A Coastal Estate with Endless Amenities

May 31, 2022

The rolling terrain of a coastal estate connects new and old buildings with activities the homeowners love.

Text by Meaghan O’Neill    Photography by Richard Mandlekorn


The initial plan was straightforward: add a screened porch to the main house at an estate in Osterville so its owners could take better advantage of their seaside location in warmer months. But as one idea led to another, the family decided to undertake a design intervention that extended well beyond a veranda.

Having acquired neighboring parcels over time, the family’s space had grown to nineteen acres. Historic remnants of an earlier estate dotted the property, which the owners, along with architects at Shope Reno Wharton and landscape architects from Hawk Design, used to develop a master plan that included painstakingly renovating a dilapidated eighteenth-century captain’s house to serve as guest quarters and replicating an open-air tea house and several gardens. Now, these charming references to the past sit among several additional outbuildings, including another guesthouse, yoga and art studios, and tennis courts.

The nucleus of the property, however, is the new 4,600-square-foot pool house. Situated at the highest elevation and aligned for stunning views of a salt marsh and the ocean, it’s the main activity hub and meeting spot for family and guests. “From a programming standpoint, it acts as a foundation,” says project architect Matthew Lopes of Shope Reno Wharton.

Inside, a professional kitchen with two rolling islands can be rearranged for intimate gatherings or large events. On the building’s opposite end, separated from the kitchen by a great room, an onsen—modeled on a Japanese bathing spa—offers “a very Zen-like, tranquil environment for reflection,” says Michael McClung, principal in charge and lead designer at Shope Reno Wharton. Underneath the pool house, a wine cellar and pickleball court offer additional ways to unwind.

Great thought was taken to create an immersive landscape that weaves together the buildings and gardens, lawns, groves, and terraces that were restored, rebuilt, or newly designed. Consciously devoid of defined walkways and routes (including driveways, which are hidden along the property’s perimeter), the grounds transition between formal and casual settings with meandering paths that allow passers-through to wander and discover, stumbling upon a bed of flowers here or a sculpture garden there. “The landscape creates a sense of permanence, separation where needed, and a background for all the different kinds of spaces,” says landscape architect David Hawk. “It doesn’t give everything away.”

In the end, the homeowners did get their screened porch—along with the property of their dreams. “It blossomed into so much more,” says McClung. “It’s a tapestry between buildings and landscapes.”

Project Team
Architecture: Matthew Lopes, Michael McClung, Shope Reno Wharton
Landscape design: David Hawk, Hawk Design
Builder: KVC Builders