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Sea Glass: Inside a Contemporary Beach Home

Contemporary Beach Home on Cape Cod

Within a seaside enclave lined with hydrangea and traditional beach cottages clad in cedar shingles turned silver-gray by salt air and the passage of time, a contemporary beach house has emerged.

Contemporary living room on the beach

The retreat, designed and built by Architectural Design, Inc. (AD), sits atop a coastal dune overlooking the famous Brewster flats, where it has a front-row seat to dramatic shifts in the shoreline of Cape Cod Bay. The tidal patterns of this remarkable locale bring cool blue depths or walkable, mile-long sandbars that seem to stretch to the horizon, depending on the hour. It’s a spectacular and ever-changing setting.

“Every day, nature puts on a different light show,” says AD architect Peter Haig, AIA. “When the tide is out, you’ve got the beach and a whole set of colors that comes in from the flats.”

This house was designed to drink it all in.

Sitting room on the beach

With its profusion of glass, sleek lines, impeccable finishes and trimless detail throughout the interior architecture, the second home is unequivocally sophisticated. Yet it is also exuberant, with a joyful air no doubt instilled by owners Bill and Kim Kerlin.

Contemporary Beach Home on Cape Cod

The property is actively enjoyed indoors and out. The Kerlins scour the sand for sea glass, have a “special spot” for collecting clamshells (which then line their drive), garden, cook and host yearly girls’ weekends. The home is chic, but lively, with decks at every level that bask in the views and the path of the sun. Shades of peacock, cobalt, aqua and Florida pink infuse the paint and furnishings of each room, while the walls are kept gallery-white to frame an art collection bursting with color and, sometimes, humor.

Colorful beach house bedroom

Above, the master bedroom, painted in Ben Moore’s Aqua Marina, boasts a panoramic view of the bay and a massive walk-in closet.

Colorful beach house bedroom

Every room gets a view—and a color. The impact of which brought tears to the eyes of Project Manager Bradford Lussier once fully realized. Above, a bedroom in Ben Moore’s Peacock Feathers.

The residents had a clear vision for the décor, and the choices were a joint effort. “Everything that Bill and I pick—whether it’s art or the furniture—are things that relax you, and make you smile,” explains Kim.

Contemporary glass kitchen

Above, Classic Kitchens & Interiors provided the homeowner’s “dream kitchen” which has a backsplash of Silver Leaf Antique tile that ascends to the ceiling, Woodmode cabinetry, a Wolf pro-hood, Quartz countertops 2.5 inches thick with mitred edges, and veining that continues on the waterfall edge.

Glass is the material of choice. It graces the cerulean tile of the kitchen backsplash and master shower, the full bayside façade of the exterior, the “tower of light” of the stair hall, and Classic Kitchens & Interiors’ decorative back-painted glass cabinetry, which is revealed in an ultra customized kitchen then carried throughout the home, explains Rebecca Brown, Design Manager and Certified Kitchen Designer of Classic Kitchens & Interiors. The look is fresh and contemporary, but not too precious.

Contemporary glass bathroom for beach house

The shower and commode doors and surrounds by Cape & Islands Glass are outfitted with sliding barn door hardware. Privacy films were added to the windows and the glass around the toilet. In-floor lighting serves as a nightlight. The Kohler Reve freestanding tub, from Supply New England, is the centerpiece.

While the homeowners’ taste is thoroughly modern, AD was careful not to do anything too controversial on the neighborhood side of the home and by the beach access path. While “all glass” was the preference whenever possible, says Haig, they were sensitive to neighbors by integrating “a nod to Cape Cod roof forms from that side.”    

Contemporary Beach Home on Cape Cod

The goal for the landscaping was to “create a house that comes off the dune and out of the beach environment and transitions to a slightly more contemporary setting with a lot of color,” says Ponderosa’s General Manager Peter McKendree.

Ponderosa Landscaping struck some middle ground for the approach, creating crushes of color with perennial beds and installing all-granite custom stone elements and a contemporary courtyard illuminated with custom lighting recessed into the stone. The landscape, together with vibrant turquoise doors, hints at the style that awaits inside and from the shore.

From the water, “it’s definitely a house that stands out,” says Kim, clearly amused that they’ve given beachcombers something to smile about.

Architects: Architectural Design, Inc.

Contractor: AD Build, LLC

Landscape Construction: Ponderosa Landscaping

Landscape Architecture:  Hawk Design

Kitchen and Cabinetry:  Classic Kitchens & Interiors

Tile, fixtures: Kitchen & Bath Gallery / Supply New England

Shower Glass: Cape & Islands Glass, Inc.

Photography: Greg Premru


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