The Manse: underway

a trench

The uncoupling begins.

The first part of this long phased project on the Cape is the conscious uncoupling of the Main House, known affectionately as The Manse, from the Surf Shack.  These lovelies are daisy-chained together.  This separation is most certainly going to be messier than Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s “uncoupling”.  It requires permits, followed by work orders, there are holidays involved, oh and don’t forget weather. When you gaze in wide-eyed awe at The Coliseum, The Pyramids, Notre Dame, know this, not the Egyptians, the Romans, or the French of those centuries had to deal with one ribbon of the bureaucratic red tape that we are now buried in.


So starts the process referred to by me as, “hurry up and wait”.  One mustn’t get too frustrated with the waiting.  There is always something to do.  This project will be a design/build undertaking, so we will in fact be designing down to the last moment the hammer head hits the first nail.  Oh let’s be honest, we’ll continue to design after that.  What fun would it be if we didn’t have to rip something out that didn’t look quite right once we saw it in place?

a plan

Proposed Plan No. 103

To my mind, a major victory has already been won.  The addition off the back of The Manse is going to happen after all.  It’s the right thing to do.  It will enlarge the second downstairs bedroom, allow for French Sliders that look out onto the backyard, and eliminate all that awkward knee bumping that makes one look disdainfully upon a room before preparing themselves for entry.  Solved.

a living room

Co-location . Site Office.

Next I would like to give one more gentle nudge to a full open kitchen, dining/living room that runs the expanse of the West side of the house.  It really would be a beautiful room, but what I want to do is super expensive.  It requires the removal and reconstruction of the fireplace, and I am certain the structural reinforcement of the passageway between what is currently two rooms, once the wall is removed.  I say this not from my vast experience as a Structural Engineer, I am not, but rather from my understanding of old building’s and new building codes, regulations, and requirements.  I feel certain a steel beam will be mandated.

Mother Nature always gets her way, and hidden history revealed.

If we stay with the current scheme which has an open kitchen, and dining room, followed by a distinct living room, I will make the dining room more like a living room than a a formal space to eat.  There will be sofa’s and seating, side tables, and banquets, all happily co-existing in the same space.  This is the room that will always be populated with people. They will come to watch me cook, work on their computer, read the newspaper, watch tv, chat, listen to music.  Don’t feel bad for the living room.  It will get used too.  I’ll make it really comfortable and attractive and put an enormous television in there, in true American fashion.  People will come.

I have a bit of time to develop the overall scheme for the decor.  I’ll start with the living/dining room and then jump to the powder room.  What fun.

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