Category Archives: Cape Cod Custom Builder

Cape Cod Home Additions: Double the Space with Two Stories

According to, three out of four homeowners have completed a major home improvement project since the start of the pandemic. With both school and work going remote for many families, the need for more space is what drove the bulk of renovations.

A story on exploring the potential return on investment for home improvement projects includes a home addition as one of the top ways of recovering a portion of your remodeling budget should you decide to sell your home. The story explains that adding livable space is always a smart move, both to meet your family’s needs right now and to appeal to potential buyers in the future.

When it comes to building a home addition, more is more… space, that is. The most efficient way, in terms of both budget and land usage, of maximizing space is to go with a two-story addition.  And if you are considering building an addition to your Cape Cod home, we suggest a bedroom on one floor and an office on the other, each with an attached bath and closets.

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A home addition we recently completed in Cotuit; it includes a spacious room with a sitting area and sleeping alcove, and an attached full bath.

The way we use our homes on Cape Cod is somewhat unique. A report released by the National Association of Realtors in 2019 found that more 41% of homes in Barnstable County were secondary residences, one of the highest rates of second home ownership in the country. And with approximately 35% of Cape Cod residents over the age of 55, we also have one of the oldest populations in the country.

These two factors are why an addition with an office, a bedroom and two attached baths make sense.

There are many indications that the work-from-home paradigm will become permanent, at least to some extent. Twitter has already made the call; Google is headed in that direction. Anecdotal evidence, such as packed grocery stores and lengthy lines at landfills on random mid-winter days, suggest that, with remote work and school, second homeowners are now utilizing their homes year round. With no need to go into the office, or head to the classroom, why not enjoy the wide-open spaces of the Cape as much as possible? If you’re working from a home, a dedicated office lends itself to increased productivity.

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Sticking with flexible furnishings, rather than built-ins, will let you easily move your office. Photo via

While the need for a home office is a somewhat novel trend on the Cape (who wants to work when you’re here in the summer?), the desire to have a master suite is nothing new. An endless parade of summer guests makes having a private haven at home practically a requirement. What is somewhat new is the need to have a first-floor master suite.

As the Cape’s population has grown older in recent decades, aging-in-place home design has become a prevalent consideration for homeowners. Many of our clients who own second homes here plan on living on the Cape year round once they retire. When it comes to remaining at home well into one’s golden years, a first-floor master suite is an absolute must.

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This first-floor master suite, in one of our custom-built homes in Osterville, includes a full bath, walk-in and closet, and a small private terrace.

This is where our suggestion that your two-story home addition has a bathroom and closet on each floor comes into play.

If your family includes young children, you probably don’t want your master bedroom too far removed from other bedrooms, so you would likely opt to use the upper floor of your new addition as a bedroom. When the kids are grown, perhaps visiting with young children of their own, you’ll want some distance; you’ve already suffered through middle-of-the-night tantrums, thank you very much. With a bathroom and closets already in place in the lower level of your addition, you can easily use the space as a bedroom, and continue to do so should mobility issues arise after retirement. And should you decide to sell your home before your own retirement, there is a very good chance that recent retirees with a first-floor master at the top of their wish list will be a strong portion of the buyer pool.

That’s a home design win-win, wouldn’t you say?


The Kitchens Catching Our Eye

As Cape Cod kitchen remodelers, we spend a lot of time online looking for design inspo and the next big thing. As we head into a new year, we’re on the lookout for trends that will be incorporated into many 2021 kitchen projects. In the spirit of the season, we’d like to share some of the kitchens that have piqued our interest:

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Photo via Digs Design Co.

This space, by Newport, RI-based designer Jocelyn Chiappone, illustrates the recent move away from exclusively white kitchens. The thoughtful wood touches here lend a warm and inviting energy to the space, add visual texture without creating clutter. The white light fixtures, vases, and countertop help maintain a clean, crisp look.

cape cod kitchen design

Photo via Digs Design Co.

This kitchen perfectly balances new trends with classic staples. (Embracing fads is great, but it’s important to leave room to update the look down the road). The cabinets in this kitchen are timeless, and the on-trend pulls bring them to life. The eye-catching backsplash, sophisticated wooden drawer fronts, and modern lighting touches complete this seamless blend of old and new.

Photo via Lauren Liess

This Lauren Liess-designed country kitchen exudes warmth and comfort. We love the rustic elements: the wood flooring and furniture, and the classic look of copper pots and pans. The black soapstone countertops and white cabinetry add the perfect pop of modern contrast.

