Easy living house

We can learn a lot from houses. Some teach us the finer pionts of home maintenance, while others beckon us to slow down and appreciate life. This home leans toward the latter. Built with charm and ease of mind, its classic Cape Cod design harbors plenty of ideas for your place, too.

Architect Paul Kreuger decided on the locally grown Cape Cod style for this summer home near Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The one-level design hugs the landscape, lending itself to an interior free of steps and other barriers-and ensuring the empty-nest owners will enjoy the home well into their retirement years.

Most Cape Cods feature tight rooms and low ceilings with upstairs attics. But this home boasts an open-beam design with little in the way of interior walls, creating wonderful volume.

Laid-back living dictated the arrangement of rooms. The kitchen, dining room, living room, and porch-where the homeowners spend the most time-enjoy the best views of the ocean. Ceilings measuring as high as 16 feet provide the roominess of a much larger home-without the cleaning responsibilities.

Although a couple of rooms have rugs, the entire home’s floor is oak-treated with polyurethane so water dripping from a bathing suit isn’t a problem. "And the wood is the color of sand," Kreuger points out, "so you don’t worry about every grain of sand that might be on the floor."

When winds outside howl, the living room-with its fireplace and shelves full of books- provides an always-cozy respite.

Sunshine sates the living room and adjoining spaces through a large, south-facing window. Because of the window’s height, you can see light filtering through the trees almost as if you were outside.

No four-walled kitchen and separate dining room for this family. The oll-in-one room lets everyone participate in good cooking and lively chatter.

Time away from the scrub brush and dust mop is spent in the living room enjoying a toasty fire on a cool day, or outdoors exploring a nearby wildlife sanctuary. Boating, fishing, and bird watching come easy in these parts.

By deciding early on what furniture pieces would go into each room, the architect and homeowners were able to cut down on unnecessary floor space. "Everything we put into the house is a useful item," Kreuger says. The 13xl4foot master bedroom, for instance, accommodates a queen-size bed plus the usual dressers and nightstands-but no more.

Beadboard paneling finishes the home’s walls, ceilingseven the kitchen’s built-in desk and island-for on informal vacation-house feel. Easy-care laminate counters are perfect for no-hassle deanups.

The centrally located dining area extends to a large deck outside..

A three-wing plan (left) with zoned heating allows the guest bedrooms to be shut off when not needed, saving on energy costs.

Just as much thought went into the room’s location. The master suite, which angles away from the living room, enjoys wonderful views and separation from the guest quarters.

Ease also extends outside, where the landscaping is completely maintenance-free. Because fresh water is precious here, indigenous birch trees, Russian sage, and fescue grass make up most of the plantings. The landscaping choices were never a question-most of us would also trade in the lawn mower for a fishing pole.

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