Diary of a Renovation: Creating a Home with Great Bones

March 3, 2015

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

“Enclaves of comfort”— that’s the motto for our house design and it says it all!  From the beginning we have thought about each space, how it will be used, and what will make life comfortable and convenient.

When we started our 2,200 square foot Cape Cod style home had a very traditional layout. The rooms were all small except for a large living room. The bathrooms and kitchen had outdated fixtures and everything was worn out and tired looking overall. Floors were covered in carpet, and we desperately wanted wood under our feet.

This house that is family-central and typically hosts big crowds all summer long. Our goal was to find the best way to rearrange the rooms to make better use of the living spaces and to add a second master bedroom. We absolutely needed a new kitchen and it was important to open up small cramped areas to create a better traffic flow. The creation of more storage spaces and closets were also needed (of course). Also, it was important to increase the connection and flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces..

These before photos give you an idea of what we were starting with.

Cape Cod Renovation Entry

Cape Cod Renovation Living Room

Cape Cod Renovation Dining Room

Cape Cod Renovation Kitchen

Cape Cod Renovation Den

Cape Cod Renovation Bedroom

Cape Cod Renovation Bathroom

Our budget demanded that we make all changes within the original footprint. Any change to the foundation would incur a large additional expense with more building permits. So we stayed away from the temptation to add-on.

Our architect Sam Streibert took our initial thoughts, improved upon them, and  created this final floor plan.

Cape Cod Renovation Floor Plan                        

One big change that drove the overall plan was moving the kitchen to the large sunroom space at the back of the house. This way, our new kitchen will become the heart of the home. Taking down the interior walls of the sunroom that divided the living and dining room space will give us the big spacious open plan kitchen and the great-room design we wanted for our casual family-driven lifestyle.

Kitchen designer Rebecca Reynolds discussing the new kitchen space with our builder Jim Gronski.

Cape Cod Renovation Kitchen

The repositioning of the kitchen along with other changes such as changing a front of the house bedroom to a cozy den creates a whole new flow to the house.

One area where we are able to add additional space to the house was the garage. The two-car garage became a one-car garage freeing up space for a mudroom and laundry area. Like many older homes, the house had a tiny front entry with one small coat closet. This new mudroom will be just the spot for beach bags, towels, and the detritus of family life at the beach.

The renovated garage will also host a new bedroom above.

Cape Cod Renovation Garage

Looking at the house torn apart you can’t help but wonder if this will all be worth it …

Cape Cod Renovation

But I know it can only go uphill from here.

You can read more about the renovation of this classic Cape Cod style home in part 1 and part 2 of this series. 

Find A Resource

Search from hundreds of home services, products, destinations, and real estate opportunities.

View All Resources