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An imaginative designer doubles the size of her Cape Cod home to accommodate boisterous boys and frequent festivities.
A fireplace provides a cozy focal point at the other end of the family room. Creating it was a labor of love, with Mimi choosing each stone at a local quarry and her sons contributing rocks they found. Built in a classic New England style, the fireplace soars 23 feet to the peak of the ceiling, lending strength and a sense of permanence to the room. Comfortable sofas and chairs are arranged around it for conversation, with more seating on a corner bench that doubles as a storage chest.
Mimi and her sons chose each stone for the fireplace, which rises 23 feet to the vaulted ceiling. The massive fireplace is scaled down by other, not-so-tall pieces, including a built-in bookcase and the antique etagere.
The great-room, decorated in a muted medley of browns with aqua accents, has durable home furnishings that can stand up to crowds of energetic boys. Boxed beams bracing the room are painted white to lighten their visual weight.
What's the best thing about the new addition? "The extra space," Mimi says. "It's so much more comfortable when all the kids are around." There's also the abundant sunshine, which raises the family's spirits and complements the furnishings. "Having a light, cheery home makes all the difference."
Mimi envisioned how the home could look, so she contemplated a change—adding an extra 2,000 square feet. Working with friend and architect Bill Fornaciari, she planned to build on her home's history with a barnlike addition. "This style of house might well have had a barn out to the side at one time," Fornaciari says. He and Mimi decided to make the addition look as if that "barn" had been connected to the house and renovated.
The traditional structure includes contemporary elements such as banks of multilevel windows, vaulted ceilings, a semiopen floor plan, and polished-stone and wood surfaces. Fornaciari converted Mimi's kitchen into a dining room, reconfigured the garage so it opens from the side of the house instead of the front, and added a well-equipped kitchen, family room, and back entry.
Mimi loves to entertain and often has a crowd of 10 or more on weekends. With this in mind, she and Fornaciari designed a kitchen that functions ideally for entertaining but lets her interact with guests in the rest of the house, too. The sleek new kitchen is the hub of the addition, with the enlarged dining room on one side and the new family room on the other, separated only by a large two-level island with ample seating for guests.
Mimi Meotti Walsh chose honed stone—black granite and breccia paradiso marble—for her double-thick countertops and travertine marble for the flooring. These natural surfaces offer a warm counterpoint to the white cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances.
Mimi made up for her home's inadequate front entry by outfitting the new back entry with plenty of storage and a convenient mudroom. Four roomy closets keep coats, boots, and sports equipment out of sight, and clerestory windows keep the space bright. Brick-tile floors easily wipe clean if someone tracks in snow or mud. An antique pew provides a place to sit, and a mirror permits a last-minute check before leaving. The newly extended driveway encourages guests to use the back door as the main entrance.
The new back entrance to the 1930s Cape Cod house is crowned by a cupola with fixed-pane windows on all four sides.