Monday, April 26, 2010

CCMHT Holds Open House

Yesterday the Cape Cod Modern House Trust held its Spring Open House at the newly restored Kugel/Gips house, off Long Pond Road. Access is up what feels like a gangplank, which Sven and I remembered as rotting wood, half decayed and treacherous. The gangplank is the first sign of something unusual going on, as if one is boarding a mother ship, ready, at any moment, to go warp speed back in time ...

Sven and I climbed aboard after lunch. The overcast sky did not seem to have dampened the spirits of Cape Cod’s art-hungry crowd – 250 people had already come and left. Visitors still swarmed through the two floors like eager ants. Director Peter McMahon and assistant Cyndi Wish were on hand to answer questions, but it was mostly a self-guided Do-Your-Own-Thing type of tour, the kind of tour I like best. One Cape Cod matron stood on the deck, pointing towards Northeast Pond. Three men seemed more interested in the roof and came inside to ask whether rubber had been used. Nearby, two teenagers took turns taking photos of each other. They were dressed in black but might as well have donned Kugel/Gips t-shirts, so great was their enthusiasm for the place. The house, designed by Charlie Zehnder, is now furnished with mid-century modern furniture and period art. Large pane glass windows allow the outside in. I sat for a while on the leather couch and chatted with volunteer Betsy Bray, of Harwich, who had settled into a niche beside the massive brick fireplace. It was fun to imagine living there.

Sven found the library and brought me the Winter 2009 issue of Modernism, which has a story on Wellfleet’s modern houses. Peter, who had ducked out, returned with pizza for his staff’s lunch. He told me three weeks of July are still available for rent this summer, at $5000 a week, of which $3000 is tax-deductible. As I noted on Friday, a reporter described Kugel/Gips in this month’s Preservation. (Since the article went online, Peter has received twenty inquiries.) Sven congratulated him on his determination and success. Having saved this amazing house is quite a feat. It seems to hover above Northeast Pond, as any proper mother ship should.
At Town Meeting today, Peter will describe his next project, renovation of the Hatch Cottage near Bound Brook.