by | Jun 9, 2024

Additions to a Cape Cod Style Home: Top 5 Stunning Tips



Additions to a Cape Cod style home can be a fantastic way to retain its historical charm while gaining modern conveniences. If you’re in need of increased living space, consider these common options:

  • Kitchen Additions: Enhance functionality with modern appliances and more space.
  • Primary Bedroom Additions: Add privacy and storage.
  • Garage and ADU Options: Create additional living or storage space.
  • Second-Story Additions: Maximize vertical space.

Cape Cod style homes, known for their historical charm and symmetrical design, are a staple of New England architecture. These homes, often characterized by their central chimney and weathered cedar shingles, exude a timeless elegance. However, their modest size can pose challenges for growing families or those desiring more space without losing the cozy aesthetic.

I’m Jerome Bertuglia, owner of Prime Homes, Inc. With over 30 years in the industry, my team and I specialize in additions to Cape Cod style homes, blending modern upgrades with classic charm. Let’s explore how to effectively plan and implement these enhancements.

Common Additions to Cape Cod Homes - additions to a cape cod style home infographic step-infographic-4-steps

Understanding Cape Cod Home Additions

What is a Cape Cod Home Addition?

Cape Cod homes are known for their symmetry, central chimney, and weathered cedar shingles. These charming features are part of what makes them so appealing. However, the traditional layout and modest size can be limiting.

In a typical Cape Cod home, you’ll find:

  • A center staircase with little or no space at the front entry.
  • A separate dining room, living room, and kitchen on the first floor.
  • Upstairs, two small bedrooms often with sloped rooflines.

Many Cape Cod homes also lack insulation upstairs and have minimal ventilation. They often come with limited closet space and may not have a full basement or garage.

Because of these limitations, home additions are popular among Cape Cod homeowners. Whether you’re looking to expand your kitchen, add a primary bedroom, or even build a garage, these additions can make your home more functional without losing its historical charm.

Why Consider an Addition?

Space Needs: Cape Cod homes were originally designed for smaller families and simpler living. As your family grows, so do your space needs. An addition can provide the extra room you need for a growing family or more comfortable living.

Family Growth: Adding more bedrooms or expanding existing ones can make a big difference. This is especially true if your family is expanding or you frequently have guests.

Property Value: Home additions can significantly increase your property’s value. By adding modern touches while maintaining the home’s traditional style, you can make it more appealing to future buyers.

Cape Cod Home Addition - additions to a cape cod style home

Consider the following types of additions to enhance your Cape Cod home:

  • Kitchen Additions: Expand your kitchen to include modern appliances and more functional space.
  • Primary Bedroom Additions: Create a private retreat with ample storage and natural light.
  • Garage and ADU Options: Add a garage or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for extra storage and living space.

Adding to your Cape Cod home can be a rewarding project, providing both increased comfort and a boost in property value.

Up next, we’ll delve into the specifics of planning these additions, including design considerations and zoning laws.

Planning Additions to a Cape Cod Style Home

Designing Your Addition

Designing an addition to a Cape Cod home involves several important considerations. The goal is to maintain the home’s traditional charm while adding modern functionality. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Open Floor Plans:
Cape Cod homes often have small, separate rooms. Modern additions can open up these spaces for a more airy and connected feel. Removing non-load-bearing walls can create a continuous flow between living areas.

Second-Story Options:
Adding a second story is a popular way to increase living space without expanding the home’s footprint. This can include bedrooms, bathrooms, or even a home office. Ensure the new structure blends with the existing roofline to maintain the home’s aesthetic.

Kitchen Expansion:
A kitchen addition can transform the heart of your home. Consider expanding the kitchen to include an island, modern appliances, and ample storage. This not only enhances functionality but also becomes a focal point for family gatherings.

Zoning and Permitting Challenges

Before starting any addition, it’s crucial to understand local zoning laws and obtain the necessary permits. Here’s what you need to know:

Local Regulations:
Each municipality has its own zoning laws that dictate what you can and cannot do with your property. These laws cover aspects like building height, lot usage, and setbacks from property lines. Always check with your local zoning office to understand these regulations.

