Cape Cod’s Old Silver Shed Decorated for The Holidays
November 6, 2020
Text by Jennifer Blaise Kramer Photography by Greg Premru Produced by Karin Lidbeck Brent
Designer Sandra Cavallo is good at dosing out daily magic. She has photographed hundreds of dreamy snapshots of her home for Instagram, mesmerizing nearly 300,000 followers of @oldsilvershed. That shed is a 1905 Folk Victorian that was completely run-down when the Cavallos found it twenty years ago on a spit of land in West Falmouth, Massachusetts. Cavallo renovated every inch and built an addition, nearly quadrupling the house’s size and transforming it into a classic, turn-of-the-century, New England Shingle-style home. At Christmastime, she dials up the décor even more—not just for social media but for her grown kids, who’ve witnessed this elflike magic their whole life. And 2020 will be no exception.
“This holiday we’re all looking for escapism,” she says. “We’re stuck at home, and we want it to be festive.” The Old Silver Shed is undeniably festive no matter the season, with its silver-gray weathered shingles, glowing lanterns, and rustic beams. Vignette-like spaces include a campy, porch-style guest room with a bed that appears to swing from the ceiling, and a kitchen nook with double Dutch barn doors that fling open to the deck. At 6,000 square feet, it’s not much of a shed anymore, but Cavallo’s dedication to detail meant she kept original ceiling heights, opting for intimate spaces over modern great rooms. “I wanted the coziness of a cottage with [similar] proportions, not soaring high ceilings,” she says. Fortunately, that cottage style lends itself perfectly to capturing the holiday spirit.
Over the years, Cavallo would send her twins off to school, and when they’d return home, the tree would be fully decorated with twinkling lights and glass ornaments. Sparkle dust would be sprinkled throughout the house. The elves had come. Now, nearly two decades later, she’s still making it shimmer when her kids come home from college, layering in lots of greenery, candlelight, and cozy fireside places to catch up. “I go hard,” she says. “I make it magical.”
Frequently embracing a woodland holiday theme, Cavallo fills her already-neutral home with lots of texture and natural objects with minimal color. Soft, “snowy-like” sheepskins are layered everywhere. Woodland animals rest under glass cloches, while an owl sits on a vintage console, surrounded by branches. Woodsy accent chairs pull up to the kitchen table. The dining room is adorned with winter-white candles and a centerpiece wreath
of cut greens.
Interior design: Sandra Cavallo, Old Silver Shed
Architectural design: Sandra Cavallo, Kim McMakin
Builder: Tom Sederman, Sederman Builders
Landscape design: Suzanne Apellaniz, Artistic Garden Design