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Photo via Lauren Liess

This stunning space is not only brimming with natural light, it’s a great example of transitional design. Sharp, clean lines create a modern look, while warm elements like the range, wood flooring, and unique light fixtures add a dash of vintage appeal.

We love this kitchen’s dark elements, which lend a masculine feel to the room without overpowering the clean design. The wooden stools and black window trim are perfect rustic additions that pull the look together.

This updated beachy look is perfect for a Cape Cod kitchen. The white cabinetry and gold pulls are classic, while sophisticated touches like the bold blue island, patterned backsplash, and trendy stools (look at that nailhead detailing!) make this space unique and inviting.

cape cod kitchen remodeling

Photo via Designing Idea

More coastal inspiration from this kitchen on Designing Idea. The not-quite white on white look allow each element of the room to shine. The blue island, honey-hued floors, and beachy chandelier add just enough contrast to this homey space.

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? Please contact us to arrange a complimentary consultation.

Home Improvements You Can Make Right Now

As Cape Cod custom builders, we’re always looking for new ways to make our clients’ homes shine. And since being stuck inside lately may have you wondering how to spend your time, we thought we’d share a few things you can do right now to play with your space and give it a fresh new look.


Make a Gallery Wall: You know all those photos currently scattered around your house? You can gather and hang them together to make a bigger visual impact. While small images and art pieces can feel like clutter when they’re spread out around your home, they feel more intentional when hung together in an installation-like presentation.


Rearrange Your Art: In that same vein, this is a great time to rearrange the art in your home. That piece that’s been hanging in your entryway for years probably no longer pops—leave something in the same spot for long enough, and you’ll stop seeing it. Rethink the placement of your art pieces, rehang them in a fresh way, and you’ll “re-see” them.


Flip the Furniture: Furniture also falls victim to becoming invisible over time. Try some new layouts to make your space feel larger and remind you how much you love your pieces.


Get Your Kondo On: Marie Kondo would want you to use this time to purge, purge, purge. Throw out all the stuff you’ve been meaning to throw out. Donate what you don’t use anymore, reorganize what you do, and clean your spaces. You’ll feel great.


Work on Your Wardrobe: It’s never too early to start thinking about your seasonal wardrobe swap. Warmer temps are just around the corner (hopefully), so now’s a great time to reexamine, rethink, and restyle your spring and summer clothes.


Style Those Shelves: It’s been on your to-do list for years. Now’s the time to restyle your bookshelves! This is a great creative outlet if you’re going a little stir-crazy. You can pull pieces from other rooms in your home to diversify the look. (Check your cabinets for serving platters you rarely use — they make great background pieces). Add some framed photos and some sculptural pieces to break up the boxy-ness, and you’ll have some gorgeous new shelves on your hands.

On that note, we could all use some extra color these days, so why not arrange your books in a rainbow spectrum? It creates a cohesive look that will bring a smile to your face every time you see it. (To impress Ms. Kondo even further, go through your books and make a “donate” pile first.)


Play HGTV: Be your own interior designer. Take some time to really inspect the current furniture arrangement in the rooms of your home. Would a long-forgotten chest of drawers look better in a different spot? Does every room have a furniture piece that adds height? Move things around until you can’t help but love every space.


Make a few quick changes, and you’ll be surprised how fresh and new your home can feel.

The Perfect Fit: Three Levels to Renovating Your Cape Cod Kitchen

Your kitchen is the heart of your home. This all-important space is often the focus of our Cape Cod home renovations, and for good reason. Renovating your kitchen can completely transform your entire home, with the added benefit of increasing resale value. When you work with the team at C.J. Riley Builder, your renovation is in expert hands, whether you’re looking to make a few thoughtful changes, completely revamp the space, or anything in between.

The Entry-Level Remodel

If you’d like to update your kitchen but keep disruption and cost to a minimum, we can maintain the original layout of the room. With cabinets and countertops, appliances, windows and doors staying in the same place, there’s no need to move any plumbing or gas/electrical lines, which helps control costs. And with the windows and doors retaining their original positions, the permitting process is streamlined because there are no alterations to the exterior of your home.

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Photo: Pinterest

Though they won’t be moving, replacing your cabinets can work wonders in transforming your kitchen. (And if the boxes are well built and still in good condition, we may only need to replace the cabinet doors!) Making updates to the room’s lighting and swapping out dated faucets can make a major impact. If there is enough room in your existing kitchen, a small center island with a breakfast bar can be installed. Add new flooring and countertops, and your kitchen will look brand new.

