Panoramic Perfection

Dreamy ocean views inspire the design of a custom home at The Pinehills.

By Maria Allen

Photography by Dan Cutrona

Gazing through the floor-to-ceiling windows at Anne and Gordon O’Donnell’s custom home, it’s hard not to hold your breath for a moment as you take in the spectacular scenery.

Situated atop one of the highest coastal points between Maine and North Carolina, there are unobstructed views from nearly every room in the house. For the O’Donnells, being able to relax with their morning coffee while beholding at a spectacular expanse of Cape Cod Bay is a dream come true.

Originally from Canada, the O’Donnells moved to Massachusetts in 2008 and tried living in a few different parts of the state before discovering The Pinehills in Plymouth. Enchanted by the thoughtfully planned-out neighborhoods and the idea of living in close proximity to the ocean, the couple purchased a home in the Hitching Post neighborhood in 2014.

The O’Donnells fell in love with the natural beauty of the woodland landscape at The Pinehills and enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle and many amenities in the village. The location of their home was also ideal. It was close enough to Boston for Gordon, a client director for a global IT company, to commute a few days a week, and just a few miles from the ocean, making their house feel like a vacation getaway. The only thing better, they thought, would be if their home had a water view.

The couple lived happily in their home for several years before eventually deciding to explore the possibility of finding a plot of land where they could build a custom home and make their dreams of a water view a reality.


“We knew that we loved living at The Pinehills so we started looking at land in the different neighborhoods,” says Anne O’Donnell. She and her husband also joined a workshop with a few other couples who were considering custom homes at The Pinehills. “One day I heard someone talking about the design home with sweeping views being built in the new Dawn’s Light neighborhood,” says O’Donnell. “We came up here and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is what we were looking for!”

The O’Donnells selected a plot of land and worked closely with the Cape-based architecture and design firm Polhemus Savery DaSilva to design a custom home to suit their personal preferences. Beginning with a base plan created by the architect, the team walked the couple through the process of making various design decisions. “We increased the size of the windows because we wanted to maximize the view, but we also wanted to downsize the scale of the home a bit, since there would only be two of us living there,” says O’Donnell.

Working in this way, the O’Donnells were able to achieve exactly the sort of home they had always envisioned having. The home, which was finished in 2017, features an open floor plan, three bedrooms (one that is used as an office), and a beautiful chef’s kitchen. Anne O’Donnell did the interior decorating herself, keeping with a neutral color palette to achieve a feeling of beachy elegance and avoid distracting from the view outside their windows.

Designing From the Ground Up

Custom home building is thriving at The Pinehills, where highly skilled home designers take great care to listen to their clients’ hopes and dreams while paying close attention to the landscape.

“The land has a voice,” explains Glenn MacKenzie of MacKenzie Brothers Corp. “If the client has land already picked out, we help determine what style of house would best fit with the landscape. Alternatively, some clients come to us with a wish list for their dream home and we help them find a lot that suits their needs.”

Homeowners have a say in everything from how many bedrooms and bathrooms their home will have, to what type of shingles will be used on the home’s exterior. “Some clients might know that they like to entertain 25 to 30 people around the holidays and we can modify the layout to accommodate specific needs like that,” says MacKenzie.

The MacKenzie Brothers are currently working on a new custom home project in the Dawn’s Light neighborhood. “We are designing this home for single-level living, which is very popular right now,” says MacKenzie. Before breaking ground, he and his team scouted the land to determine the best orientation for the new home. “We went so far as to set up scaffolding at the site and we figured out that if we added a rooftop deck it would give the homeowners a great view,” says MacKenzie.

From beautiful floor plans and amenities to cutting-edge green technology, each custom home project is unique. “We tell people to trust themselves and trust the process,” says MacKenzie. Whether built beside a golf course, nestled within a quiet forest grove, or overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, these custom homes are a showcase of quality craftsmanship and beauty inside and out.