When I saw this beautiful Italianate-style house with the bright yellow door, I had to learn more about it. Known as “The Moorings,” it was built in 1864 and sits on Main Street near downtown Chatham in Cape Cod.
The current owners hired the architecture and construction firm Polhemus Savery DaSilva to restore the house to the way it looked in historical photographs. Here’s how the front of the house looked before the renovation began a few years ago:
It didn’t look bad, but a lot of changes had been made to the house over the years that took away from its original character. According to the PSD website:
“Antique photographs allowed precise recreation of the historical details of the unique entry hood-roof and brackets that had been removed. An arched attic window that had at some point been removed was replicated and installed. The decorative brackets that line the gables and overhangs were replicated and replaced in areas where they had been removed.”
Here’s one of the old photographs of the house, circa 1918, that they’re referring to:
Isn’t it fun to see old photos like that? The house used to have shutters and a more elegant gable above the front door. Here’s a close-up of the restored exterior (love it!):
The floor in the entry hall is new but was designed to look like it had been there from the beginning:
The wood paneling in this room is a show-stopper:
“The existing dining and living room wood floors, detailed wall paneling and ornate fireplaces were salvaged and refinished.”
Here’s how the kitchen looked before:
For their work on this house, they were awarded the 2010 Chatham Preservation Award.
It’s believed that one of the original owners, Rear Admiral Charles Rockwell, built the octagonal gazebo on the side of the house in the early 1900s. Here’s a closer look at it, which is where I’d be sitting right now if I could:
It makes me happy to see an old house like this get the kind of thoughtful restoration it deserves. For more photos and information about the remodel, visit the Polhemus Savery DaSilva website. (Photography by Brian Vanden Brink.)
BTW, last year I featured a house PSD designed and built known as “Champlain’s Bluff“–a gorgeous summer home in Cape Cod:
To thank me, the architect John DaSilva graciously sent me an autographed copy of his new book, called Shingled Houses in the Summer Sun. I was pretty excited when it showed up in my mailbox. With a title like that, I knew I’d love it.
Not only are the houses in the book gorgeous to look at, but it’s interesting to read his thoughts on architecture. For example, he writes:
“The houses we create should be fresh and of our time, yet they should also evoke the familiar and the timeless–they should be new and old at the same time. They should be extraordinary in their spatial and expressive qualities but also skillfully crafted and comfortably connected to the ordinary and the everyday. They should be restrained and exuberant at the same time; elegant, but whimsical and fun.” -John R. DaSilva