A Drab-to-Fab Cottage Transformation in Jamestown
A working woman wanted a place to call her own: beachy and tranquil, but without the kitsch.
There are renovations, and then there are Renovations: transformations so extensive that the finished product is nearly indistinguishable from its original form. It’s safe to say this Jamestown cottage falls into the capitalized category.
Once a drab brown-shingled number that likely didn’t turn the heads of many passersby, it’s now a showstopper that reflects the owner’s dual loves of gardening and the beach. The overhaul was spearheaded by architects Ron DiMauro and Laurie Keene of DiMauro Architects.
“Our goal was to keep it a quaint, cute cottage, but bring it to life for the owner and make it a happy haven for her to be in,” says Keene.
Revitalizing the house meant not only giving it curb appeal but also reworking the interior.
Led by Pastore Builders, construction began with a complete revamp of the first-floor layout that included moving the fireplace from the center of the house to an exterior wall and relocating a powder room. Square footage was added in the form of a sweet new master suite.
One of the goals of this cottage renovation was to give the owner a peaceful oasis to come home to each day.
“We wanted the space to feel bright and happy,” Keene says.
To do that, the architects kept finishes light and relaxed: soft white and blue paint, planked ceilings, classic nickel hardware and light wood floors. Shifting the fireplace opened up the first-floor layout, which not only made for better flow and easier entertaining, but also added to the laidback vibe.
Just off the living room, the new master suite presented its own design challenge. While the creation of a bedroom and bathroom was simple enough, DiMauro and Keene wanted to maintain the house’s small-scale cottage feel while adding 300 square feet to its footprint. The resulting addition hugs the back corner of the cottage so it’s barely visible from the street. A cupola-topped mechanical room placed cleverly on the side of the house further shields the expansion, while also giving the owner some added privacy. The suite has a luxe feel that sets it apart from the rest of the house, thanks to cathedral planked ceilings, oversized windows that look out to the gardens and Italian cream marble countertops in the bathroom.
Greens and Gravel
While the cottage’s interior is awash in ocean-inspired blues, the tea leaf-green exterior nods to the owner’s green thumb. To transform the grounds, DiMauro and Keene enlisted landscape architect Martha Moore. She, along with Matarese Landscape Construction, added a front herb garden, tan gravel and a fence detailed with circular cutouts that mimic those on the back deck’s railing. A dog run for the owner’s two black Labradors was added along the side of the house to ensure the gardens remain untrampled.
The facade also got a dramatic update. To tone down the roofline, the shed dormer was converted to a gable and the front door was recentered under the new peak. The change also elongated both upstairs bedrooms, providing nooks for additional beds and side tables. Upping the cottage detailing even more, DiMauro and Keene topped the roof with cedar shingles and installed double-hung windows, oversized corbels and onion lanterns on each side of the front door to welcome guests.
The finished product is a complete transformation that, most importantly, didn’t compromise the character of the cottage or its neighborhood, according to Keene.
“We tried to work as much as we could with what we had in the house and then add to it without it looking out of place,” she says. “Redefining the entry, combined with everything we did inside, really makes the difference for the look of the house and makes the whole thing sing.”