Brian Vanden Brink
Burton Staniar summers on Cape Cod, and always has. “We’ve owned and rented in various locations,” he says, “but the houses were always lacking in some way. Until now, that is. Working with architect John DaSilva of Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders in Chatham, Massachusetts, Staniar and his wife, Nancy, have created a getaway custom-designed to suit them, their art, and their classic pieces from Knoll, the iconic manufacturer of modern furniture where Burton is chairman of the board and former CEO.
Set far back from the road, the Staniars’ lot is a large, verdant site on Stage Harbor with majestic views of Nantucket Sound. “We fell in love with the location immediately, and that was that,” says Burton. Dream location secured, “we wanted the house to seem as though it had always been there.”
The couple engaged DaSilva to design that house, one that would provide both a comfortable venue for an eclectic mix of art and furnishings and a place where the couple, who live year-round in New York City, could entertain a large crowd.
The Staniars were drawn to the architecture of traditional English country houses, and DaSilva sought inspiration from British architect CFA Voysey. To make the house compatible with the coastal Cape Cod setting, staple elements of 19th-century Shingle Style (extensive porches, eaves, and gables) were included in the design.
The front of the house acts as a formal backdrop for an expansive landscape crafted by David Hawk of Hawk Design of Boston and Orleans, Massachusetts, replete with informal gardens, a wildflower meadow, and lush grass, which the architect and homeowners refer to as the “park.” The back of the house faces the water for stunning views. To take full advantage of the setting, DaSilva conceived a layout in which two wings are at 45-degree angles to a rectangular center. “This plan maximizes a site that has harbor views wrapping partly around it,” says DaSilva. “The wings capture direct sunlight at ideal times of day for the home’s different spaces — eastern light for the kitchen, western light for the living room.”
Brian Vanden Brink
“We wanted the ocean to be visible as soon as one stepped through the front door,” says Nancy Staniar. To accomplish that, DaSilva placed French doors framing the view at the end of the long, gracious entry hall.
Read more: Perfect Setting