Hello friends! I am soooo excited and more than a little thrilled to be able to share my very special friend, Sandra Cavallo’s (of Old Silver Shed on Instagram) gorgeous Cape Cod home with all of you. A couple of years ago I met Sandra on Instagram and ever since, we have become great friends through numerous phone calls, texts, and Instagram posts. Sometimes that’s all it takes. I adore Sandra and with every shot of her Cape Cod home, I’m even more in love. They say your home is a reflection of who you are and I believe it fully in Sandra’s case. Mixing just the right amount of old and new within each space, Sandra’s home feels cozy and familiar… like an old friend. It’s the perfect combination of contemporary and vintage-luxe styles that makes this house so unique.

Have fun reading about Sandra and her gorgeous home below.. and prepare to fall in love,
just like I did.

Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful home with all of us today, Sandra…
Can you tell us a little history about your house?

We bought the property with the original house in 2006, a rundown folk victorian cottage built in 1905, with hopes of restoring it. Unfortunately it was too far gone so we disassembled the house down to the deck, salvaged all the pieces we could from it and decided to build new. We had found a few new builds that we liked the look of so we decided a new build would be the best option! The original foundation was West Falmouth pink granite so we continued that around the entire new structure. We drove around the Cape and collected all of our favorite elements from the beautiful old turn-of-the-century beach cottages for inspiration (we wanted the house to look like it had been here for 100 years) after interviewing some architects I realized I couldn’t get exactly what I was imagining, so we sat at a local bar one night and I sketched the house on placemat. I took the drawing to a draftswoman and she drew up the plans. We used the original cottage for design direction; the ceiling height, window style, the interior trim work (we salvaged the trim where we could and had knives cut at a local woodsmith to match it and cut more as we needed ) we stripped and reused all the original doors, and reinstalled the butler’s pantry. we designed the family room “cottage addition” to pay homage to the original cottage, with it’s arched entry, shed dormer and pitched roofline. I bought or found most of the interior design elements at salvage yards and junkshops, including bathroom fixtures, cabinet and door hardware, lighting and newel posts.

You refer to yourself as Old Silver Shed on Instagram. Where does the name come from?

Our House is located on Old Silver Beach, and I swear I have been wanting to build shed in our woods, and once a month open it up to people and sell cool things. It’s my “romantic project’, but it always seems we always do other projects first… one day I’m going to build it.

Your pizza oven has a heart-felt story, can you share that as well?

My husband was excited to build the pizza oven in the kitchen. It is a massive two sided fireplace, that acts like a divider between the family room and kitchen. We collected most of the stones on the property and while the stone mason was working, we would hand him the stones we liked. My son found a heart shaped stone and decided we should place it on the pizza oven, where the heart would be. The lintel stones on both of these fireplaces were salvaged from the cottage’s bulkhead steps. We used the rest of the stones from the bulkhead at every entrance into the house.

Can you tell us a little about the hearts hanging on your fireplace?

I collected hearts on the mantle in Switzerland and Germany and Austria. I get more every time I go. One heart is hung with a scarlet ribbon, a nod to my mom who used to sing that to me as a child and it always made me cry.

You have such a mix in design styles, where does this come from?

I think the mix-thing started when I was a kid. My favorite days were those that rained because our neighbors lived in a giant victorian house and when it rained they would let all of us kids play in the attic over the garage. It was filled to the brim with old furniture and treasures. We would go up there and decorate. We used whatever was there, a range of old victorian antiques to mid century modern pieces. We made it work! I don’t really lock myself into one design style, I love so many things about all styles, though for me in my own home I always lean more to the practical. And I would say that I prefer a more collected home to a decorated home. Once I have the collected pieces for a room, I try to make the rest of the room disappear so one can focus on the pieces I think are important.

Are you a trained interior designer?

I am a graphic designer by education and career.

How would you describe your design style?

Amy Chalmers called it “vintage-luxe”, and I like it! (So perfect Amy!!)

I love everything you do, what was the ultimate inspiration and styles of each room and space?

