Tag Archives: Cape Cod custom builder

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.

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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.

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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.

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!

Renovating a Historic Cape Cod Home

At one of the charming historic homes on Cotuit’s famed “Loop,” the loose circle comprised of Main Street and Oceanview Avenue, we took what had been a little-used sitting room and created a space that works as both a family room and a guest suite for the homeowners’ frequent summer visitors. Along with bathroom and window updates, our work maintained the home’s history while incorporating tasteful modern touches.

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Like so many antique homes on Cape Cod, this one had been added onto several times over the years. The space we renovated is a wing that juts off the back of the home that is likely more than a century old.

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Working within the existing footprint of the space, we gutted it in its entirety, with the exception of a wood-burning fireplace. The inner workings of the fireplace – which we had restored – remained, as did its brick façade. We created a new, custom-milled mantle and surround with a clean, simple design that is period appropriate to the home.

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After gutting the space, we left the ceiling open. While the once-low ceiling made the room feel cramped, the new cathedral one lends an airy feel, which makes the space feel larger, as does the neutral palette of light gray and white. The flooring, a ceramic tile that resembles white-washed wood flooring, adds to the open feel and is a durable choice for this summer beach home.

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At the end of the wing, we added an array of floor-to-ceiling windows with a sliding door. The windows flood the room with natural light and maximize the view of the pastoral, private backyard. A small deck just outside the sliding door is just large enough for a pair of Adirondack chairs, creating a peaceful space for a slow summer evening.

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An additional entrance opens onto an adjacent stone terrace.

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Arranged around the fireplace, which is set in the middle of the room, is a pair of comfortable chairs. At the end of the space closest to the sliding door is a casual arrangement of wicker furniture. At the opposite end of the room is a sleeping alcove, with a bed tucked into the corner next to an additional window.

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A full bathroom, with a soaking tub and shower, opens off of the sleeping area. We installed a durable porcelain floor with a classic wood appearance, in keeping with the traditional look of the home. A period-appropriate lantern fixture and sconce mirror lighting lend a sense of history as well.

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Finally, the home’s windows needed updating. Combining modern hardware and a traditional aesthetic, we installed historically correct 6-over-6 panes with a true mullion. Best of both worlds!

Do you own a historic home on the Cape that could use some updates? Our expert team is ready to make your vision a reality. Contact us today for more information.

Making the Case for Millwork

If you think ornamental millwork is only for mega-mansions, you need to think again. Adding or upgrading woodwork to your Cape Cod home can be a surprisingly inexpensive way to bring the look of any room to the next level.

Beyond Basic

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If your home has basic, or “builder grade,” baseboard trim — a simple 1″ x 4″ board that wraps around a room — replacing it with something more ornate, such as in the photo above, is the perfect starting point to your trimwork transformation. In some cases, we can even modify what you already have by simply adding strips of trim above and below. A coat of paint finishes the look.

Corner blocks, an ornamental square of wood set at the corners of window trim (below) are another easy way to upgrade existing woodwork. Readily available in a variety of styles, corner blocks can be added to most windows.

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Wall Treatments

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Most wood wall treatments are some kind of tongue-and-groove paneling: pieces of wood that are milled to allow them to lock together. In the top left in the photo above, from one of our projects, we laid the paneling vertically and finished it at the top with trim. Beadboard, which adds a classic coastal look, is one of the most prevalent wall treatment choices on Cape Cod. Batten board works well in both historic and contemporary homes. Because it can be created by simply affixing strips of wood to any wall, and then painting everything with satin or high-gloss paint, batten board is often one of the least expensive wall treatment options. Shiplap, a humble wall treatment that was once used primarily in the South, has migrated north due to the “Chip & Joanna Factor.” In the bedroom pictured below, we painted classic knotty pine paneling white, a more modern approach for this Cape staple.

