Skip to main content


The blue color scheme—homeowner Anna’s favorite hues—can be found throughout the home.
The color palette was inspired by the Cape’s ubiquitous blue hydrangea.

Longtime admirers of ‘Riptide,’ a classic Colonial Revival on Shore Road, hire Polhemus Savery DaSilva to renovate and retain the home’s character—‘whale’s tail and all.’

Shore Road is renowned for its sweeping views of Chatham Harbor, the narrow barrier beach in the distance and the temperamental Atlantic Ocean beyond. It’s a landscape that has been shaped by time and tide, by man and nature for centuries.

The architecture along this ocean view drive has also become as iconic as the landscape itself with the building of many stately homes and Chatham Bars Inn.

One such architectural gem is Riptide—perhaps not as identifiable as Hydrangea Walk or as historic as the Joseph Lincoln House, or as large as newer contemporary homes facing the water—but this classic Colonial Revival is part of the charm of Shore Road. One of its longtime admirers was a couple who have owned a home near the Chatham Fish Pier for 15 years.

“My husband, Greg, had always been enamored with Riptide, which was just down the street from us,” says homeowner Anna. “He loved the architecture, and the fact that it is one of only a very few houses on Shore Road where the property starts at Shore Road and ends at the water.”

The Chicago residents were looking to purchase a second home on Shore Road to accommodate their growing, extended family. The house they were initially looking at on Shore Road would need some updating and renovating, so they met with Peter and Aaron Polhemus of Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders (PSD). The Polhemuses then invited the couple to view a renovation the firm had completed 10 years ago on Shore Road. Ironically, that renovation had been at Riptide.

“While we were touring the home, our Realtor and friend, unbeknownst to us, spoke to the owners to ask them if they had ever given any consideration to moving,” recalled Anna. “Long story short—we ended up purchasing the home from them.”

The home, originally built in the early 20th century in a bungalow style, had been renovated a few times since it was built, most dramatically to reflect the popularity of the Colonial Revival style. In the 1930s, floorboards, fireplace surrounds and paneling from an antique colonial house were reused in a renovation. PSD was hired yet again to instill a new owners’ stamp inside, this time along the theme of “Beacon Hill by the Sea.”

Initially, minor revisions were discussed, but “the snowball effect took shape. Before we knew it, we were in full, total renovation mode,” says Anna.

The couple’s wish list included a front entry facing the street (it previously faced the side); a larger family room, enlarging two small bedrooms upstairs, updating the bathrooms and opening the first floor living space to gain an uninterrupted water view from the front door to the back of the property, which faced Chatham Harbor. It was important to them to maintain the historic integrity of Riptide’s exterior.“We were adding some square footage to the home, and the team at PSD worked tremendously to ensure that, with the addition, Riptide still maintained its character—whale’s tail and all,” says Anna, referring to the existing marble sculpture visible from the road.

“When the family was touring the completed house and entered those bedrooms, the first thing the grandkids did was run to those window seats,” recalls DaSilva. “It was such a gratifying moment for me!”

An eagle weathervane—crafted of gold leaf copper—was scaled not just to the house, but to the expansive harbor beyond. The whale’s tail sculpture was relocated to the right side of the garden, where it remains a focal point.

Working with SLC Interiors of Hamilton, the homeowners achieved a “Beacon Hill By the Sea” look for the décor. The collaboration was done remotely, and in person at a “marathon meeting” at the Boston Design Center.

“Within a day, we developed room schemes for every part of the house,” says Tina Sylvester, interior designer and project manager.

Sylvester took into account the bungalow’s traditional and new millwork, original beehive oven, and fireplaces. She chose English antiques and heirloom reproductions to play off those features.

Brass fixtures give a traditional feeling to the updated modern marble bathrooms, as does the understated wallpaper in some rooms. The blue color scheme—Anna’s favorite hues—throughout the home are offset by crisp whites and yellow accents. “The yellow was added to complement and highlight the blues,” says Anna.

The color palette was inspired by the Cape’s ubiquitous blue hydrangea.

“There is something so quintessentially Cape Cod about hydrangeas and it really provided the perfect jumping off point for our color palette,” says Sylvester. “Anna told me from the start that she wanted her ‘home to feel happy.’ That bit of feedback really stuck with me throughout the entire process and often brought a smile to my face.

Leave a Reply