Amazing views. We knew that they were there and it would take a lot of work to expose them and to re-imagine and open the house to capture them. Our challenge from our clients, through our studio – Red House Design — was to take an existing 1980s modified Cape home, set on a hilltop with long-range southern views obscured by dense trees and overgrown landscape, and do just that.
The homeowners loved the property, its location and surrounding landscape, but the structure was dated and dark and had to be reworked to fit their indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Awkward rooflines, the first thing you see from the driveway, give a haphazard first impression that feels more “back of house” than “front of house”.
The orientation of the house on the site seemed backward, with the front door hidden in the rear and the overall living experience cut off from the spectacular setting.
Existing windows were small, low-ceilinged rooms were cramped and dark, and a staircase cut the main living areas in two. The master bedroom was the sole space awarded views and light.
This project was also an opportunity to address under-performing insulation, failed windows and an outmoded heating system. The renovation yielded an energy-efficient, tight house that exceeded current building codes for environmental standards.
We set out to create a spare, modern, open and light-filled home, with large shared living areas and private spaces for the owners and guests alike, without expanding the existing footprint. Relocating the staircase and moving rooms – the kitchen, master bedroom, and living/office spaces – allowed for more light, views and large spaces.
A new screen porch took advantage of sun, breezes and views in three directions, while connecting indoor and outdoor living experiences.
A series of retaining walls would allow for outdoor entertaining spaces along with a spa and large pool, extending the living areas into the landscape. Natural rock outcroppings were exposed and included in the landscape plan, along with clearing and thinning of trees to open the views, reworking the grading and extensive plantings.
With all of that accomplished, this Hilltop House is now an oasis of calm and modernity, open living and outdoor beauty.