak around and record progress with a few pics. The big deal this week was new molding, nicely done to match the old. First, the old:
And, voila, the new. They seem to have matched the old bullseye molding perfectly.
Preserving the old with the new is clearly a goal of Carol and Adam’s. They’ve kept some nice details. Old cabinetry, which was moved into what they called the “summer kitchen.” A neat old window. And, I’m particularly pleased they maintained the narrow maids’ stair in the back.
I don’t know where this door will end up, but I’m glad they are keeping it.
This kind of preservation doesn’t come easy. It takes planning and often costs more than replacement, but IMO is mandatory when rehabbing and old house. Not being on site all the time, stuff can often slip by and decisions are made without the homeowner. So Carol and Adam were smart to make their desires known in writing.
Yesterday, I though about another parallel between the Red House and Laughing Gull Hill. Regular readers will know that Capt. Lovell, who moved from there to LGH, became Cotuit’s postmaster. Well, in somewhat of a coincidence, Carol’s parents rescued the old Wianno Summer post office and moved it to the Red House lot. Needs a little rehab itself, but it remains a fun feature of the property.
Lastly, Spring has sprung in Cotuit, and our ospreys are back, squeaking away and wildly active this weekend. (A little Googling tells me that Ospreys head down towards the Caribbean in the fall.)
Of course, Carol, the proprietor of the Red House is a fan. She particularly likes the postings that feature her house. Responding to last week’s lament at my not having snapped any pictures of the superior electrical work before the walls were closed, Carol supplied me with a few she had taken. Neatly wired, no?
And, Carol shared a few shots of her plumbing, too. Also, nicely-done.
Plaster went up on the walls this week. They are now working on the window molding, matching up to the antique modeling throughout.
As is my wont, I strolled by the Red House on my walk yesterday. Here’s a view of the house nestled in the woods across Ropes Field (owned and maintained by the Barnstable Land Trust).
Back at Laughing Gull Hill, there was another photoshoot yesterday, this one more focused on details than full room shots. My intent had been to share some of the photos from the first photo shoot. But, Beth shut me down as she is trying to keep her powder dry for House Beautiful or Architectural Digest each of which, as I understand it, have a larger readership than the LGH blog (though surely no more devoted).
A quick update from down the street. After last week’s blog, Carol had Design No. Five in for a color consult. I tagged along to get up close with progress on the interior.
They are debating, among other things, the color scheme for the exterior. A name like “The Red House” aka “Big Red” puts some constraints on one’s choices. The current red is actually quite brown; I think they may end up going a bit redder, perhaps ala the Cahoon Museum.
The bigger debate is over the trim and windows. As with Laughing Gull Hill, they are going with the traditional black window sashes. The white storms that cover most of the windows will go away. The question, then, is should the trim be white? No, was the conclusion. Go with red; the black will really pop. We also had a discussion about the cedar posts on the porch The conclusion: Love ’em!
As an aside, strolling around Cotuit yesterday, it hit me for the first time how few houses are anything but white, weathered cedar shakes or, like ours, neutrally stained shakes. It’s really pretty amazing. And, it might sound boring, but it feels right for the old village.
Inside, we could still see into the walls which were ready to close up after inspection. Like us, C&A went with sprayed-in dense foam insulation. Very tight and it even adds some structural integrity. The electrical work looks extremely well-done with super neat wiring reminds me of the cabling in a data center. (Wish I’d gotten a good picture; too late now.) The size of the living room is really impressive. It’s beautifully bright with the new windows.
I’m also impressed with the contractor’s speed. Carol sent me these pics on Thursday showing the wall board in place. That step forward feels like a real turning point; you can see light at the end of the tunnel. They should be in well before the summer.
Will keep you updated on the Red House and as we continue to tweak Laughing Gull Hill.
Noted Boston interior photographer, Joyelle West, arrived early Friday morning for an all-day photo shoot. Beth plans to pitch the story and photos to some magazines. We will share some of the results after Joyelle does her magic back at the studio. Styling most of the rooms over the last few weeks, the Design No. Five team worked their magic. Here are a few amateur shots of their work. Well save the rest for the real thing.
It looks like the books on the mantle will remain. And certainly the swimming babe painting will. She’s the work of San Luis Obispo artist T.S. Harris, whose specialty is mid-century snapshot-inspired paintings. Many, like this one, are close ups of women’s bathing costume-clad torsos. This gal is a great counterpoint to Larry the fisherman at the other end of the Cocktail Room.
It was fun to see the masters, with their extensive equipment, at work. Never have I have I been in a bathroom with so many women (and the day after International Women’s Day)!
The nice side-effect of the upcoming shoot was to be a spic and span and in perfect order home, perhaps for the first time ever. Or so I thought. It turns out that, as on a movie set, it’s a different story behind the camera. I particularly liked the jury rigged wood stack in the kitchen fireplace.
Oh well, things are back in pretty good order now.
On another front, I strolled down the street to the Red House yesterday for my weekly check-in. They’ve made some great progress on the outside with shingling and porch roof over the new door. I also peeked in the windows and it appears the wiring is all roughed in. And they’ve blown in dense foam insulation, just as we did, on the outside walls. I’m sure Carol and Adam will welcome us back inside one of these weekends.