A Dream Home That Feels Like New England

The owners of this McLean beauty went for shingle-style architecture and whimsical furnishings.
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Photo boy Erik Kvalsvik

The family room’s breezy color scheme corresponds with a gallery of paintings that collectively reproduce a 1934 Census map of Cambridge, where McCabe’s parents grew up. “They wanted it to be colorful, welcome, open and fresh, and they weren’t bound by anything,” Sroka says.

GTM president George Myers and principal architect Rolando Valdez didn’t have to guess what their clients wanted architecturally. Every picture McCabe had saved to her idea file featured a shingled home with double gables framing bay windows above a generous front porch.

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The shingle-style residence lives large, inside and out. The rear of the home features a covered porch and wraps around a wide patio with a pool and a fire pit. Photo by Diego Valdez

The topographical contours of the site also shaped the design, prompting the architects to “bend” the house around so that it gently frames a pool in back while the three-car garage turns away from the street. “Shingle-style houses often have plans that have angles and turns to them,” Myers explains. “It was all part of trying to create that old feel.”

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Outdoor furnishings by Dedon lend casual comfort to the screened porch. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik

Nevertheless, a modern family lives here, so the design is equally mindful of the owners’ four boys, ranging in age from 10 to 14, plus two dogs. “The mudroom can’t be big enough,” says Myers, who also has four kids. “And I understand the notion of trying to make all the kids’ rooms a similar size—for me, it was like designing a house for myself.”

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Storage lockers maintain order in the mudroom. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik

Sroka chose durable, stain-resistant fabrics for all of the upholstered furniture to make the entire house kid- and pet-friendly. Plus, McCabe says, “Every sofa has to be nap worthy! Nothing is stuffy.”

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Kara McCabe relaxes in the sunroom on a sofa from her last house. The slipcovered coffee table is from Moss Home and the armchair is from CR Laine. Below: The family room has plenty of seating and a custom-designed bench/ottoman by Sroka. A console table fabricated by Mike Reid Weeks features a stone top by Marblex Design. Photo by Michael Ventura

After the home’s completion in 2018, the family hosted numerous celebrations and holiday gatherings, making the most of its ample entertainment spaces.

But even more important are the intimate moments the design affords—from a cozy window seat outside Grandma’s guest room to the fireside seating area in the master bedroom, where the boys like to hang out with their parents.

“It was all about giving it a very special look,” Sroka says. “It is a forever-home concept.”

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Kara McCabe and Andrew Leblanc wanted their bedroom to include a large seating area where they could hang out with their kids. Artisan Builders constructed a classic fireplace mantel with a mirrored surround. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik


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The tranquil master bath features a deep soaking tub and marble-inlay tile by Architessa from Artistic Tile (formerly Architectural Ceramics). Photo by Erik Kvalsvik


Project Credits:

GTM Architects
Sroka Design
Artisan Builders
Lobkovich Kitchen Designs

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Categories: Home & Design