In 2001, the present owners purchased the house on Barcliff Avenue with the intent of restoring and transforming the historic house into their new summer home. The original two story home, then located in East Harwich, was constructed circa 1800. According to town records, the home was moved to its present location on Barcliff Avenue in 1820. A significant two story addition was added to the east end of the original house in the 1920’s adding (2) bedrooms upstairs, a new staircase, and additional living space to the ground floor. In the late 1950’s, another addition was constructed on the north and west sides providing the home with an updated kitchen, dining, and laundry areas by grafting a single story structure on to the existing garage and occupying one of the garage bays.
The goals of the project were to restore the historic integrity of the home, create a new master suite on the ground floor level, and to provide updated living spaces. The program included formal living and dining spaces, new kitchen with a breakfast area, great room, (3) guest rooms, master suite, dormitory room, and an office.
In order to maintain the historic integrity of the house and to stay within the allowable site coverage ratio, we decided to demolish the 1950’s portions of the house that included the two-car garage, kitchen, and family room. We also removed the existing building systems, interior finishes, windows, roof, and siding. Once demolition was completed, the task of shoring up the older structure was started. The existing building had no foundation to speak of and was simply supported by a double wide course of bricks set roughly 30” into the sand. We shored up the house and then carefully replaced the existing foundation with a new block foundation wall with spread footings that extended below the frost line.
Our primary design goal was to create a seamless design, where the new sections of the house would not be discernible from the older historic sections. Once the main structure was secured, the new addition housing the kitchen, family room, and dormitory room above were constructed. The first floor of the house was reconfigured to accommodate the new master suite, parlor and dining room. The existing stair cases to the second floor were restored and the bedroom spaces above were refurbished and (2) new full baths added. The existing enclosed porch was removed during the demolition and was replaced with a covered porch that wrapped around the front and sides of the house. We used this element to link the new single car garage with the main house, as well as to provide direct access from the front yard to the rear gardens.
It was important to us to maintain the historic character of the house. This was accomplished by not only restoring the house back to its original lines, but also through the selection of building materials. The house was clad on the front façade with painted clapboards. The remaining sides of the house and roof were clad in cedar shakes exposed to weather. Masonry from the original chimney was salvaged and re-installed in the new fire boxes and hearths for both working fireplaces. Interior finishes included, bead board, tongue and groove wainscoting, built-in cabinetry, crown moldings, and wide pine floors.
The home is decorated with a number of period antique heirloom pieces including family portraits painted in 1860 of Franklin and Mercy Howes, a sea captain and his wife who lived in Chatham on Cross Street.
The completed project was awarded one of the inaugural Community Preservation Awards by the Chatham Historical Society.