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March 09, 2014

New Addition House Plans | Cape Cod Style Home

Welcome to the first, real official introduction to our house project.  I know I've been talking about this foreeevvveerr already, and you've heard my schpeel many times as we've prepared for this. 

I've been holding back the full plans until we got the final OK from our city's planning board because most of our decisions were hinging on one important part - being able to add and attached two car garage.  We had almost enough room to add the new garage in the place where the side-porch is in this photo, but we needed the city to grant us a variance of 2ft on the side setback.  And for the record, I hate that we have to get rid of the charming porch, but it really was the only way to accomplish many of the other things we wanted to be able to do with our budget - and provided us the perfect spot to build a generous and lovely master bathroom.  So, after a nail-biting couple of month collecting signatures from neighbors and reviewing architectural plans, we got a huge OK from the city. 

If you would like to read about where we started, you can start here and here to get a little background for those of you just joining me to follow along in our journey.  Basically, we bought this small little house because I love its elegant curb appeal, it is in the most charming neighborhood in our city, on a beautiful tree-lined street full of families, and it had never been added onto.  It has a huge flat backyard perfect for bumping up, out and over. 

So... these are about two days later than I promised, but finally - here they are.  Hey, it is a construction project after all, I'm told to expect a ton of delays so why not here, too, right?  In addition to working with architects and contractors, I've been a busy bee behind the scenes preparing for my new Spring Line that will be available in my online store in less than 10 days.  I have so much fun stuff that you'll love to refresh your home - new types of products that I've custom designed and others that I've discovered.   Thanks for your patience while I've been working away.  Let the journey begin

Our goal was to keep the house looking very much the same from the front - a very simple and classic Cape Cod style with a steep pitched roof.  The only real change with the front of the house is the addition of the garage on the left side, and finishing the old garage into livable space.

I was very particular in designing the back of the house.  There are much more cost effective ways to bump out a home, but it was important for our addition to be just as pretty from the back as it is from the front.  I also wanted it to look like it was supposed to be built this way - instead of an afterthought.  I love this style of roof and came across the idea from a book called "Updating Classic American Capes" given to me by our old neighbor from Concord, Mass that had recently added onto their own house.  Our trip back to New England last fall gave me so much inspiration that I relied on when redesigning the house.

As you can see from the drawing above, we're adding a covered porch just off of the new open kitchen and hearth room through french doors.  Hopefully this area will be a good replacement for the porch we're loosing.  All the way to the right is the mudroom/my studio area that also opens up to the backyard with french doors.

Last week I shared the plan for the main part of the house - the new kitchen, dining and hearth area.  Here is the plan for the first floor.  The front Living Room will stay the same, then it will open up into the open plan room.  I have always loved cozy houses with small rooms, but life with kids really works better with open living.  I can't wait to be able to fix dinner while I can keep an eye on Emma in almost every corner.  For more details about how we'll use this room and the vision for it, see this post

As you can see, through the kitchen doors is what I'm so excited about... a mudroom and "studio."  I love utilitarian spaces.  I am envisioning it to look like a classic potting shed with open shelving, deep sink, wood cabinet storage and wooden "lockers" for every member of the family.  This will also be home to our dry goods storage and pantry.  A very hard working room.  Besides all of that, this is what I'll also be using for taking photos for the blog.  I have designed it so it will have the perfect amount of natural light on the counter for my photos - and a quick trip from the kitchen to get a good final shot of food.  I can't wait to work on my crafty projects here... I already have visions of all of my wrapping and packaging supplies in neat rows and organized in drawers.

The old garage will be transformed into a "Library" - which will be our cozy room of wood paneling and leather.  It will have french doors that can be closed off and be a private, quiet place, which I think will be nice to have with everything else being open.  In fact, I interviewed Sarah Susenka of The Not So Big House book series on her thoughts of how to plan a cozy house with a modern open floor plan.  Her tip was to create one area that could be closed off so that there was a spot to get away to and curl up with a book.  Great advice.   

I should mention that I'm calling it the Library and Mike is calling it His Room : )   I'm giving him majority rule in this room to make most of the decisions (so that means I have majority rule in the rest of the house, right...?), it will definitely be masculine and probably his favorite spot in the house... and probably feature a small collection of golf plaques and trophy's.  I think it will work for both of us because we both love the handsome Ralph Lauren sort of layered look with leather and plaids.  

The second floor is pretty self-explanatory.  The two front rooms are existing and changing very little besides adjusting some window placements to accommodate the garage roofline.  Emma will likely move from her nursery to our room and her nursery will be open for another baby - hopefully someday.  And just in case you're curious, not quite yet... don't want to start any rumors out there.

