yellow doors provide bright notes against the
white walls, one of which leads to a sauna (left
top). The mudroom slices through the house
(left bottom), linking the front door and the
office. The house sits on a gentle rise surrounded
by an untended natural grass lawn (facing page)
in keeping with the spirit of the early Cape Cod
cottage. Porches sit directly on the ground,
allowing the house to more easily withstand the
salt air and dramatic winds.
tainless windows, white primer brushed on
pine walls, and wood floors painted light gray
provide a meditative palette.
“I am interested in restraint,” says Bonnell, “the kind that suggests there is more
there.” That is manifest in unusual and subtle details. The facade of the south wall, for
example, is not entirely flat, bending slightly
as it moves away from the “tower,” creating a
shadow line. Inside, running from kitchen to
living room, the wall refracts light and reinforces the tension of both closed container
and vessel open to the landscape. Bonnell
likens this to that “pinch of time” at dusk,
when the equality of outside and inside light
The sense of ease, the many transformations of light on unadorned walls throughout
the day, and the total lack of clutter (built-in
cabinets are everywhere) appear effortless.
Yet the sloping living room and kitchen ceilings that reach more than a dozen feet at the
taller ends demonstrate the architect’s teasing of the expected. Her two-story office has
a sleeping loft and so many windows as to
make artificial daytime lighting superfluous.
At night, the master bedroom is designed to
embrace the stars and the ocean. (“I love
the view of the night sky from our bedroom
aerie,” Cochran wistfully declares.)
So many new houses in this area proclaim an affinity with the local vernacular but
are really just McMansions with shingles. In
contrast, this small 1,800-square-foot house
is completely utilitarian and utterly elegant.
Client and architect, now hus-
band and wife, brought to
their house the experience
of lifetimes spent elsewhere
but were also true to their Cape DNA. They
accomplished the nearly impossible task of
creating a new house that has belonged here
for a very long time.