Cottage History – A Real Life Makeover

Hidden Hollow is owned by writer, Tom Keer (www.tomkeer.com) and his wife, Angela. Year-round residents of Wellfleet, the Keer’s were looking for a property in need of some TLC and potential to be transformed into an upscale vacation getaway. 280 Paine Hollow appeared on the market as a 1970’s reverse contemporary in need of a tremendous amount of work.

The home had been owned for thirty years by local artist Sylvia Rich. Having sat vacant for over two years, the interior gathered cobwebs while the exterior property became choked with locust, sweetbriar, and wild cherry trees. The interior hadn’t been updated since it was built, and was in need of a complete remodel.

In the middle of March 2008, The Keer’s purchased the property and immediately began renovations. What appealed to them the most were the classic saltbox lines. Tom and Angela reviewed dimensions and flows, and opted to turn the two-bedroom-plus-a-studio into a four-bedroom home. A disproportionate number of closets to rooms created a claustrophobic feeling, and the numerous walls prohibited sunlight from entering the windows. Beach cottages should be light, open, cheerful, relaxed and breezy.

Tom and Angela drew several possible floor plans, and ultimately settled on a final version. They then set about the demolition. After a solid month of tearing down sheet rock, ripping up linoleum floors, and removing ceilings, studs, and cabinets, Tom and Angela had gutted the entire house. Their reconfigured floor plan for a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom cottage came to life.

Everything went according to plan until the Keer’s made a last minute decision: turn the drive-in garage into a second living space. That way, parents and children could watch their favorite movies or shows without a fuss. They added an additional wet-bar/sink/refrigerator to make the room more comfortable, and an under-the-staircase closet made sense for storing beach-bound necessities.

The exterior needed some work, and to convert the home into a saltbox, they removed the original entryway and staircase. They converted the original entryway into a walk-in closet located in the new Seaglass Room. To add more light and space, they removed the galley kitchen wall. Then, they added six windows to the kitchen to capture the morning light and three windows on the west side of the living room to capture the evening light. You’ll note that the windows open to the Southwest to capture the dominant summer wind that comes off the nearby Bay. Add tile floors, custom cabinets, Silestone countertops, new furniture and bright, cheerful paint and they were ready for the rental season.

For finishing touches, the Keer’s relied on personal, second-rate experiences for guidance. In the past, they had rented vacation homes that left much to be desired. Their goal was to provide a vacation home that made guests want to return year-after-year.

No one wants to rent linens and make beds after a long day of travel, so The Keer’s decided to completely cater to their guests by including linens as well as many other amenities. On arrival guests will find fresh linens already on the beds, as well as clean towels in the bathroom. Beach towels and chairs are packed and ready to go.

For those who need to stay connected even while on vacation, wi-fi service is provided.

Hidden Hollow is dedicated to Sylvia Rich. The master suite once served as her studio, and a few of her paintings grace the walls.

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