We lived in California before moving to the Cape and I loved our home there, we furnished it with classic modern Italian pieces which, today-almost 20 years later, I still love. These pieces were the focal point for our main rooms, and I worked around them. I love hunting at flea markets and junk shops, so I fill in the rooms around these modern pieces with the junk I find, sometimes it’s a battle but usually I can find a way to make it work. Ultimately, I think the key to making it all work is to find/ buy pieces, whether it’s a seashell or a sofa, that are examples of design excellence. If all of your pieces have that same thread of beautiful design, it’s easy to put them side by side.

You have another home in Europe, is it decorated in a similar style?

We have a ski house in Vermont. We were influenced by Austrian mountain style, and it’s completely different from the cape because our lifestyle there is different. We are there mostly in winter so it’s warm and wooly and colorful, with lots of cozy gathering spaces, bunk rooms for guests and big comfortable furniture.

Our apartment in Zurich suits our life there, it’s all modern and sleek. I am fortunate to be able to move between the different places, it lets me feed that passion for so many design styles and keeps my creativity fresh.

What is your favorite color that you like to design around?

For my own home, I like neutrals, always. Colors that are easy on your eye. I need it to be peaceful, I feel like our home is where we all go to get away from the daily chaos out there. and I love how flexible you can be having a neutral backdrop, I accent with trendy colors and design elements to keep it fresh.

Do you prefer carpet or hardwood?

Hardwood with area carpets

Layering rugs is the big ‘thing’ nowadays. How do you feel about it?

I don’t really layer rugs, I find it impractical and even fussy? But some people do it really well, if they are really casual and relaxed about it. I do like layering a skin on a rug.

Crown molding or no crown molding?

None for me, unless the house really calls for it, and then I love when it’s really ornate and over-the-top.

Light hardwood floors or dark?

I love both, I think the spirit of the house drives that.

Favorite color kitchen cabinets?

Depends on the house, but I love totally bleached oak these days, or if it’s paint then white or black!

Favorite counter top material?

Calacatta marble, all day long!

Do you do all your own gardening?

I don’t do my gardening, I would have to pave over them all because I can’t keep anything alive. I do go and pick out all my flowers and trees, place them and then I have a gardener come and plant them, and then without a doubt by next year we move them around. (they call me “move-a-bush”) we have an area where we save and plant all the stuff I use in my outside pots and boxes or that I don’t like somewhere and then we go and pull from there.

What is your favorite room in the house?

I actually love and use all the rooms, it depends on what I’m doing. I love to read in our sleeping porch/guest room, I love my library when it’s cold and the wind is howling, or if my girlfriends come over we sit in there. and my family room is so quiet and peaceful when the beach is busy during the summer. I love our kitchen when we have a lot of guests. when I am looking to get away from everyone in the house I head to our living room. Design-wise, I think my half bath is my favorite, it’s quirky, the right mix of vintage and modern and I love every single element we used in there.

Where does the family spend the most time?

Definitely the kitchen. someone is always eating.

Now that you are an empty nester, are you looking forward to the holidays with your kids coming home?

Yes!! I love that they can’t wait to get home , so I try to make it extra special when they are here. and I love that now that they are older, they really appreciate all the thought, energy and little things that went into making this our home! They really love our house!

You’ve mentioned you would love to take on another renovation, are you still thinking along those lines?

Yes! As much as we love our home and everything we have done here, I could leave it tomorrow and create a new, very personal and perfect home for the ever-evolving personalities of our family. i always feel the drive to keep working on design projects, it’s like being a life-long student. I learn so much from every project I do so it’s exciting and very stimulating.

Who is one of your favorite designers?

My design hero is graphic designer milton glaser.

Last but definitely NOT least… Wine: red or white? cheers!

White if it’s cheap, red if it’s expensive. (Loved this answer!)

Thanks so much Sandra!!


I absolutely love showcasing amazing homes, click here to view a beautiful Santa Barbara ‘Little Glass House’ and here to view my friend Kathy’s gorgeous Maui Dream Home.