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Place Of Peace

By Victoria Welling of Housetrends Magazine

The shingle-style dwellings of Nantucket are at once fanciful and practical, grand yet welcoming. Today, in one of Cleveland’s eastern suburbs, a home named for that historic island strikes the same kind of balance. Rather than fronting a shoreline, this Nantucket sits at the fringe of a forest in Bainbridge’s Canyon Woods. On the outside, everything about this 5,400-square-foot home, which was designed and built by noted custom design/build firm Alexandra Fine Homes of Chagrin Falls, is a tribute to New England. True-to-the-region details include barn-red cedar shake siding, bright-white trim, window boxes, a wrap-around porch and a multi-peaked roofline. Fronting the three-car garage is a stone-faced, turret-like gable that evokes a lighthouse.

Function over formality

Inside, function trumps formality to make a home that truly works for families.

It begins in the human-scale, elegantly simple foyer, which is flooded with light from double walls of windows in the adjacent stairway. “Our designs often incorporate a bright foyer that offers further "peek-a boo" glimpses and long views of the interior spaces. When guests enter, the welcoming feel and interesting architecture compels them to come in and further explore the house,” says Nestor & Paul Papageorge, co-owners of Alexandra Fine Homes.

When it’s time to retreat, Nantucket promises sanctuary on its upper level.

Of course, as everyone knows, the entrance used most often is the one from the garage to the mudroom. And in the Nantucket, that space is uncharacteristically pleasant. Ample natural light and pretty details, like softly-hued hand-made Mexican tile flooring, persuade even the youngest family members to linger long enough to shed their coats, boots and book bags.

Roomy, furniture-look lockers and storage benches capture the clutter, while a multitasking mail center catches the car keys, charges the cell phones and organizes incoming paper.

In another nod to reality, the Nantucket shuns the rarely used formal dining room in favor of a multifunctional dining area that extends directly from the kitchen. Roomy enough for a second table for holiday gatherings, yet cozy enough for family living, this space truly captures the essence of modern family living. Casual elegance at its finest.

Here, in front of a bread-oven-style brick fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves, under a meticulously crafted wood coffered ceiling offering a calming counterpoint to the kitchen's two story drama, kids work on school projects, the family sits down to meals, and relatives gather on special occasions.

Warm from the heart

Food, of course, is the nexus of every family function, which is why the kitchen is the centerpiece of the Nantucket. This two-story space is made to feel intimate by details like oversized moldings and high-set windows that offer views from the home’s upper level. Warmth exudes from buttery yellow walls, honed granite countertops, mellow brickwork and rustic “barn light” wall sconces. A multilevel island topped with hammered copper is the place to prepare a meal or enjoy a glass of wine (or an espresso) while a sauce simmers on the bistro-style range.

Shopping and to-do lists are posted on the chalkboard-fronted pantry doors.

Step down from the kitchen into the sunken great room. A cozy, nautical feel emanates from mellow, brick-veneered walls and the whitewashed cedar ceiling with exposed, rough-planed rafters. A thoughtfully planned relationship between the stucco-finished fireplace and the hightech, human-scale entertainment center makes this space equally comfortable for gazing at the fire or watching TV.

Prefer a good read? Slip out one of two archways from the kitchen into the sun parlor, a vaulted-ceiled room made brilliant by three walls of floor-to-ceiling windows with plantation shutters.

Play in a big way

For active family fun, the Nantucket offers two responses.

First is the light-filled, finished basement, where—in distinct yet adjoining areas—poker, pool and a favorite movie can be in simultaneous play. Remote controlled blackout shades set the stage in the viewing area, which is less like a home theater and more like a family room.

“That’s the setup families prefer in the long run,” say Nestor & Paul. "Integrating the media room with the gaming areas allows for so much flexibility. If guests or the kids are downstairs watching a game or movie on the big screen, they can also play pool, cards, etc. and maintain a connection between the various spaces." Audio control is always at hand via the whole-house sound system.

Second is the four-season backyard entertainment area. A brick-paved patio with a generously scaled wood burning fireplace is as welcoming on winter evenings as it is on summer nights. Seating nooks flanking the fireplace and bench-width stair treads on the adjoining patio encourage stargazing and lazy conversation. A "summer kitchen" including a fully functional gas and electric range handles ribs, chili, burgers, clambakes, lobster boils, and everything in between.

Well-deserved rest and reward

When it’s time to retreat, Nantucket promises sanctuary on its upper level. Behind the double doors of the master suite, a spa-like master bath beckons. Slide into the jetted tub, unwind in the multi-spray shower, and savor the tranquil décor. Zen inspired touches include natural slate tiles with luminous glass insets, a glossy black, open-shelved double vanity, and yin-yang shaped sink basins.

Comfort comes, too, from knowing that the kids are snug—just down the hall—in a three-bedroom area designed especially for their needs. Two bedrooms are joined by a Jack-and-Jill bath, and one room opens to a bonus area that is ready to grow from a toy room to a teen hideaway. The third bedroom enjoys its own private bath. In a hallway alcove, a built-in computer workstation waits for that last-minute homework.

For all its amenities and size, the Nantucket is truly a welcoming abode. "We designed the Nantucket series of homes to accommodate a wide range of budgets and family needs, various levels of "green technology," many optional amenities, and offer a smaller version as well," says Nestor. For its artful marriage of looks and livability, the Nantucket has earned considerable critical acclaim, including "Custom Home of the Year," "Best of Homearama," "Best Exterior Architecture," "Best Product Design," "Best Interior Design," and more. With a hats-off to history and a willing embrace of what’s happening today, the Nantucket feeds the soul and spirit of the American family.

The award-winning Nantucket 2.0
The award-winning Nantucket 2.0