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A Duneside Jewel

In the heart of the Cape, a bespoke summer retreat emerges by the dunes.

On a coveted stretch of land in Chatham, where the historic Old Village meets the ocean, sits a dreamy beach house overlooking the dunescape and ocean beyond. The newly built home replaces a weathering, out-of-place tear down that failed to capture the essence of its spectacular location.

When the property came up for sale, Aaron Polhemus, Owner and CEO of integrated architecture and construction firm Polhemus Savery DaSilva (PSD), saw its undeniable potential.

“We felt that the site was really underutilized with the structure that was previously there. It didn’t take full advantage of the views,” says Polhemus, who was undeterred by environmental challenges inherent to the duneside location. “I knew we could create something really special.” For the new homeowners, it was love at first sight.

The custom design/build is a modern retreat in a classic setting, where the front facade embraces the old charm of the surrounding neighborhood with classic shutters, cedar shingles, and a white picket fence. “The design concept is an updated version of a traditional summer cottage, one that would fit in well within the architectural context of the community,” says Sharon DaSilva, Senior Designer at PSD.

The design concept allows nature to take the spotlight with clean lines, neutral tones, and large sliding glass panels. A traditional front facade befits its classic Old Village setting, while the dune-facing exterior offers a contemporary take on a traditional beach cottage. Outdoor living spaces are elevated well above the flood zone, enhanced by a blend of native plantings and beach grass below.

On the dune-facing rear side, where the home is intentionally elevated above the flood zone,  the home edges toward contemporary, with panoramic ocean views that unfold beyond expansive windows and oversized sliding glass panels. The interior selections, courtesy of Carolyn Thayer Interiors, further enhance the home’s sense of place, with hues of sand and sea. 

“All of the colors were selected to work in concert with the surroundings,” says Thayer. Anchored by light-toned oak flooring reminiscent of sun-kissed sands, Thayer’s design features a neutral color palette with natural fibers, and carefully curated furnishings that speak to a beachside retreat. Balancing contemporary aesthetics with timeless comfort, the interior selections were one of the many draws for the new homeowners, who kept all of Thayer’s selections as is.

Echoing the quiet simplicity of the interiors, the landscape design takes a minimalist approach, where the use of native plantings pay homage to the site’s natural wonders. “The house appears to be in the dune itself,” says Rob Calderaro, Senior Landscape Architect at PSD. “Just seeing what was already there, it’s hard to ignore.”

A gem nestled by the dunes, the home epitomizes a quintessential Cape Cod getaway, where pristine natural beauty is highlighted by intentional simplicity. “The view is the star of the show, and everything was designed to enhance it,” Thayer affirms. Mindfully positioned and curated for coastal living, the home resonates with its surroundings like it has always been there.

(Architect/Builder/Landscape Architect: Polhemus Savery DaSilva (PSD), Interior Design: Carolyn Thayer Interiors, Kitchen Design: Classic Kitchens & Interiors, Photography: Jared Kuzia)

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