Tag Archives: Cape Cod custom builders

Cape Cod Home Additions: Double the Space with Two Stories

According to Porch.com, 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 Patch.com 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 HomeDepot.com.

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 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.

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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.

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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.