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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?


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.