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Stunning Staircases

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If your home has a staircase that’s fairly visible, use woodwork to make it shine. In the home above, one of our custom-built homes in Osterville, we went with transitional-style elements — not too modern and not too vintage — to create a wow factor. Tongue-in-groove paneling lines the wall beneath the stairs, hand-turned balustrades add texture, and the banister is stained in a deep hue to add contrast. The newel post is simple yet eye-catching. With an open area at the top of the stairs, we opted to continue the railing and balustrades to the second level.

Below is a custom lighthouse newel post we had created for one of our remodeling projects.

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Support Columns

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Even with the steel-beam construction techniques used today, interior support columns can still be needed. When remodeling an older home, removing existing columns tends to be costly and time-consuming. Woodwork can transform a utilitarian support column from eyesore to statement maker.

There are many column “wraps” available today. These are essentially kits, of either wood or plaster elements, or a combination of the two, which wrap around a column (on left in above photo). They’re attractive and a great value. In the photo on the right, one of our historic renovation projects, we custom-made columns to replicate existing ones.

Rethinking the Fireplace

millwork home ideas

If your fireplace is no longer the focal point of the room, it’s time for an upgrade. All of the above photos are from our historic renovation projects. We left the stonework surrounding the firebox (tile in the upper left) in place, and gave the surfaces a thorough cleaning. We then replaced the mantel and the fireplace surround — the vertical woodwork on either side — with new, custom-milled woodwork. The look is period appropriate, yet doesn’t look dated. In the upper left photo we also added an applique in the shape of a scallop.

The photo on the right was part of a larger remodeling project. In addition to updating the fireplace, we added a coffered ceiling: ornamental beams laid out in a grid pattern.

Built-In Cabinetry & Shelving

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The right-hand photo above is of a laundry room where we added custom cabinetry and drawers, and a mahogany countertop.

Ready to make some millwork upgrades? Please contact us to get started.

Spring Ahead With Small Projects

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. There’s still a bit of daylight when you get home from work. We “spring ahead” as we change the clocks in less than a month. Spring is coming, which means summer won’t be far behind. In preparation, consider some minor upgrades that will allow you to make the most of your summer fun.

Maximize Outdoor Living

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Imagine sipping your morning coffee on a new deck as the sun comes up, or enjoying dinner al fresco as it sets. Adding a deck, like the one above that we built, is easily done and surprisingly affordable.

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Already have a porch? Consider installing new flooring as we did at the home above.

As far as outdoor upgrades go, even an especially small yard has huge potential. Below, we added a terrace, with a copper spa, dual outdoor showers and storage, and privacy fencing: beautiful and space-efficient!

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Do you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to grill tonight,” because it means slogging back and forth to the kitchen too much? We can solve that problem by installing a simple shelf just outside a window, as we did below.

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And if you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to grill tonight,” because your freestanding, 10-year-old Weber just isn’t cutting it anymore, it’s time to consider an outdoor kitchen. This one, from one of our projects, includes a grill, refrigeration, storage, and prep space.

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Small Projects to Add to Summer Fun

Kids in and out from the pool all day. Guests wandering around in search of a bath when you’re entertaining outside. Tracking mud through the house when you’re working out in the garden.

If you don’t have a first-floor powder room, or you do, but it’s nowhere near your back door, adding a strategically located one is the solution to all of the above.

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We can often carve out space within your home to add a powder room, but if a small “bump-out” addition is needed, consider taking things a step further. By making the addition two stories, we can easily give you a second-story laundry room. Imagine not having to haul laundry up and down the stairs! Shown below is C.J.’s own laundry room addition, which includes dual washers and dryers as well as ample storage.

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Please contact us to get started on your own summer-fun small projects.

