It’s rare when homeowners choose to raze a main house and keep the sheds. But that’s what the owners of a large parcel on the Massachusetts seashore opted to do. “The house was clearly a teardown,” says architect Jacob Albert of Albert, Righter & Tittmann, “but there was a barn and a series of dilapidated farm sheds on the side that they wanted to save.”
Albert designed the 2,800-square-foot home in the tradition of New England Shingle-style seacoast houses. “The clients wanted it to be modest, so that led us to a gambrel roof, which has a low eave and a roofline that makes it look like one story,” he says. A wide overhang shelters huge windows that run across the main first floor living spaces. Cedar shingles, stained brown, weather well and need little maintenance.
Inside, the open floor plan comes alive thanks to crisp white trim and molding details throughout, as well as new materials and finishes that bridge the gap between traditional and modern. The kitchen is compact and contemporary, with glass-front white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, Vermont soapstone countertops, and a pop of bright green in the ceramic subway tile backsplash.
In the tradition of the rural connected house, the main building was joined with the sheds and barn, forming a large center courtyard. The outbuildings were remodeled with the same exterior materials, but they remain more rustic. “It’s natural that the main house would be a little fancier than the service shed,” Albert says. “A new breezeway connects the house to one of the middle sheds, which serves as an entryway, or a gate lodge. Two more sheds for garden equipment flank the entry. An old barn, the end piece, was converted to a loftlike family hangout space. The building already had a basement, which comes in handy for extra storage. The modern farm compound started out as a vacation home, but the family loved it so much they now reside on the coast full time.