Last weekend we enjoyed a much anticipated tour of three (of ONE HUNDRED) modern treasures in the area) mid-century modern houses in Wellfleet, MA through Cape Cod Modern House Trust. CCMHT was established in 2007 to prevent the demolition of the abandoned houses by leasing them from National Park Services, their current owners. Founding Director Peter McMahon led the restorations and now shares the houses with the public through artist and scholar residencies, tours, symposia, and summer rentals.
We got a lift to each house from our tour guide, Milisa Moses, whose husband also worked on the restorations. We learned a lot from her about the houses before we arrived and had great conversations along the way. When we needed a place to grab lunch on our way home, she recommended Sun Bird Kitchen which was excellent! A great day all-around. Here's what we saw:
We kept describing this house as the quintessential surf "shack" of the East Coast. With open breezeways between rooms where you can picture towels and swimsuits hanging to dry, and slatted walkways to shake off the sand, the ever-rustic Hatch House seems to be one with the beach itself. It was designed by Jack Hughes Hall in 1960 for Robert Hatch, an editor of The Nation and his wife, Ruth, a painter. It was restored by CCMHT from 2012-2013.
This one is my favorite. Not exactly rustic like The Hatch, but nestled in the woods on a lovely pond, it seems to be just the right balance of comfort and simplicity to serve as a perfectly quiet getaway house. Designed by engineer Paul Weidlinger, the house was built in 1953 across a small pond from their friend Marcel Breuer's home. It was restored by CCMHT from 2012-2014.
The last house on our tour was designed by Charlie Zehnder in 1970 and it definitely has that decade's vibe. It is perched atop a massive cinder block base, a material that also strongly defines the interior of the house. The designer's interest in Frank Lloyd Wright's work can be seen in the cantilevering decks and eaves. It was restored by CCMHT in 2009.