2019 Spaces: Creating a Master Suite for Your Cape Cod Home

Have you resolved to make improvements to your Cape Cod home in 2019? Allow us to suggest beginning the transformation with your master bedroom. With the help of the expert team at C.J. Riley Builder, revamping this oh-so-important space can prove far less pricey and disruptive than you may fear. To kick off the new year, we can create a stunning new space in your home, complete with several benefits:


While some renovations are done primarily for your family’s enjoyment, kitchen and bath remodeling is a good investment, as is creating a master suite. Based on average resale value just one year after completing a master suite project, you can expect a nearly 75% ROI. Whether you plan to sell one day or just want to keep up with the market, a master bedroom overhaul will do you favors in the long run.


As a Cape Cod homeowner, you’re no stranger to overnight guests—the summer months can feel like a merry-go-round of visitors spending time on our gorgeous island. Turning your master bedroom into a master suite, with your own en suite bathroom, will earn you some precious, well-deserved privacy when you’ve got a full house. You’ll no longer need to emerge from your sanctuary in the early hours and wait your turn for a shower before a family outing. Doesn’t that sound better?

home trends 2019master suite renovation ideas

In this home in Osterville, the en suite master bath isn’t especially large, yet it contains a sleek glass shower, dual vanity and his-and-hers sinks, an absolute must for many couples. Incorporating this space creates more convenience for the homeowners and promises a smoother transition when guests come to stay.


The best benefit of a master suite project? More room!

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In the photo above, from the same Osterville build, the master bedroom functions as a spacious escape. Doors leading to the private terrace open up the room and flood the uncluttered space with natural light.

Overwhelmed by the thought of a big renovation project? Not to worry. A total home overhaul isn’t necessary if you want more out of your master bedroom. We can re-purpose existing space, such as removing a wall between a bedroom and an adjoining room (like an outdated playroom or little-used dining area). Alternatively, we can build a bump-out addition to accommodate an en-suite bath, luxurious walk-in closet, or a “bonus” space that can be used as an office or to showcase some striking furniture, as in the photo below. You deserve it.

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Aging in Place

If Cape Cod is your forever home, it’s never too early to incorporate some aging-in-place renovations to prepare for the future. One way to accomplish this is building or relocating a master suite to the first floor of your home.

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Another consideration is installing a zero-threshold, accessible shower in your master bathroom, as we did in the custom renovation project pictured above. Improved accessibility without sacrificing space or style is what we’re all about.

A custom-designed and built master suite can make your whole home feel brand new. Get in touch with the team at C.J. Riley today to get started on your Cape Cod home’s 2019 transformation.

New Year, New Style: Homebuilding Trends for 2019

With 2018 winding to a close, now is the time to plan your Cape Cod home’s 2019 transformation. Resolutions don’t have to revolve around dieting or bad habits—why not focus on revamping your space instead? With the current tight real estate market, renovating a Cape Cod home is more appealing than ever. If you’re ready for something new and fresh, take a look at these trends the experts are predicting will be big in the coming year.

Unique Fixtures

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Source: Decor Aid

The fixtures in your home in 2019 should tell a story. Artisanal, local pieces are going to be big. Whether it’s a bold lighting design or sleek chrome cabinet pulls, the new year is all about sustainable picks that work as grounding elements in your home.

Metallic Accents

According to Décor Aid, copper and brass are the metals to watch in 2019, but metallic in general is having a moment. Kitchens and bathrooms will both benefit from an eye-catching touch of metal in what can often be an otherwise-bland landscape. Elle Décor, too, advocates for mixing metal accents in the upcoming year. It’s never a bad idea to add some thoughtful shine to your surroundings.

Bold Geometry

2019 home trends

Source: Decor Aid

Make a strong statement next year with bold geometric patterns. The tile trend isn’t going anywhere, so make it your own with some shapely inspiration. Whether it’s revamping your bathroom flooring or reinventing your beloved kitchen backsplash, adding some dimension will transform your tile game.

Rustic Sinks

home trends 2019

Source: Decor Aid

Could your space use a homier, farmhouse feel? Look no further than bucket sinks. These rustic pieces stand out and enhance comfort, often while saving you space (especially if you do away with a bulky bathroom sink/cabinet combo). As for the sink’s look, Gates Interior Design says the more intricate and metallic, the better.