The Mid-Range Makeover

If a mid-range renovation is in your budget, we can explore the possibility of removing a wall between the kitchen and an adjacent room to open up the space. Though your doors and windows would stay in the same spots, as would the sink and stove, removing the wall would create a brand new visual footprint.

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Opening up a kitchen space

A mid-range renovation would also include new cabinets (opting for stock or semi-custom cabinetry, rather than fully custom, reduces costs), counters, appliances, flooring, and lighting to create a significant transformation. To take your mid-range kitchen makeover to the next level, consider adding a tile backsplash, and going with not-quite-chef-appliances. There are some great options that bridge the gap between GE and Wolf.

The Dream Kitchen

Finally, with a high-end renovation, our team can fully gut your existing kitchen and create your perfect version from the ground up. (It’s the most used space in your home—it’s worth the investment!) The doors and windows can be moved to more desirable locations, improving the flow – such as important consideration when entertaining – and light in the space, and we can create a new layout for the room to maximize functionality.

cape cod kitchen design

A C.J. Riley dream kitchen

This can include changing the layout of cabinets and counters, as well as moving the sink and stove. If space permits, having a center island plumbed, to allow a sink and cooktop to be installed in it, gets the cook out of the corner and into the action, another important factor for those who frequently entertain. With new chef-grade appliances, beautiful custom cabinetry, and thoughtfully selected counters, flooring, and fixtures, your dream kitchen will become a reality.


If you’re ready to renovate your Cape Cod kitchen and transform your home, we’re ready too! Please contact us for a consultation.

Right-Sizing Your Home Addition

As premier custom builders on the Cape, the experts at C. J. Riley handle many Cape Cod home addition projects. Building an addition on your home is a popular, cost-effective alternative to a whole-house remodel or relocating to a new home altogether, and an addition that is customized to meet your family’s specific needs can truly transform your space. Planning an addition can be challenging, but the team at C. J. Riley Builder has decades of experience navigating the process, and we know how important it is to right-size your addition so it works seamlessly with your existing home.

Of key importance is figuring out the must-have elements of your addition — the updates or embellishments you absolutely need from the process. This list could include a luxurious new living space, a spa-like guest bath, a playroom where the kids can roam free, or anything in between. Determine what you can’t live without, and the planning phase will move more efficiently.

cape cod home design

Also crucial is knowing how much space you want to (and are allowed to) create with your addition. Depending on the zoning regulations in your town, you may be able to build an addition that doubles the size of your home. Otherwise, the allowable addition is typically calculated by cost, usually maxing out at 50% of your home’s assessed value. “Setbacks” — the minimum amount of space between a dwelling and your property line, or adjacent environmentally sensitive areas — must also be considered. Our team is intimately familiar with zoning regulations across the Cape, and we can create a gorgeous addition to your home within any given parameters.

If your family has outgrown your home, but you are attached to it and your neighborhood, or you have a sentimental attachment to it because it’s been in your family for generations, consider building an addition that “maxes out” zoning regulations. With a two-story home addition, you can both increase the number of bedrooms and add common living space such as a family room or larger kitchen. Should you own a one-story home, adding an entire second story can address zoning regulations that prohibit increasing its overall footprint.

With a mid-sized addition, you can create a first-floor master suite, a move that’s incredibly important if you plan to spend your retirement years in your Cape Cod home. Even if you may be spending your golden years elsewhere, a first-floor master will do wonders for your home’s resale value. A mid-sized addition can also allow the creation of an open floor plan. Many homes on Cape Cod were constructed before this concept became so prevalent — in some cases centuries prior — and, because an open-floor-plan main living area that includes the kitchen is perfect for spending time together as a family and for entertaining, this is one of the top requests from clients who are considering building an addition.

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If, on the other hand, your home is nearly perfect as it is, yet it’s missing an essential element or two, a smaller addition may be all that is needed to transform and upgrade your space. A small “bump-out addition” can add a key room to an existing area of your home, such as giving a first-floor bedroom an en-suite bathroom, installing a luxurious walk-in closet, or carving out an intimate dining area to create an eat-in kitchen, perhaps with custom-built banquette seating.

Whether you’re looking to vastly increase the size of your home, or simply want to make some thoughtful upgrades using limited space, the team at C. J. Riley Builder can bring your Cape Cod home update to life.

Ready to expand your Cape Cod home? We’re ready to make it happen. Contact us today for a consultation.

Holiday Gift Ideas from a Cape Cod Builder (Seriously!)

