Summer Central

A rustic pool barn and pool rewrite Cape Cod family fun

Custom Pool barn

Boston Design Guide Magazine featured our recently completed barn renovation project in their 2020 Cape & Island Edition.

Read an excerpt of the article here; Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to the article in its original form.

Builder: Cape Associates
Architect: Peter McDonald Architect
Landscape Architect: Kimberly Mercurio Landscape Architect
Photography: Michael Conway
Writer: Sandy Giardi

barn patio

The moment homeowner/part-time designer Jill Morelli bought a salvaged soapstone sink from a Boston restoration store, she had a call to make. She phoned her husband to say, “I think we’re doing the barn, because I just bought the sink.”

The two had been . debating about whether to restore the barn on their Cape Cod property and turn it into a cool, multipurpose pool house/garage to accompany a new pool terrace and stow their dune-riding Jeep. Having just finished renovating their main home, they hadn’t quite decided to take the plunge. The soapstone sink sealed the deal, and they’re glad it did. The family’s pool barn and outdoor oasis has been a game changer for summers on Cape Cod.

The sink would sit in storage for a year or two before architect Peter McDonald of Peter McDonald Architect would write it into his design plan and Cape Associates would build it into the kitchen of a new pool house/garage. But first, they’d assess if the existing barn could be used, says McDonald, which is always the preference. Once it was determined to be beyond hope, Cape Associates save the “special and unique beams of the old barn,” says President and CEO Matt Cole, to be later repurposed for outdoor furniture. Meanwhile, McDonald, a contextualist, looked to the shape and details of the old barn (i.e. the roof edge and faces) to inform a new design that would “resurrect an old form yet treat it in a modern way,” he shares.

Together with the homeowner, who, by all accounts brought out the best in this project and operated as an extension of the design team, a clear vision was hatched for a rustic but modern poolside barn that would “frame the property nicely, connecting the backyard to the home, and create an entertaining space for those enjoying the pool or sipping a cocktail in the barn,” says Cole. The no-fuss aesthetic would mingle cedar and horizontal shiplap, exposed rafters and wall studs, oversized hardware, less-is-more lighting, non-slip concrete floors and no fewer than four vertical grain cedar barn doors—all with a slightly different design and copper screens.

The barn doors were a given from the start, as the homeowners wanted a structure that opens wide to the pool and landscape in the summers and closes in the winter. The barn doors, built in Cape Associates’ woodshop, were custom—some double, French-door style, others sliding—but all with generous openings. “You can drive a tractor into this barn and put hay in the loft,” laughs McDonald.

To see our full gallery of this home, click here.

To read the full article on the Boston Design Guide website, click here and skip ahead to page 84.

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