Successfully turning a dark and dated cottage into an ideal home for a soon-to-be retired couple looking to downsize has earned architect David Benevides of Benevides and Associates a runner-up award in this year’s Bermuda Building Design Awards.



According to the architect, the 1,500-square-foot cottage was stripped down to the bare structure—retaining only the Mexican terracotta tile on the ground floor—and redesigned into a bright, airy open-plan home.

“The cottage was completely renovated, the master bedroom was reconfigured and a master bath and closet were added,” said Benevides. A second bedroom was also created with a freestanding study partition added for privacy and workspace for the owners.



On the lower floor, the existing floor plan was changed to an open-plan layout with a storage room, laundry room, entrance closet and powder room added. A large covered porch with generous French doors was also added to the main living area, increasing the functional living space for the owners.

The open-plan concept was further enhanced by the use of white-on-white throughout the project. This helped increase the visual size of the cottage and added to the breezy, spacious feel of the space. The ceilings and their exposed beams were painted white, and the maple floors on the stairs and in the upper level were pickle-stained white by Lionel Taylor of Taylor’d Flooring.



“The white-on-white was amazing throughout,” stated one judge, while another commented that the bright white gave the space a Cape Cod look. All the judges agreed on the quality of materials and fantastic selection of fixtures. “It is a successful resolution of architecture as a whole,” stated another.

Because of the open-plan layout, the architect and owners sought a solution to help the kitchen blend seamlessly with the relaxed living areas. “The island in the kitchen is great because it conceals the stove and sink areas of the kitchen,” said the architect. “We, with the owners, decided that the kitchen cabinets would be detailed to look more like furniture, so the cabinets were finished with a low-sheen painted finish, a baseboard was added and limestone countertops reduced the kitchen appearance. The stainless-steel-fronted appliances give a nice high-tech look and complement the wire lighting purchased from Johnny White of ESC.”



According to Benevides, the owners were very involved in the design of their new home. “They wanted all the comforts of their old home incorporated into the smaller cottage they were going to move into,” he said. This included a beautiful art collection and a carefully selected mix of classic and contemporary furnishings.

“The project is very successful on a couple of levels,” said Benevides when asked to specify his favourite aspects of the design. “The exterior appearance is great; we managed to protect and retain all the vegetation around the house, which gives the cottage an old feeling. The lower floor with its open plan is very successful because the kitchen does come off as furniture with a warm inviting feel. The white-on-white theme throughout the house makes it feel larger and contemporary.”



While an all-white colour palette could easily come off as stark, cold and overly modern, the owners and architect managed to create just the opposite—a comfortable, warm and inviting space with a perfect balance of classic style and contemporary living. One judge said, “This one resonated the most with me in respect to balance, harmony and overall success in architectural solutions.”







General Contractor–RMS General Contractors; Mechanical Contractor–BAC; Electrical Contractor–In + Out Electrical; Plumbing Contractor–In house; Engineer–Periera Engineering Ltd.; Flooring–Taylor’d Flooring ; Millwork–Rossignol & Tremblay; Audio Visual–M+M International; Cabling–Switch Works; Appliances–Bermuda Gas; Windows/Doors–E+G Crafts Shop; Lighting–ESC; Roofing–SKB; Countertops–Surface Trends; Tile–Pembroke Stone and Tile; Plumbing Fixtures–BAC.