With Halloween in the rearview mirror, the holiday season is officially upon us, bringing with it another surge of gift-giving anxiety. If your loved ones absolutely don’t need any more knickknacks, scarves, or gift cards, we suggest opting for meaningful, practical gifts from your favorite custom builder on Cape Cod. We’ve got a few ideas:

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cape cod holiday gifts

For your friend who spends all year looking forward to grilling season, a barbeque shelf like the one we installed above is a space-saving way to up their outdoor entertaining game, plus a time-saving route for passing food items and serving pieces from the kitchen to the patio. Plating burgers at next summer’s cookouts will be easier than ever.

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For your loved ones who keep busy households running smoothly, creating a secondary laundry room can be a serious game-changer. Adding a laundry space on the floor of the home where most of the laundry originates will save time, hassle, and that dreaded one-too-many trip up the stairs.

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For your most organized friend, a custom-made, built-in TV cabinet, like the one we installed in the home above, will help corral clutter and complete the visual feel of their living space. Coffee tables strewn with stuff will be a thing of the past.

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For the one in your life who can’t resist a bit of luxury, there’s this decadent dual outdoor shower. Just after a long day at the beach and just before a fabulous summer dinner, there’s nothing like relaxing, rinsing off the sand, and not having to take turns!

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Finally, for your loved one who’s always reading classic novels and browsing antique stores, a gorgeous gas-burning lantern is an eye-catching way to add some Old World elegance to their home. Makes you want to drive up in a horse-drawn carriage, doesn’t it?

This year, skip the so-so presents and give the Cape Cod homeowners in your life gifts that will last a lifetime. Contact us today for a holiday consultation!

Questions to Ask a Cape Cod Builder

You know that moment at the end of an important meeting when you’re asked, “Do you have any questions?” and your brain draws an inescapable, panic-inducing blank? I absolutely have questions, you think to yourself. Probably several! But now you’ve put me on the spot and I can’t remember a single one.

It happens to the best of us. When you first meet with a builder, a lot of important information is exchanged, which can make it hard to remember the burning questions you had right on the tip of your tongue as you drove to the meeting. But fear not: We’ve gathered some of the most asked (and most important) questions to have at the ready when you start your relationship with a Cape Cod builder, so you can leave that first meeting feeling confident and enthusiastic:


“Could you provide some references?”

While a helpful word-of-mouth recommendation can get you on the phone with a builder of your choice, you want to make sure they have plenty of positive feedback from clients to back up their reputation. Referrals from homeowners they’ve worked with in the past, subcontractors with whom they collaborate, or other professionals in the industry will set your mind at ease.


“Are you insured and licensed?”

When it comes to Cape Cod, there’s no guarantee that every homebuilding professional is, in fact, licensed and insured. Make sure the pro you’re thinking of engaging is by taking a look at the necessary licenses and proof of insurance for yourself. You don’t want to wake up in a cold sweat mid-project wondering if you’re covered in the event of a very specific and wildly unlikely potential mishap. Raccoons probably won’t stage a coup and attack the site of your new custom addition, but you never know.


“Could I see an itemized proposal?”

Before you move forward with your project, your builder can and should provide you with an itemized proposal with estimated costs for the work you’re considering. This document is incredibly important to have on hand through every stage of the process, both for builder and client. It is as sacred as Belichick’s playbook.


“What’s your history with meeting budgets?”

One of the reasons that itemized proposal is so important? Your project’s budget. For many homeowners, if a builder they’re considering tends to finish projects over budget, it could be a deal breaker. Whether budgets have been met on projects past can speak volumes about a builder, so be sure to get that info.


“When can you start this project?”

Even if your potential builder can’t give you a firm start date, it’s a good idea to ask about the general timeline you can expect with your proposed project. If business is booming but you need your basement refinished ASAP, for example, you may need to look elsewhere.


“How long will this project take to complete?”

While your kitchen is being remodeled, how long will you be eating takeout? Will your new mudroom be ready by Halloween? Will you have passed away peacefully in your sleep before you ever set foot in the converted apartment above your garage? These are important questions.


“Do you have an online presence? Can I take a look at your website?”

You probably took at least a brief look at your builder’s website before setting up a consultation, but you should also ask if their online presence extends elsewhere. Their social media pages, including profiles on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, can provide greater insight about their work and how satisfied their clients are. Don’t be afraid to do some Google-hunting for customer reviews, either.


Do you have a project in mind for your Cape Cod home that you’d like to get off the ground? The expert team at C.J. Riley is at the ready with answers to these key questions (and any others you remember on your ride home).