Black is Back

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Source: Elle Decor

Okay, black never truly left, but if you prefer sleek and spa-like over farmhouse rustic, there’s no need to worry. Luxurious black bathroom fixtures are making a comeback, according to Elle Décor. Embrace the dark to give this room a sophisticated, elevated vibe. Same goes for the kitchen, where black fixtures will lend a sharp contrast to the very light, very white trends of the past few years.

Light Wood Flooring

homebuilding 2019

Source: Elle Decor

Wood flooring will be lightening up in 2019. Avoiding darker wood tones will help to make your rooms more airy, open and bright without sacrificing coziness. Think birch, hickory, red oak and the like for your floors next year. And good news: lighter wood flooring is much kinder than its darker counterparts when it comes to showing dirt.

Warmed-Up Countertops

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Source: Elle Decor

Speaking of cozy, sterile, cold countertops are officially out. In the new year, countertop tones will be going warmer and darker, giving kitchens a more inviting, friendly feel. Whether you’re sticking to old favorite polished granite, branching out with laminate or wood, or mixing it up with a combination of materials, warm, rich tones are the predicted MVP next year.

Colorful Appliances

It looks like it’s finally time to bid farewell to stainless steel. Colorful fridges with rich finishes are stealing the show in 2019. The same goes for stoves. Appliances no longer need to be exclusively sleek and shiny. A pop of color and warmth is just what many kitchens need.

Goodbye, Upper Cabinets

Also according to Gates Interior Design, the upper cabinet is a thing of the past. Minimalism is in, and as a result, eye-level storage space is out. Let your countertops breathe, opt for simple shelving instead of overbearing cabinets, and lower the storage center of gravity in your kitchen. Feel like you can’t give up your precious cabinet space? Consider compensating for lost storage space with a built-in or butler’s pantry.

Open Kitchens

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Trends come and go, but you simply can’t go wrong with an open kitchen. You’ll never look back on a spacious, breathable floor plan and cringe the way you may have done with say, shag carpeting or avocado green. Spending time with family and/or actually being able to enjoy your guests’ company while cooking will never go out of style. Trust us on this one.

Aging in Place

bathroom design

While you’re in renovation mode, if there’s a chance your current Cape house will be where you spend your golden years, it’s never too early to begin addressing aging-in-place concerns. Get ahead of the game now by opting for a zero-threshold shower, moving a master bedroom to the first floor, or installing some subtle grab bars and other aids.

The expert team at C.J. Riley Builder is ready to celebrate 2019 by updating your Cape Cod home. Get in touch today to get started with renovations for the new year!

Before and After Bliss: Home Renovation Inspiration

At C.J. Riley Builder, we love helping Cape Codders transform their homes. So when we’re not out literally renovating, we’re prowling the internet for before-and-after home renovation inspo. Check out one of our recent renovation projects, and a few online finds we love, below.

This kitchen renovation featured on ArchitecturalDigest.com was one for the books. The space was so cramped and dingy that even its well-meaning lighting fixture seemed obtrusive.

Opening up the space was the first step in the room’s transformation. Clean lines – the waterfall edge on the counter, streamlined cabinetry without handles – add a contemporary feel to the new kitchen. Love the on-trend blue accent cabinets, and the unexpected pops of black used in the pendant lights and stools.

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This kitchen transformation we found on CountryLiving.com is so satisfying. Even the high-end appliances (is that an Aga?!) couldn’t save the room from feeling dark and dated.

Although the size of the kitchen remains unchanged, a fresh palette of creamy hues lightens the look considerably. Open shelving used in lieu of upper cabinets make the space feel larger and add texture, as does the shiplap paneling.

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before and after kitchen

In yet another kitchen remodel before-and-after story, also on ArchitecturalDigest.com, what was 1970s ski-chalet style run amok is now all about timeless style.

