A strong plan unifies the various building blocks, with the house based upon a simple T.
The north-south spine, which holds the central entrance hall, the architect’s office, and guest
room, intersects with the perpendicular crosspiece of living room and kitchen. The second-story master bedroom spans the entrance hall.
The T-square arrangement means the house is only one room deep, so that there is an
abundance of windows and lots of cross ventilation (there is no air conditioning). The plan
offers multiple vistas along the two spines, affording a variety of encounters with light and
shadows. As the happy client notes: “Cape Cod is all about light. This house captures light
perfectly.” The architect herself wanted a house “of light and air, without losing the feeling of
container, of shelter.”
The place evokes the essence of screen-door summers and casual living, yet the dwell-
ing’s calmness is more a statement of minimalism than farmhouse simplicity. Instead of clas-
sic Cape Cod shingles, Bonnell chose white clapboards to reflect the seaside light. Inside, cur-
architect-owner sheila Bonnell’s
office is the only room without a
sloped ceiling, but its 11-foot height
allows for plenty of natural light. The
loft, reached by a ladder, provides
extra sleeping space, particularly for
visiting grandchildren. Providence,
Rhode Island, artisan Nick Hollibaugh
designed the simple worktable.