He liked things just the way they were and she was hankering for a change. He was clinging to his childhood memories of an old Maine cabin in the woods with dark stained panels, while she was gasping for light and air and a better view of the ocean. The kitchen had not been renovated since long before anyone could imagine, with peeling linoleum sheet flooring seamed together with duct tape and a washer and dryer sitting in the kitchen near an orange plastic laminate counter for folding and ironing laundry. The five and dime shop push button singing fish that hung on the wall was running out of batteries. It was time for a change.

This large ocean front summer house is used not only by the loving couple described above, but by their children and grandchildren all summer long as well as holidays. There can easily be 20 people at the dinner table nightly in the summer. During the year, this couple still loves to come down to the cape on the weekends but doesn't want to feel as if they are wandering around inside oversized spaces.

The couple enjoys cooking as a family pastime. They requested an extra large working kitchen with room for lots of hands on deck. The program scope was technically to renovate the kitchen and the dining area as well as to create a new mud room area from an old exterior farmer's porch and to create better access to the basement and 2nd floors. But the real design challenge was to successfully blend the feeling of the old and with the new, to design spaces that are simultaneously child friendly and sophisticated, casual and formal, and flexible enough to feel both generous for large crowds and intimate for a single couple.

Good design stands the test of time. The house has become the beloved family compound where several generations flock together every summer to cook, eat, laugh, play, and swim. And in the winters, our beloved couple enjoys their evening strolls and romantic dinners where he can still reminisce about that cabin in Maine and she can feel the light airy breeze of the ocean.

•  SBJ ARCHITECTURE, 223 Grant Ave, Newton, MA   •