The loft space above is now open to the kitchen, adding airy appeal. New windows and a nearly white-on-white palette make the formerly dingy room feel fresh. Touches of natural wood add rustic flair, perfect for a slope-side home.

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It isn’t just before-and-kitchen remodeling ideas that fire up our creative energies.

While this master bedroom, another ArchitecturalDigest.com find, was okay before, the after photo proves how much of a difference even small changes can make.

The odd cabinetry behind the sofa has been replaced with oversized windows. Hello, sunshine! With the swinging doors leading to the patio, which chew up a lot of floor space, swapped out for another window, there is now enough room for a sitting area. Shiplap paneling and woven blinds add dimension.

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Another example of small changes making a major difference is our own renovation of Designers Walk, an Osterville retail space that had seen better days.

The overall footprint remained unchanged, but with the tired carpet replaced with fresh hardwood flooring that we laid out in a chevron pattern, a soothing palette of white and gray, and dramatic hanging light fixtures, this “walk” is now worthy of its “designers” moniker.

before and after home

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Ready to write your own before and after story? We’re here to help. Get in touch today to discuss how our expert team can bring your vision to life.

Expand Your Living Space Without Breaking the Bank

Looking for a cost-effective way to add living space to your Cape Cod home? If you have an attic or a basement, consider yourself halfway there.

If you’ve outgrown your home but feel stuck due to the tight Cape Cod real estate market, the solution may lie beneath your feet…or over your head. Converting an unfinished basement or attic to an additional living space can be a smart move for homeowners who are feeling cramped.

According to this article on House Logic, finishing a basement or attic gives homeowners a high level of satisfaction. It also yields a decent ROI—53 %—which is an important consideration if you may be selling your home within the next 10 years.

Nail Down What You Need

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Where should you start when it comes to adding living space? Rather than simply saying “We need more room,” take the time to really understand what kind of space your home lacks. A home office? Sleeping quarters for summer visitors? A place for your tween children or grandchildren to call their own? This decision is crucial.

An Attic Renovation

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Is an attic renovation the right choice for your home?

The Pros: With the Cape’s damp weather, it can be a challenge to keep a basement feeling fresh. If you have the space in your attic, we’d suggest starting there. The attic tends to be quieter than a cellar, also a concern, especially for a home office or extra bedroom. Adding a bathroom to an attic is much easier than in a basement, as well.

The Cons:  A steeply pitched roof, such as in the photo above, can limit usable floor space, which makes built-ins a great idea. Maximizing the space under the eaves makes the center of the room feel wide open. Beware: attics can be hot in the summer months. Insulation with a high R factor is a must, as is air conditioning.

Bunk rooms, considered a must-have by any Cape Cod kid, work beautifully in renovated attics. And if your attic lacks natural light, sunshine is only a skylight away.  

Making a Basement Feel Homey

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Maybe you’ve decided a renovated basement is the way to go.

The Pros: If you have a full basement, it probably has far more available space than your attic, none of which is impeded by a sloping ceiling. A basement tends to feel more “connected” to the rest of the home as well, an important consideration if the finished room will be used by young children, or for entertaining.

The Cons: As we mentioned, basements on the Cape are damp. Solve the problem with wall insulation and a dehumidifier. They’re also dark. Add a cozy feel with sufficient lighting: inset ceiling lights, wall sconces and table lamps. A concrete floor feels cold, so adding wall-to-wall carpeting with thick padding beneath is crucial.

Rather than fighting a basement’s lack of natural light, embrace it by creating a media room. A sleek space for entertaining friends is also a great idea, as is incorporating a fireplace.

Don’t Forget About Storage

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Finally, don’t let your need for more living space overshadow your storage requirements. Your holiday decorations and keepsakes will need a place to live when your renovation is complete. Whether you’re finishing an attic or a basement, remember to carve out enough storage space.

Please contact us to learn more about finishing your attic or basement, or to arrange a complimentary consultation.