Catching Up at the 2020 Idea House: Cottage on the Cape

Summer is right around the corner, and the exterior of our Cape Cod cottage is just about complete, with most of the roofing, siding, and trim now installed. Inside the house, heating and cooling systems, ventilation, insulation, and floor warming are in place, and with the walls getting primed and ready for paint, the individual spaces are beginning to take shape. Read on to take a quick tour!

Keeping with Classic Cape Cod Curb Appeal

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

There’s a reason white cedar shingles have become the classic siding choice on coastal Cape Cod. Cedar contains natural oils that are resistant to mold, rot and insects. Left uncoated and exposed to the region’s salt air, humidity and sun, the wood weathers to a distinctive Cape Cod Gray. We chose to have ours factory-finished in a rich Atlantic Blue to save time and labor. This, together with an easy installation tool that eliminates the need for measuring, leveling and snapping course lines, makes for a swift install.

White Cedar Shake Shingles: SBC Cedar
Lumber and Shingles via: Mid-Cape Home Centers

Installing Pre-finished Shingles

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

Shingling is nearly complete. Coated on all sides, these pre-finished shingles not only look great going up, those good looks will last much longer than if they were painted in the field.

White Cedar Shake Shingles: SBC Cedar
Roofing: Timberline® American Harvest® asphalt shingles in Appalachian Sky by GAF
Windows: Sierra Pacific
Trim, Fascia, Soffits: LIFESPAN Solid Select
Lumber, Roofing, and Shingles via: Mid-Cape Home Centers

Making Shingle Art

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

Carpenter Russ Hughes, David Winton of Mosaic Shingle Company, and Cape Associates senior project manager Josh Piper first assembled the pre-fabricated nautical star on a flat bench, and then reassembled it above the garage, piece by piece. The natural red cedar of the star contrasts nicely with the Atlantic Blue finish on the surrounding shingles.

Creating a Focal Point

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

The star creates a focal point above the entrance to the garage. The striking black carriage-style overhead door below it has a composite skin that enables it to stand up to the marine environment.

Garage Door: Clopay

Building the Outdoor Decks

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

On the back of the house, outdoor decks for the main living area and the ADU are nearly complete. The low-maintenance vinyl-composite flooring is fade- and slip-resistant, making it a great choice for an active family. The leveled jobsite is ready for the landscaping crew.

Porch Flooring: Universal Porch Plank in Slate by Aeratis Porch Products.

Including No-Gunk Gutters

Cottage on the Cape, ArmourGuard

A low-profile stainless steel mesh keeps debris out of gutters without impeding the flow of water. The result: Freedom from the messy task of gutter-cleaning.

Gutter Guards: All-Weather Armour

Prepping the Exterior Trim for Installation

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

Lengths of exterior trim are racked up on scaffolding in the garage/maker’s studio, waiting for installation. The long lengths of radiata pine are pre-primed and treated to resist bugs and moisture. The garage’s mineral wool insulation is already in place.

Exterior Trim: LIFESPAN Solid Select
Insulation: ComfortBatt by ROCKWOOL

Installing an Environmentally-Friendly Septic System

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

The house’s septic system uses an advanced nitrogen-reduction system for a lower environmental impact. Beyond the holding tank are two precast leaching chambers.

Putting Final Touches on the Exterior

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

With just a few more areas left to shingle, the exterior is nearly complete. Two solar-powered skylights will illuminate the garage, while a low-profile sun tunnel, seen on the far left, provides extra light for the ADU foyer.

Skylights, Sun Tunnels: VELUX
Skylights via: Mid-Cape Home Centers

Connecting the Air Handler

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

Tucked in the attic over the guest bedroom is the air handler for the second floor, waiting to be connected. Heat pumps equipped with inverter technology provide both heating and cooling that is piped to this and three other units for distribution through the house.

The system allows precision control of temperatures in each zone of the house, as well as separate climate control for the accessory dwelling unit (ADU).

HVAC: Mitsubishi
Subfloor: AdvanTech
Framing Lumber: Weyerhaeuser

Including Smart Temperature Control

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

A fraction of the size of a larger air handler, this small distribution unit mounted on the basement ceiling is one of several that provide site-specific temperature control. Two ERVs, one in the basement and one in the attic, will provide ventilation to keep the house both energy efficient and healthy.

ERV: Panasonic

Adding Decorative Ceiling Beams in the Master

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

Decorative beams call attention to the height of the cathedral ceiling in the master bedroom. Thanks to a hefty structural ridge beam, the roof needs no additional support.

Ridge Beam: Microllam LVL by Weyerhaueser
Gypsum Board: National Gypsum

A Bright—and Toasty—Bath / Adding Radiant In-Floor Heating

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

A window and sun tunnel bring lots of natural light into the ADU’s bathroom. Like the master bath upstairs, it will be equipped with radiant in-floor heat.

Sun Tunnel Skylight: VELUX
Floor Warming: Schluter-Systems

Prepping and Priming for Paint

Slide for Before/After

With the drywall primed, installation of the white oak flooring begins.

Decorating the Stair with Nickel-Gap Paneling

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

Nickel-gap panels dress up the stair walls as the stairs themselves are trimmed out.

Shiplap: Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods

Creating a Separate Space with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

A shear wall separates the ADU from the main house. The space on the right will be a walk-through kitchen, on the left, a living/dining area. Solar-powered skylights and a large patio door make the small space feel bright and open.

Patio Door: Sierra Pacific
Skylights: VELUX
Gypsum Board: National Gypsum

Looking Inside the ADU

Cottage on the Cape, Idea House, 2020, Progress

From left to right, opposite the kitchen is the ADU’s laundry closet, coat closet, and sleeping area. A bathroom is located behind the closet. The room is ready for flooring.

Gypsum Board: National Gypsum

Keep up with our progress in real time via 24/7 webcam, or go behind the scenes by tuning in to our made-for-OTT series, Idea House Build.

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