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A Waterfront Classic, Summoning Memories of a Homeowner's Childhood, Rises on Cape Cod

By Michael McCarthy | November 30, 2020 | Home & Real Estate

For his clients who wanted to rebuild a home on Cape Cod, Hutker’s team designed a space that successfully takes advantage of 270-degree views along the waterfront.

It’s an amalgam of images falling in line with perfect moments: the spray to salt water, the allure of ancient dunes, the shadow-casting walks at dusk, the porch gatherings with family and friends as night settles on the coast. There’s a reason people have come here for decades. It’s where our better selves emerge.

Architect Mark A. Hutker, FAIA, founder and partner of Hutker Architects (, asks each client to describe, as if in a diary, an imagined perfect day in their home. “We listen actively to their responses, seeking to discern the experiences that bring them joy, and then we’re able to design spaces that best take advantage of those desired moments,” he says. “Style is the problem solved.”

Every room has at least two exposures to water and light.

The client grew up summering on the Cape and specifically in the neighborhood where a new home would rise. “They have lots of childhood memories and wished to pay forward for their young adult children and future grandchildren,” he says. “They wanted a place with flexible autonomy, where they could retreat as a couple, but also make new memories with a full family—and extended family with homes nearby.”

The architect says his team uses the phrase “new regional vernacular” to describe the new homes they design. “What we mean goes beyond a particular style, seeking to evolve the language and heritage while maintaining a sense of place,” he says. “That often leads to distilling and reimagining the shapes and materials of New England architecture into their most essential forms.”

The kitchen is perfect for budding chefs and for family gatherings.

For the new home, Hutker and his team had to consider a couple of factors: There was a historic home on the property, which had a stone-clad ground floor with limited light and views of the water. The good news: The buildable area was centered within 270-degree waterfront views. “Our client wanted an aesthetic handshake with this history and with neighboring architecture,” says Hutker. “Our big idea was to effectively lift the top two floors and move it aside while creating a new ground floor with large window and door apertures.” They drafted a delightfully airy and more open plan. The designers also put the upper floor back in place and added a carriage house as a separate family wing. Skilled carpenters from C.H. Newton Builders ( revived unique details from the original home, including steam-bent shingles and chamfered beams and columns.

Inside, Hutker says the main living spaces are situated to take advantage of the water setting—in fact, every room has at least two exposures to ocean views and light. Each bedroom also has an en suite bath. The revised layout includes a combination screen porch and three-season room abutting the two-sided fireplace in the living room.

Living spaces give the family the ability to congregate or find solitude.

Hutker notes the home’s floor plan gives the family the ability to be together yet separate, as each space has nooks carved out for a range of year-round passions like reading. The same theme applies to the kitchen, where a breakfast niche unites views of pool activities, the ocean and, critically, whoever is milling around or cooking. The entire space represents the balance of a master chef’s domain and a warm family kitchen. Each bedroom is laid out among smaller sitting and family spaces, which means the sleep zones can be used separately or as suites as the family evolves.

Outside, the pool—set in a central area between the main house, a rebuilt boat house and a new guest space— occupies a sanctuary from prevailing winds. “The building locations offer a handsome frame for the pool terrace essentially situated in a big exterior room,” says Hutker. “The deck, porch and terrace areas blend gracefully from inside living areas out into the lawn and garden.”

The home’s exterior evokes classic Cape charm.

Designer Frank Chimero once said people ignore design that ignores people. Which goes back to Hutker’s brilliant approach to working with his clients and their imagined perfect day. Those visions, combined with the magic of great architecture, make homes we love for life. As for his Cape Cod clients, Hutker says, “They love how the home lives—and how it looks like it has somehow always been there.”

Interior designer Richard Hallberg used lots of neutral colors in each room, allowing nature’s hues to complement spaces.


Single-family home

Cape Cod

Hutker Architects

C.H. Newton Builders

Richard Hallberg Interior Design

Photography by: Brian Vanden Brink