A Rustic Modern Cape House

I spotted this adorable 900 square foot Cape Cod house in the Boston Globe Magazine yesterday while perusing the Sunday paper. I love not only the darling size of this retreat, but also the unexpectedly non-beachy style designed by Brad Walker of Ruhl Walker Architects.  Since the owners use it year round, it makes sense to keep the home’s decor a little less expected “summertime casual”.  I LOVE the old beams and historic details mixed with some more modern elements and color palette. Take a peek:

The guest bedroom might be my favorite room. I love the beam and antique door which is emphasized by the grey wall color (find my favorite medium grey wall colors at the bottom of this post!)

They kept the palette the same throughout since the space is small.  This helps open things up and offer a sense of continuity.


A small but rustic kitchen is made slightly sleek by the removal of cabinet doors up top and a coat of dark grey paint.


I love the juxtaposition of the modern ladnscape painting and antique portraits. This wall color really highlights the art as well as the old beams!  Since this is a second home, most of the decor was budget friendly and bought online.


Things get lighter upstairs in the master bedroom where the walls are white but hints of the grey wall color from downstairs are found in the bedding.


Another example of old meets new with a vintage desk and chair paired with a modern light and upholstered headboard.


The couple outside the cottage. So adorable.


Love this look? Here are some suggestions on how to get it:


1. // 2. (slipcovered furniture is so much easier to clean) // 3. (buy an old door like this and install it with barn door hardware to save space!) // 4. // 5. // 6. // 7. // 8. // FAVE GREYS- 9. Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain // 10. Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // 11. Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray // 12. // 13. // 14. // 15. // 16. // 17. // 18. // 19. // 20. // 21.

Globe Magazine photos by Dan Cutrona.


  1. This is a great post. I love every inch of this home. As my good friend from Portugal would say “They have so much taste”! Thanks.

  2. I think their little Italian Greyhounds are the best accessories of all!

    Posted this on your FB but wanted to post here too; I have a post request – NYC summer vacation outfit ideas (day and night). Pretty please! ;o)

  3. Love this! I totally lie awake at night fantasizing how I’d redo the house we have on the Cape and this gives me new and exciting material. Thanks!! :-)

  4. Each house they showed was unique but this one was my fav! Love that back deck, small but great stairs that provide so much seating.

  5. Oh, my. This house is gorgeous. I am particularly fond of the eating area – love the table and chairs, as well as the painting on that dark wall.

  6. I LOVE this space so much- I would move right in! Rustic modern is my favorite style and this is perfection- I think I would lighten the kitchen up a bit, but other than that- PERFECTION. So inspired- thanks for sharing:)

  7. Gorgeous! I have a sofa that color–not quite grey, not quite –something?! I’m going to check out some fabric in those paint colors for pillows, etc.
    Thank you for being our own personal stylist, here in web-land! You are so talented, and I love that you take the time each and every day to post. My passion is for decorating, and I have learned so much from you, so know that you are very much appreciated!

  8. In another lifetime, i will edit my belongings down to just the perfect few items I need and love to have around me. Meanwhile, in this life, I’ve got a heap of junk, memorabilia and stuff in closets and stuff stuck in boxes. Edit, purge and sort.
    And repeat.

  9. The funny thing is, this kind of medium gray works as well in a sprawling family house in South Texas as it does in a cottage on Cape Cod. We started with a bedroom in BM Shenandoah Taupe, then did the library that color, then it managed to creep through the two-story living room, and now I’m aching to paint the rest of the downstairs the same. Somehow it works well in low-light and bright sunny areas and plays gorgeously with bright art and rugs and accessories. Our overall palette is brighter than this (beautiful!) example, but this house tour is only leaving me more convinced that I need more of these walls in my life :)

    1. One of my favorite posts. We are selling a gorgeous 50s ranch in Texas and moving into a 130-year-old Dutch Colonial on the south shore of Boston. The room sizes are a’shrinking!

      The trickiest room in the Texas house had dark corners and super bright areas. Dark gray walls fixed that right up – it evens out light beautifully.

      I was planning to go all white in the new house to pull the 4 levels together, but this… man I love gray.

  10. I LOVE the second floor bedroom. The white walls and ceiling, but also the amaazing light that comes through that window. Also, why is it that all the cool wood-shingled houses are in New England?!?

  11. I am fixated on how they make the bed in the first picture. Does that whole wall move out the way? so you can scrunch around the foot? My practical side is always getting on the nerves of designers I’ve worked with. Can’t help it. It might be cute, but if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t go in my office or home.

  12. Erin, what a great find this article is! My mother’s home in Southampton is teeny tiny and I’m always finding new inspirations for how to use the space wisely and in super-chic, super-charming ways. Thank you for sharing this!

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