Renovating a Bathroom with Aging in Place in Mind

It’s not much fun to think about getting older, but for homeowners, making aging-in-place preparations early can save you a lot of worry down the road. If you plan to someday retire to your Cape Cod home, or you’ve already settled down on the Cape for the long haul, you can make thoughtful home renovations that will simplify your golden years without sacrificing your design aesthetic.

Aging-in-place considerations are particularly important when it comes to bathroom design, and the expert team at C.J. Riley Builder can renovate your home so it’s ready for the years ahead.


First-floor accessibility: First things first: If your master bath isn’t currently on the first floor of your home, you may want to consider a change. Climbing the stairs could become overwhelming as you get older. If your children recently moved out on their own, now is a great time to reconfigure where your master bedroom and ensuite bathroom are located in your home. Making the transition to the first floor now could spare you a lot of work later on.


Zero-threshold options: While it may seem like no problem currently, there’s a possibility that stepping over the lip of your shower or edge of your tub could become trying in the years to come. With a zero-threshold walk-in shower, the problem is solved. If you’re more a bath person (and who could blame you?), there are also bathtubs that allow for walking in, providing a watertight seal when the opening is shut behind you. With these options, you can make spa-like bathing a lifelong experience.


Slide and grab bars: Bars that will help with mobility in the future are one of the easiest elements to install in your bathroom right now. Slide and grab bars in the shower, and near the tub and toilet, can be stylishly incorporated into your bathroom design. (We promise, your space will not look like a public restroom with these safety elements.) An adjustable shower head that can accommodate a seated bather is a helpful addition as well.


Updated tech: There are many design upgrades that incorporate helpful technology to facilitate aging in place. You may want to install a toilet that includes bidet-like features, making it easier to stay clean in case of limited mobility. Kohler and other luxury bath design brands offer toilets that make sitting and standing easier as you age, faucets that don’t require too strong a grip, and more.


Height considerations: Many bathrooms cannot accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, and in the event you may someday use one, you’ll want to be sure there’s enough clearance built into your bathroom design. Consider installing a lowered or cantilevered vanity, with appropriate space beneath so a wheelchair can be rolled right up to the appropriate spot. While we’re renovating, we can also determine if your bathroom door could be widened to better allow for wheelchair or walker access.


Safe flooring: You may love your marble bathroom tiles, but your older self may find that the risk of slipping isn’t worth the visual appeal. We can retile your bathroom with a material that’s less likely to become slick, such as vinyl, greatly decreasing the risk of a fall.


Helpful lighting: While your bathroom may already be effectively lit, overhead lighting can become more difficult to manage as you age. Consider adding sensor lights that turn on when you enter the bathroom. And lights that are positioned lower, like those on either side of a vanity, are much easier to reach for cleaning or replacing bulbs.


When you work with C.J. Riley, you can renovate with the future in mind without sacrificing your home’s distinctive style. Contact us today to get started on your own bathroom renovation.

Preparing Your Cape Cod Home for a Hurricane

Have you heard? Cape Cod has tornadoes now.

The recent weather events were unexpected, to say the least. The recent insanity also served as a reminder that hurricane season is upon us. On Cape Cod, we experience most of these storms between August and early fall.

Though we all cross our fingers for the kind of storms that seem, in hindsight, like a whole lot of worry over nothing, the risk of extensive damage always exists. Even if you’re a seasoned Cape Codder, there’s always more you can do to prepare your home for when a hurricane hits. The team at C.J. Riley Builder can help make your property as stormproof as possible.


Steps You Can Take Right Now

We at CJR can take the following precautions right away to protect your home:

Generator installation: Install a whole-house generator now, and your family will thank you when a hurricane threatens to knock out power. A generator is especially crucial for homes close to the ocean. If you’ve ever had to rely on a sump pump to clear your basement of water, it’s time to take the plunge.

Adding storm shutters: Motorized, rolling storm shutters will protect your home right away when the time comes to hunker down and ride out a hurricane, allowing you to emerge when the skies have calmed without encountering any nasty damage surprises.

Deck replacement: If your home has a wood deck, rot is a risk, and possibly already a problem. Replace the wood with composite decking material, and there’ll be no chance of weak wood ripping apart in high winds and causing damage to your home or those nearby.

Skylight replacement: What is merely a dribble during a rainstorm can easily become a waterfall during a hurricane. Don’t wait! Replace any leaking skylights now and save yourself a potential liquid catastrophe.

