A homeowner in Osterville designs and builds a light-filled
space all her own.
by Kelly Chase » Photographs by Dan Cutrona
Susan Hodgkinson’s childhood memories of Cape Cod are nothing short of magical. When school let out, she and her cousins would flock to her grandmother’s old house in Centerville, where they’d ride bikes, swim in the ocean, and row boats. “We would row to a beach, which we decided to call “Shell Beach,” and it was privately owned by us, or so we told ourselves,” says Hodgkinson.
When Hodgkinson was looking into buying a summer home for her family, Cape Cod was an easy choice. She landed in Osterville, not far from her grandmother’s house—and “Shell Beach.” “I actually take my daughters [to the beach], and my son when he’s in town,” she says.
On the property, which she purchased in 2001, was a former horse barn that had been transformed into a one-car garage with two bedrooms. However, the structure was deteriorating, and Hodgkinson saw an opportunity to design a space all her own.
She worked with Archi-Tech Associates in Cotuit and E.J. Jaxtimer in Hyannis to design and build a house so her children could take over the main house when they visited. According to Hodgkinson, windows and natural light were her priority. “I wanted to be able to enjoy light and windows and hear every possible bird and catch the sun as it moved across the day,” says Hodgkinson.
According to Tim Luff, of Archi-Tech Associates, putting the staircase in the rear of the property was critical to achieving substantial natural light because it freed up the three other sides of the house for windows. Since there was a pre-existing structure, the footprint of the new build was confined to 1,500 square feet. Also, according to Luff, the new cottage couldn’t be overbearing. The result was a compact, Gambrel-style home.
“She saw this was her house that she would retire in and she wanted something comfortable that would fit a style that she wanted,” says E.J. Jaxtimer project manager Jeffrey Garrand. “But because it was a smaller house, it had to be clever.” Without compromising ceiling heights, Jaxtimer installed a gas fireplace on the first floor, and a ductless mini-split system for heating and cooling. Built-ins were also critical to maximizing storage. In the kitchen, Jaxtimer built a dusty blue china hutch, and in the living room, window seats are equipped with drawers.
Hodgkinson wanted the flow of the house to be airy and casual, which resulted in an open-concept kitchen, dining, and living area on the first floor. “It’s not a big house by any stretch, but in the kitchen, there’s a little area to sit and do work, and people can sit and have coffee or a meal,” she says. “I love that you can cook and see everybody.”
When Hodgkinson’s children visit, they are there to relax, but their time together often includes a long bike ride, or two. “We have a number of rides that we’ve named that we like to go on,” she says. Even when she is by herself, Hodgkinson prefers to pedal, especially when exploring new pockets of the Cape. “I love just packing a sandwich on a Saturday and seeing where I land,” she says. “Even when you get lost, you’re bound to bump into water and then a beautiful thing reveals itself—another beautiful shoreline.”
Builder and Landscaper
E.J. Jaxtimer Builder, Inc.
48 Rosary Lane, Hyannis
Archi-Tech Associates, Inc.
6 School St., Cotuit
Cabinetry for kitchen
31 Jonathan Bourne Drive, Pocasset
201 Yarmouth Road, Hyannis
Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design
56 Main St., Vineyard Haven
Cape Cod Marble & Granite Inc.
38 Rosary Lane, Hyannis