Home on the Rocks

Perched on a peninsula that juts into Cohasset’s Little Harbor, this custom home was designed to mirror the natural surroundings.

By Maria Allen

Photography by Gregg Shupe of Shupe Studios

Home on the Rocks Cohasset

Cohasset’s rocky coastline is one of the town’s most distinctive features and its scenic outcroppings make for a dramatically beautiful landscape. On one particular peninsula of land, sits a beautiful custom home, nestled into the ledge and surrounded by conservation land. 

“I actually had three clients who considered building on this site,” says architect Steve Meyers, of Studio Meyers Architecture in Hingham. He first sketched out plans for the “peninsula house” back in 2008, but for various reasons the buyer’s plans had fallen through. Ten years later, Hingham residents Don and Elyse Ryan came across the property while searching for a home by the water where they could retire one day. When local realtor Gail Bell showed them a copy of Meyers’ hand drawn sketch, they were immediately interested.

At the time, all that stood on the land was a tiny two-bedroom cabin with no heat. The parents of two sons, the Ryans knew that they would need a bigger house to fit their family. While the idea of building on the rocky landscape was intimidating, they saw potential in the spectacular location. They were also excited for the opportunity to work with a design team to construct a custom home from the ground-up.


Local builder Matthew Falconeiri, principal and owner of Falconeiri Construction, was recommended by Meyers for the project. “We had several builders bid on the job,” says the homeowner. “Matthew is a really smart, honest, down-to-earth guy and everything turned out just as we had hoped. People who come to visit us always comment about how well built the home is, from its solid construction to the finish work.” 

“Our company specializes in custom homes,” says Falconeiri. “This project was definitely one of our more challenging builds because of the very limited footprint.” The first floor of the home had to be no wider than the prior home had been. To add more living space to the new home, Falconeiri’s team cantilevered out the second level by several feet.


The builders worked closely with Rivermoore Structural Engineering in Scituate to construct the home’s steel frame and secure it into the ledge. Another challenge of the waterfront location were the tides. “We knew that during certain lunar high tides the seawater could potentially rise quite high,” says Falconeiri. To solve this problem, the foundation of the home was designed like a Roman aqueduct, with a series of stone arches that allow the water to flow right beneath the home.”

The interior of the home features a plethora of woodwork and a very nautical feel. Designed as an “upside down” house, there are three guest bedrooms located on the lower level, while the master bedroom and main living areas are located up a flight of stairs on the second level. A great room connects the open kitchen and living room areas and features a vaulted ceiling and expansive glass windows all around.


“There is easily a 300-degree view of the water,” says Falconeiri. “The home also has a lot of curves, which plays off the ocean waves. The home’s eyebrow windows were all prefabricated and had to be hoisted up. They were absolute monsters to put in.” On the third level of the home, there is an office loft and a cozy den with more spectacular views. Interior decorator Janet Shea of Janet Shea Interiors worked closely with the homeowners to design decor for the home and Faneuil Kitchen Cabinet constructed the home’s beautiful chef kitchen. Sean Papich Landscape Architecture worked on the home’s surrounding hardscaping and landscaping features. 

The Ryan family moved into their Little Harbor home in the fall of 2018. “We pinch ourselves every day,” says Ryan, reflecting about how it feels to live in their new home. “We get to see the sunrise every morning and the harbor has become an extension of our home. We love to swim, fish, boat, paddle board and kayak. You can even catch striped bass right off the dock.” On warm spring evenings, the Ryans love sitting by the firepit on their back deck, firing up the grill and soaking up the salty air. “The views of the harbor are amazing,” says Ryan. “You feel like you’re on vacation.”