IT’S RARE that waterfront properties along Barnstable’s Route 6A come on the market, and when Ana and Craig Weatherley had the opportunity to buy one on the marsh side of Sandy Neck Beach with its own private stretch of strand, they felt supremely lucky. It might seem that the sublime, secluded setting — the lot is nearly 5 acres, much of it protected conservation land — would call for a home of grand measures. But the Weatherleys, who have a teenage son and daughter living with them and are frequently visited by their two college-age children, wanted their full-time home to be cozy.
“We aren’t ostentatious,” says Ana Weatherley, who notes that their wish list was simple and based on three essentials: open family living spaces, a great kitchen, and “a private area for Craig and I to enjoy a little quiet time.”
While the couple had intended to renovate the existing house on the property, the structure needed a lot of work. Osterville-based architect Doreve Nicholaeff designed a new house that suited the Weatherleys’ casual lifestyle and offered maximum views of the coastal landscape.
Route 6A is a National Historic District, and restrictions dictate that street-facing sides of houses have architectural elements appropriate to the region’s heritage. Nicholaeff designed a restrained cedar-shingle facade with minimal flourishes and modest-size windows. “The back of the house is much freer,” she says. “It really opens up toward the water with large expanses of glass on the first floor.”
“When you pull into the driveway,” says Ana, “the house is charming in a very quaint way.” From the exterior, the entrance is understated. “But as soon as you walk inside, you’re embraced with a real wow factor — this sensational breathtaking view,” she says.
The north-facing home’s vistas are most dramatic at sunset, but keeping the house sunny all day was a challenge. “It’s easiest to fill a home with light when it faces south,” explains Nicholaeff, who maximized the northern exposures while catching sun from the south through dormers and clerestory windows to ensure that all rooms have direct light.
“It’s very open and comfortable,” Nicholaeff adds. The main floor doesn’t have any formal rooms. Instead, it consists of a wide, airy space encompassing the kitchen, living, and dining areas.
From the front door, the immediate view is the living area’s magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows and doors overlooking the marsh and ocean beyond. To the right is another arresting element: a gracious, curved floating stairway. “Walking up and down the stairs should be a journey and an experience,” says Nicholaeff. “You’re able to take in the view the whole way up to the second floor.”
From the start of the project, interior designer Karen Quinn, based in West Cornwall, Connecticut, worked closely with Nicholaeff and the Weatherleys. They chose a soft color scheme based on the hues of the sand, sky, and water — a big departure for the couple, who had lived in a house filled with dark antique furniture, Oriental rugs, and lots of red. “Transitioning from that was a bit of a process for me,” says Ana. “I didn’t know I was a blue girl until Karen turned me on to it.”
Quinn selected furnishings that are beautiful “but not too precious. It’s the kind of place where you can take a nap anywhere,” she says. “While the colors are pale, we didn’t want anything to be dainty. Fabrics look ethereal but are pretty hardy. If Craig comes in wet from fishing, things aren’t going to get messed up.”
The decor comprises a mix of styles: In the living area, antique Gustavian chests flank the fireplace, and a large glass-topped coffee table with ornate gilt legs reflects the light from that tall glassy wall. In the kitchen, a narrow table of rustic reclaimed wood paired with a small, sleek custom banquette is a perfect perch for enjoying a morning cup of coffee. Family meals take place at a round dining table. The chairs, upholstered in a Lee Jofa fabric with a vibrant swirling blue and green pattern, were custom made, Quinn says, to ensure they’d be the right fit for the table, which accommodates 10.
“The house works so well for the way the family lives,” says Nicholaeff. “They are able to be connected when they’re having fun downstairs and very separate when they need their own space.” Upstairs, the kids’ rooms are at one end of the hall, while the master suite is at the other.
Just before the entrance to the suite, a short flight of stairs accesses a small space with a fireplace. Furnished with two comfortable chairs, it has sweeping water views and its own deck. “Craig and I enjoy fabulous sunsets from here. It’s our space to get away from it all,” says Ana. “I call it heaven.”
Jaci Conry is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.