August 16, 2012 Mid-Century Modern
Modern Snapshot: The Colony of Wellfleet
“A very special sense of place.” That is the appropriate tag line of the The Colony of Wellfleet, 10 Bauhaus-style cottages nestled among soaring pine trees just across the road from Wellfleet Bay. Designed and built in late 1940s by architects Nathaniel Saltonstall and Oliver P. Morton, the originally named Mayo Hill Colony Club was operated as a private club and art gallery for artists and their patrons. In 1963, Loris and Eleanor Stefani acquired the mid-century modern cottages and have rented them out to those seeking a quiet summertime retreat with a twist of modernist architecture on the more traditional-minded Cape. (There is more mid-century modern architecture on the Cape as well.) Many of the guests have been high-profile writers, actors and intellectuals.
Eleanor still owns and manages the property. She greeted us when we arrived and told me Saltonstall went on to work with Walter Gropius (whose house I will highlight in another post). We rented one of the four 2-bedroom cottages (#5).
The cottages, decorated in vintage furniture and art, are simple with block concrete walls, flat roofs and slate flooring in the entrance that continues into the kitchen and bathrooms. Walls of glass allow for excellent views of the views of the surrounding nature. The cottage is pretty much untouched with no air conditioning, no WIFI and no TV. We introduced our kids to Pictionary, one of the numerous board games, books and magazines in the house. One night, a howling fox was the only sound that interrupted the silence of this modernist haven.