Mattapoisett Beach House

c 1979 Renovation
After a successful redesign of their main home in Boston, Kathy was asked to return to create a family summer retreat for her clients that would bring a "New England meets California" vibe to a formerly dark and dated house on Buzzards Bay.
Second Time Around


Originally recruited via her profile page on Houzz, Kathy first helped our clients reimagine and remodel their historic Brookline duplex with a fresh and sophisticated minimalism.


Two years later, while on the hunt for the family’s second home, Kathy was involved from day one in vetting a stunning piece of land for the new home in Mattapoisett, on the South Coast of Massachusetts, with sweeping views of Buzzards Bay.

Coastal Transformation


The challenge was the existing house. Built in 1979, the “reproduction” Colonial Gambrel-style home was filled with dark brick and heavy raised paneling, with low ceilings and a layout that completely turned its back on the water view.


The clients’ request for a “New England meets California” vibe was only going to be possible with a complete transformation. Kathy envisioned the new living spaces instantly, which would all want to face East to the Bay and the rising sun. Similarly, every bedroom upstairs and down would also want to have the same breathtaking water view.


Local architect, Will Saltonstall, who’s firm is known for this type of site-sensitive coastal transformation, was brought in to open the back of the house while also raising the entire second floor to allow for more generous first-floor ceilings without impacting the overall scale of the home.

Thoughtful Minimalism


On the interior, the clean, beachy vibe required thoughtful minimalism. That started with character-grade wide white oak plank floors throughout, layered with a light, waterborne stain and finish. To minimize wallboard, Kathy designed a trim package including nickel-gap wood cladding running both horizontally and vertically on the walls in true “surf shack” spirit. Interior door and cabinet hardware both have an unfussy, unlacquered brass finish with a patina that will deepen over time. Fireplace surrounds are custom concrete, cast in place by a New England artisan, while the dining table is grounded by sculptural, cast concrete pedestals brought in from California.


With our clients' love of cooking, wine, and entertaining, the kitchen had to be neat, tailored, and highly functional with flat panel cabinetry, recessed cabinet pulls, state of the art appliances, wine storage, and a dramatic custom oak range hood featuring cascading “cathedrals” of natural oak grain.


Motorized solar shades diffuse the strong morning light, provide privacy at night, and then disappear back into the soffits when not in use, allowing the vibrant blues and greens from the seascape beyond to take center stage

Designed for Real Life


In an otherwise neutral and sun-bleached color palette, the sea is echoed in the wavy blue wallpaper by Christopher Farr in the first-floor powder room, and in accents of navy blue that lend a subtle maritime quality to the brass light fixtures in the “backstage” laundry and mudroom areas. Designed for real life, there’s a cozy corner for side-by-side dog crates for the family’s beloved English bulldogs, and a generous mudroom with oversized hooks for sandy towels, beach bags, and sports gear.


A truly modern highlight of the floor plan is his-and-hers offices that provide the ultimate work-from-home experience. One of the owners runs a business from a cozy fireplaced library on the first floor, while the other enjoys a sun-filled space in a third-floor tower.


The minimalist vibe continues in the bedrooms, with each space enlivened by a unique identifying feature – from a Moroccan woven chandelier to a grass cloth feature wall with a swirling Scandinavian design. The clients wanted spaces where both their college-aged kids and guests will be comfortable both now, and in years to come, as another generation of family makes warm weather memories together in this unforgettable house by the sea.


Project Team

Interior Design: Kathy Marshall Design

Architect: Saltonstall Architects

Builder: Lars V. Olson Fine Home Building LLC

Appliances: Sub-Zero Wolf

Cabinetry: Dutch Made Custom Cabinetry

Paint: Farrow & Ball

Drapery and Motorized Shades: MRV Exclusives

Photography: Greg Premru