We are opening the hallway upstairs to be a large central hall for all of the rooms vs. the long a narrow hall that it was before.  Another huge bonus is the upstairs laundry room.  Yes.  I can not wait.  Right now I'm lugging laundry all the way down to the unpleasant unfinished basement.  As I said before, I love utilitarian spaces and can't wait to organize this room with handy and useful storage.  There will also be a big linen closet in the central hall - we're trying to add as much storage as we can.  My goal is to have everything at least have a place - a constant struggle. 

The master bedroom leads to the master bath that extends over the mudroom/garage area.  My plan is to have the bathroom itself be simple, airy and open with a sort of mini-vaulted ceiling that leads to a big soaking tub under the window.

Of course, in the next couple of weeks and months I'll share design boards, inspiration photos and layouts for each individual room.  Today, I just wanted to give you the big picture of where we're headed.  We won't break ground for at least another month while we get final bids and financing (details, details...) underway.  You can look foward to a weekly update (at least) of our progress and new ideas.   I welcome any advice and resource recommendations.  Thanks for taking the time to follow along.  The weather is beautiful here and as soon as Emma wakes up from her nap we'll be taking a long walk to the park.  In the meantime, I'll be doing laundry in the basement ; )

Have a great Sunday!


  1. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Looks wonderful! I am excited to follow along as your plans become reality!

  2. How exciting for you! Can't wait to see how everything progresses - I'm sure that it will be absolutely stunning, as your home is already beautiful. best of luck.

  3. What an exciting project! I absolutely love that you are trying to keep the original feel of the Cape Cod style, but with modifications that work for you and your family. Really looking forward to see how the transformation progresses here!

  4. Everything looks fabulous! I can't wait to follow along and be inspired:)

  5. This is an exciting time for you all. Your plans are wonderful.

  6. Looks really good, I love the layout and the idea of a library is wonderful. I am sure it will be stunning when it is finished. So looking forward to seeing the process of the building.

    Lee :)

  7. I'm excited to see the finished product. I love the idea of expanding on an older home while maintaining its integrity.

  8. Looking swell! It's wise you've drawn up all the blueprints for our perusal. Not only does it give you an opportunity to workshop it, it gives us a head's up on how to go about the business of designing our house. Namely, that it shouldn't be driven by instinct, but by planning and having a goal to achieve.

    Frances Herrera

  9. Hi Jenny! How exciting! Looks great. On your last post about your addition you asked about sources for furniture. I wanted to let you know about one of my all time favorite antique stores. I am in Chicago and I love the store Vintage Pine. They have a great selection of antique and new pine tables, a lot from England or France. They have a great selection of styles and sizes. I think they might even do custom farm tables. Their website is I am not sure if they do delivery to other states but it might be worth looking into. Their prices are also pretty reasonable. Good luck!

  10. Party night Looks really good, I love the layout and the idea of a library is wonderful.

  11. How exciting! I love a good renovation. Your mud room will be enviable. I think it's a great idea to have both an outside entrance and garage entrance to it. That will eliminate the need for traipsing through the house to wash up or to fetch water for various projects. The only thing better would be to have a bathroom right there as well. Good luck!

  12. You've got a wonderful project planned!
    Add 50% to your general contractor's estimated budget and six months to his timeline, and you will have a good idea of what's ahead!

    Make sure you have EVERY single item estimated BEFORE you start, and try to figure it all out NOW, so that you don't have change orders!

    Insist on him signing a 'time is of the essence' clause BEFORE you get started, with a penalty of $ _ _ _ per every day he's late. It'll save you a LOT of heartache.
    If he refuses to sign, you're being silently told upfront that he already knows he won't deliver what he says he will when he says he will.

    (this is just from the voice of hard experience speaking)

    Looking forward to following along and seeing how it all goes:)

  13. beautiful plans. did you work with an architect or did you create these plans on your own? we are starting the process of planning to add an addition to our 1920's cape. I'm just not sure where to begin with out enlisting the help of an architect.

  14. It's really best to get a larger and more general overview of the floor plan, to be able to really sense how to accommodate the various rooms and to really make them all flow into each other better. This often tends to be overlooked, even as one goes through the actual rigors of blueprinting, as the concern is more in terms of how the desired home elements can all be accommodated. So it's really important to look into a house plan from all angles and considerations, and to utilize home building tools so we can adequately do that.

    Co Construct


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