Roof work: If your roof isn’t in tip-top shape, you’re going to have a very challenging hurricane season. Let us take a look and determine any required repairs now. A full roof replacement may not be in order, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure.

Property management: If these recommendations seem a bit overwhelming, have no fear. Engage our property management services and, in the event that a storm is forecast, we’ll take care of securing your property and storing outdoor furniture with plenty of time to spare. Following the storm, we’ll dispatch a crew to your home and inspect for any damage.

Planning: Once the exterior of your home is as secure as possible, turn your focus to those inside. Compile an emergency kit and create a family plan that will kick into action if and when a storm hits. (Yes, we know this isn’t new advice, but we recommend taking action now, while the memory of the great tornado surprise is still fresh in your mind. You’ll rest easy knowing you’re as ready as you can be!)


Steps You Can Take at Forecast Time

There are, of course, precautions that only need to be taken when you know a storm is headed the Cape’s way. It can be tempting to wait out a forecasted hurricane, hoping it loses power and turns into nothing more than an inconvenient rainy day, but it’s wiser to start prepping when a storm is first predicted. Better to have unused supplies on hand than to realize everyone else beat you to the milk and bread at Stop and Shop.

When a hurricane is forecast, stock up on the usual non-perishables: pasta, canned soup and vegetables, peanut butter, dried goods… Don’t forget a manual can opener! Stockpile bottled water and ice as well—a beach cooler will go a long way. (If you’re prone to cabin fever, adult beverages are a great help.)

Make sure you have flashlights or lanterns and enough batteries to power them. Keep phones and other devices charged for the moment you lose electricity, even while hoping that moment never comes. And finally, be sure you have a first aid kit in an accessible, safe spot in your home.


If you want to better protect your Cape Cod home during storm season, please contact us for a consultation. Plan ahead and stay safe!

Blurring the Line Between Indoor & Outdoor Living

Google “outdoor living” or “blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living” and you’ll find so many awe-inspiring ideas, you may end up slamming the computer shut as you think “There’s no way I can ever do anything like that.” Don’t get frustrated. Get creative.

But with a thoughtful design process, and a few minor changes, bringing the outdoors in can be easily done. The same is true for the reverse; creating outdoor spaces with all the comfort and functionality of your kitchen or living room…or both!

  • Mini Project with Maximum Impact: Private “Master” Terrace

Have a first-floor master bedroom? Would you like to have adjoining private terrace? Sure, why not, right? If your first-floor master is toward the back of your home, creating a private terrace is often as simple as adding a door and the terrace itself.

In the master bedroom above, we installed a glass swinging door. One side swings open like a traditional door, and the other side is a fixed window. We set it between two existing windows, and surrounded the entire with millwork to give it a cohesive feel. Just outside is a petite flagstone terrace that’s perfect for sipping a cup of coffee, or enjoying a glass of wine.

We took a similar approach in this historic home in Cotuit (below).

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  • Add a Deck at the “Right” Height

To some extent, all decks blend that line we’re talking about. But a deck that is high off the ground just doesn’t feel as connected to the outside as one that is sited low to the ground and, preferably, at the same level as the room adjacent to it. The one above, that we added to a historic home in Centerville, is low enough to the ground that view-impeding safety fencing was not required. With no stairs between the house and the deck, and a trio of doors for access, moving in and out of the house is truly seamless.

Take a look at the photo below and you’ll see why no “view-impeding” fence was so important.

deck builders on cape cod


  • Consider a Disappearing Wall

A disappearing wall is typically large windows – about the size of doors – that either fold back accordion style, or can be pushed back into pockets in the wall. That was the approach we took with the pool house above. Even with the very highest quality windows, there is some loss of energy with a disappearing wall, so it’s best to reserve this concept for summer homes and or seasonal outbuildings like this.


  • Invest in Your Outdoor Spaces (especially if they’re small!)

It can be tempting to write your micro yard off as being so small, it’s not worth an investment. Not true! At the home above, a historic house in Hyannis Port, the side yard is minuscule as are so many in the famed village. So we had to make every inch count.

After having a flagstone terrace installed, we got to work building the dual outdoor showers (two showers; no waiting!), a storage unit, a handheld shower and the platform for the spa. The copper spa was custom built in Colorado and shipped to the Cape. When it was delivered to Hyannis Port, we had a crane at the ready to hoist the spa up and over the house, and drop it into place.

With the summer season on the Cape so brief, doesn’t it make sense to do everything possible to ensure you and your family are able to savor moment?