How a Pennsylvania couple found their dream home on the coast of Massachusetts.
Growing up in the Midwest, Melody Borghesani always dreamed about visiting Cape Cod. When she married a man, whose family spent every summer on ‘the Cape,’ her childhood dream came true. “My true love affair with Cape Cod began 35 years ago,” Melody says. These summertime visits to Massachusetts birthed a new dream: retiring on the coast. After she and her husband Dave made the decision to find a home to retire in, it was only a matter of time before they found their dream home on Zillow.
“I came across an antique home built by a sea captain in 1858.” Melody says, “I kept going back to it and fell in love with it.” From the original hardwood floors to the charming nooks and crannies throughout the home, the 1,200 square foot house has truly retained all of its Cape Cod charm. Originally built closer to the sea, the home was actually split in two and rolled to its current location a mile away from the beach.
Just the Right Updates
While Melody and Dave still live in Pennsylvania, they hope to retire at the Cape Cod house within the next few years. With four bedrooms, one and a half baths and a spacious kitchen, the home is the perfect size for the couple. “It just feels like you don’t need any more space, because the kitchen is really welcoming and the living room is cozy,” Melody says.
To make the home more fully theirs, the couple tore out most of the existing wallpaper and painted the dark wood trim throughout the home in Decorators white by Benjamin Moore. They also painted the dark brick in the kitchen and fireplace mantle in the same bright white to liven up the space.
The only other notable changes included replacing the fabric cabinet fronts with glass and adding a small dishwasher and new gas range. “I’m really trying to keep the integrity of the home as much as possible,” Melody says, “the wood floors are all original, and the thought that they’ve been there for 162 years is just amazing to me.” For Melody, loving the authenticity and history of the home means welcoming the imperfections that come with it.
Making the House a Home
When it came to filling the historic house with furniture, Melody combed through her own collection of accumulated furniture pieces. She and her husband drove a U-Haul from Pennsylvania with all the items that she thought would be a perfect fit in the Cape Cod home. A dining room table from an auction in New Orleans and an assortment of blue and white china all made the cut. “We got up there and it was amazing how everything we chose to bring up was made for that house,” Melody says.
In many ways, Melody lives by the statement, “you should always have things in your home that are older than you.” The assorted items that made it to their home in Massachusetts speak to that vision. In the living room, oil paintings by Melody’s mother and a thrifted ship painting create a timeless gallery wall. “Those layers of old and thrifted and homemade, just create such a wonderful, warm welcoming space,” she says, “and that’s all I really want. I want people to come into our home and just relax.”
Living on ‘the Cape’
While New England winters are known for their intensity and isolation, Melody isn’t worried about the cold. “I’ve gotten to that stage in my life where I can be home alone and be completely happy,” she says, “It can be cold and snowing with nobody around and I love it.” As a new grandmother, Melody is so excited for her granddaughter to come visit. “When she’s older it’s going to be the most fun to have her running around the home,” she says, “there’s lots of nooks and crannies and little closets and fun places where I can hide surprises.”
In the era of the modern farmhouse and other design trends, Melody’s house-by-the-sea truly captures the essence of days gone by with warmth and character. It’s the perfect gathering place after a day at the beach or for the whole family during the holidays.