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O, What Cadoux Can Do!

At Peter Cadoux Architects, Cadoux’s Cadeaux Is Keeping Everything Small, Except His Imagination—and His Height

Article by Robin Moyer Chung

Photography by Warren Jagger

Originally published in Westport Lifestyle

A PCA home is like a jewelry box: a beautifully appointed structure that efficiently contains all of one's valuables. It makes one want to peek inside to see the entirety of the house and its rarefied inhabitants. And, of course, hope their kitchen is as messy as our own.

Peter Cadoux, a Westport resident since 1976, and his wife, Sally, live in Westport with their three kids; their cat, Tigger; and their dog, Jazzie (the unofficial PCA mascot.)

Peter’s downtown office of more than 20 years is a quaint antique building humbly sandwiched between a parking lot and a vacant fish store. The point is to make people feel at ease and not overwhelmed by the spectacular photos of his multimillion-dollar seaside enclaves.

Yet, though his coastal manses may reduce the most hardcore of ascetics to salivating avarice, Peter contends, “The challenge, the journey, the magic is in the smaller package. With thoughtful design, we can achieve the same feeling of space in a smaller box.”

“In 2009, people wanted big houses. But they weren’t prepared for the upkeep. Now the trend is no wasted space.”

And style is never compromised, only enhanced. Large windows and lofty ceilings afford light and air, lending the home the spaciousness of a larger house. Other tricks include high-gloss paint and decorative windows so sunshine bounces around each room, and sliding glass panels inside of walls to create different room configurations as needed.

To maximize efficiency and mitigate maintenance, he and his staff sleuth out every possible element of each home, from toilet paper bars to pipes, before a shovel hits dirt.

“We find materials that look like authentic wood, but never rot,” says.

Still, despite his proclivity for practical, I had to ask: what’s the most spectacular thing a PCA client has requested? He and his assistant, Caroline, immediately responded: a Foucault’s pendulum! Yes, those exist beyond high school physics, and seemingly only one person in modern American society creates them.

So Peter tracked down the artisan, and Foucault’s spirit is gloriously swinging from a celestial ceiling pricked with 24,000 pinpoint lights, a shooting star and each phase of the moon.

“You can watch it for two hours before it cycles into the beginning again,” Peter says. 

And after enjoying the interplanetary interplay, viewers can enjoy a cocktail in the Cadoux-designed tiki bar. Seriously.

But wait, there’s more: Chihuly! Peter convinced the renowned glass master to create a sculpture for his client, one of only two or three blown for domestic display. Chihuly himself blew into town to install his swirling riot of royal blue glass which lords over the client’s dining room table to awe-inspiring effect.

But does the fabulous stuff make Peter untouchable? Nah.

“People look at me and think ‘Oh, he’s too big for that,’ however, often a well done smaller house that still meets the owner's program focusing more on usable and livable space is far more exciting and challenging. Even a new kitchen in an existing house should include consideration for design improvements that can be resolved within the design focus simply and efficiently.”

Fair enough, but it’s still fun to dream.

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