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Provincetown :: Wednesday, March 29th 2017

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A Gentlemanly Pursuit

@Home, Provincetown

October 25th, 2011

Right now it seems that this CRAZY old world is spinning out of control. Meanwhile, the CRAZY quilt of a town where I live seems to be riding the turbulent tide with a certain assurance and serenity. Often as I tool about town on my old boneshaker, houses pop out of the landscape at me. I think, perhaps, one day the right person will turn that old house into something wonderful. I am happy to say this is exactly what I found recently when I visited the home of my friends Jerome and Louis, which is located high atop a hill in the far West End.

Like a Japanese pleasure palace, the grounds of this home have been skillfully planned and are now underway. Each portion of this very large property has been used for a specific purpose.

You know the one, you’ve seen it from the jetty. How we all would love to live in it! Faded and very out of style, this was formerly a very 70s mess, in need of some real help - which is exactly what it got in spades!

Long before I met them, I had been to dinner in their previous home, when my good friend Dennis dog sat for them. The house then was a wonderful hodgepodge of rooms, formerly an art school in the center of town. This was sold and the couple moved across town and took on this rather daunting task. Recently while at a PAAM exhibition opening we got to chatting, and I asked them to let me have a peek at the place they were currently working on. So on a very breezy autumnal day I sallied forth on my trusty steel steed up a very steep hilltop and suddenly my eyes were amazed at what I found amid the falling leaves of red and gold.

The house was built in the 1970s, smothered in shag carpet and filled with many a reclining easy chair . . . need I say more? But well built is well built. The bones were good and the foundation solid - just like Liz Taylor. So it gave these two creative minds a clean canvas to work upon. Their inspiration is based upon a 16th century Japanese country palace that often caught Jerome’s eye in books. Now that they have retired from long careers in the law and medicine fields, these guys wanted a place to enjoy life like the Katsura Palace. Both men having a creative side, and Louis being an architect at heart, has enabled them to work on this project freely. They also share a love of painting, design and gardening. The house’s original floor plan remains, even though a few of the rooms were opened up by removing walls and replacing windows with larger ones. The façade of the house is still basically the same, for this project was not about removing and discarding, rather reusing what was there and adapting it to a different point of view. An overall Asian influence was stressed by keeping the original horizontality, and enhancing it with deep brown and stark white, giving it an Asian balance, but without forgetting it is a New England home. The addition of geometric-shaped wooden trellises and fencing added a very interesting detail throughout the gardens. The rooms flow from one to the other seamlessly, and are decorated in subdued and simple colors. Clea- lined furniture unifies the space, allowing for comfort and ease of living in rooms both upstairs and down. The walls are hung with the superb paintings of the two Gentlemen. Dinner parties overlooking the entire shoreline to Truro are amazing, complete with perfect sunsets every evening!

For me, lovely as the house has now become . . . it is the gardens that made my damaged heart sing. Even on this mid-autumn day, when it was nearly dormant, what remained of the current garden project was truly amazing. Like a Japanese pleasure palace, the grounds of this home have been skillfully planned and are now underway. Each portion of this very large property has been used for a specific purpose. The level ground surrounding the house has now become a vegetable and flower garden, providing the residents with ample produce and all sorts of herbs and even a wild mushroom or two. Up hill a sunset viewing area is being developed, which will have a gazebo, stone terrace and a few comfortable places to sit and gaze out at the ever-changing ocean. Downhill, the deepest and wildest part of the property was cleared of overgrown cat briars and scrub pines this past spring; an orchard of flowering fruit trees was planted. Often we see our town developed and used for housing with little regard to nature. It was quite a refreshing idea to develop this great tract of land as a garden instead, enhancing the life of the world around these two creative men, which is just how things should be @ home, in Provincetown!


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