By Lisa Cavanaugh
Exterior photographs by Dan Cutrona
Interior images by Greg Premru
I had never seen any place so beautiful,” says Ellen Blasio, of the first time she experienced Chatham more than 30 years ago, when her then-fiancé, Rob Blasio, first introduced her to the town. “I was coming to Massachusetts to meet Rob’s family, and he took me to the Captain’s House Inn, which was so lovely.”
Despite Ellen’s Midwestern roots, and careers that took the couple to Texas, they became determined to make Chatham part of their lives. “We rented here off and on for decades, and the boys grew up looking forward to visiting in the summer,” says Ellen. “When we finally decided to invest in a second home, we knew it would be in Chatham.”
The Blasios found an available property in early 2017, a uniquely designed structure that offered one of the things Ellen had on her wish list—a view of the water. “I needed to see water from at least one room, even just a sliver,” she says, “and this house had a view of Stage Harbor from the roof deck.”
For Rob, the home presented some very interesting possibilities. “It wasn’t a traditional Cape,” he says. “There wasn’t a single square room in the house. It almost seemed like a chalet in Vermont. It was very cool and different.” But after a year or two of living seasonally in the home, the Blasios decided they wanted to make a few changes. “The kitchen was raised up by a step, and we wanted to make it level. That is how the whole renovation started—with the plan to lower our kitchen counter,” says Rob.
They reached out to the team at SV Design, a fully integrated architecture, interior design and landscape design company with locations in Chatham and Beverly, to complete what they thought would be a simple project. “When I first met the Blasios, the plan was to address the island in the kitchen,” says SV Design associate principal Leslie Schneeberger, AIA, who runs the Cape Cod office and spearheaded the design of the Blasios’ house, along with architectural project manager Katelyn Manfredo.
“But once we looked at the home as a whole, we discovered many other areas they wanted to improve upon.” Schneeberger felt that the home, which was done in a quasi-prairie style not often found on the Cape, had great potential. “It was a really creative house, and we loved the essence of the style, but we found some spots in the interior that had been unrealized.” The project then morphed into a major renovation, with plans for opening up some aspects of the inside while defining other spaces within the home. “The original home was very open-concept and the Blasios found that sound transferred from floor to floor,” says Schneeberger.
“So while we didn’t want to close it down completely, we implemented partitions and new ceilings to modify certain rooms and created a new, more peaceful aesthetic.”
The design team tackled not only the creation of a private office on the third floor, but also a redo of the master suite, adding a walk-in closet and larger bath by closing in part of a second-floor hallway. “We found that we were successful in filling back in some of the negative space,” says Schneeberger.
The project also included a complete renovation of the kitchen, designed by Hyannis-based Classic Kitchens & Interiors. The entire space was reworked, including lowering the kitchen down a step to align with the main level. The redesign improved the flow with the adjacent living area and offered more flexibility to the layout. “The overall style changed to a more modern and bright feel,” says Ishelle Collins, designer for Classic Kitchens & Interiors. “We also took advantage of the high ceilings and stacked additional wall cabinets for more storage,” says Collins.
The Blasios, who love to cook, requested smart storage, ample counter space, paneled appliances to blend with the cabinetry and seating at the island. “We are so glad we ultimately went with the large-scale renovation,” says Ellen. “The flow is so much more cohesive for us. We also lightened up the interior with white paint, which made it feel more ‘Cape Coddy’ as well.”
“The redesign really created more peace and quiet throughout the house,” adds Rob. “What I find amazing about the space is that depending on the season, the light changes from month to month. There are so many windows now, and the result is incredible.” An entirely new interior entryway, created out of what had previously been a front porch, offers a welcoming atmosphere. Now the residents have a dedicated foyer, and no longer walk directly into the living space. With the addition of some local art, including pieces from The Nines Art Gallery, Focus Gallery, All Points Beautiful and Addison Art Gallery, the Blasios have turned their unique home into their perfect Chatham retreat.
“We are close to town, but also feel nicely isolated,” says Rob. “We love to be here not only in the summer, but also for the holidays whenever we can. It is always so relaxing.”
Ellen, who first learned to love Chatham as a visitor, now feels completely at home in her adopted town. “The house gives us such a feeling of calm and peacefulness,” she says. “We just love being here and enjoying the beauty of the Cape, and now we feel we can enjoy it so much more in our reimagined home.”
Bannon Custom Builders
66 Tupper Road, Sandwich
Classic Kitchens & Interiors
127 Airport Road, Hyannis
693 Main St., Chatham
Local artwork, photography, and home decor
Addison Art Gallery
43 South Orleans Road, Orleans
All Points Beautiful
595 Main St., Chatham
The Chatham Home
443 Main St., Chatham
Daniel Maher Stained Glass
147 Sherman St., Cambridge
595 Main St., Chatham
The Grey House
515 Route 28, Harwich Port
490 Main St., 508-945-4545
The Nines Art Gallery
562 Main St., Harwich Port, 215-429-6993
Stringe Gallery Art & Antiques
2896 Main St., Brewster