Environmental Restrictions:
If your property is near protected land, shorelines, or wetlands, additional environmental restrictions may apply. These can affect where and how you build. Consult with a professional to navigate these complex regulations.

Legal Considerations:
Permits are required for most home additions. These ensure your project complies with building codes and safety standards. Your contractor will typically handle the permit process, but it’s wise to stay informed and ensure all necessary permits are in place before construction begins.

Professional Advice

Working with experienced professionals can make a significant difference in the success of your project. Here’s why:

Architects and Designers:
An architect or designer can help you create a cohesive plan that blends the new addition seamlessly with your existing home. They can provide detailed blueprints and 3D renderings to visualize the final result.

A skilled contractor will manage the construction process, ensuring all work is done to code and within budget. They can also coordinate with subcontractors like electricians and plumbers to keep the project on track.

Design-Build Firms:
Consider hiring a design-build firm, which handles both the design and construction phases. This integrated approach can streamline the process, reducing the risk of miscommunication and delays.

By carefully planning your Cape Cod home addition and working with knowledgeable professionals, you can enhance your living space while preserving the unique charm of your home.

Next, we’ll explore popular types of additions for Cape Cod homes, including kitchen expansions and primary bedroom additions.

Popular Types of Additions for Cape Cod Homes

Kitchen Additions

Kitchen additions are a popular choice for Cape Cod homes. A larger, more functional kitchen can dramatically improve your home’s livability and value.

Shape and Size:
The available outdoor space and existing foundation will dictate your kitchen addition’s size and shape. Think about how you will use the space for cooking, storage, entertaining, and dining.

Interior Elements:
Consider cohesive selections for flooring, cabinets, countertops, backsplash, cabinet hardware, fixtures, sinks, appliances, lighting, and wall and ceiling paint color. Modern appliances and an island can add both functionality and style.

Primary Bedroom Additions

Adding a primary bedroom can give you more comfort and privacy. Here are some key points to consider:

Think about how the new bedroom will fit into your home’s layout. You might want a main-level primary suite or a second-floor addition. Each option comes with different costs, especially if plumbing and electrical upgrades are needed.

Consider noise levels and the proximity to neighbors. The location and orientation of windows can also impact privacy.

Plan for your storage needs. Decide if you want a single walk-in closet or separate closets for each person.

Exterior Features:
Ensure the addition blends seamlessly with your home’s exterior. Discuss the roofline, facade, shingles, siding, exterior trims, and windows with your design-build firm.

Garage and ADU Options

Garage Additions:
Adding a garage can provide storage and additional functional space. You can choose between an attached or detached garage.

Location and Sizing:
Once zoning and coding are permitted, decide on the size. Be careful not to let the garage dominate your home’s exterior. Adding windows that match the rest of the house can help.

Electricity and Plumbing:
Plan for the electric power needed in the garage and consider plumbing if you want running water.

Wall Storage and Cabinetry:
Use slat wall panels and garage cabinetry to maximize storage and keep the space organized.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs):
An ADU is a smaller, self-contained unit on the same lot as your main home. These units can serve as guest houses or rentals.

Zoning Regulations and Building Codes:
Check local building and zoning codes before planning an ADU. Some areas may require zoning approval.

Consider privacy for both you and the ADU occupants. Address physical, noise, and visual privacy.

Design Considerations:
Choose between a build-to-blend design that matches the main house or a modern counterpoint that stands out.

Next, we’ll discuss how to maximize space and style in your Cape Cod home through interior remodeling and exterior enhancements.

Maximizing Space and Style in Your Cape Cod Home

Interior Remodeling Tips

Wall Removal for Open Concepts

Cape Cod homes often have separate rooms for the kitchen, dining, and living areas. Removing walls between these spaces can create an open floor plan, making your home feel larger and more connected. This not only improves flow but also allows more natural light to fill the space.

“Knocking down walls can establish the illusion of extra square footage,” says Action Builders.

Modern Fixtures

Upgrading to modern fixtures can dramatically change the look and feel of your home. Consider installing energy-efficient appliances, modern lighting, and sleek cabinetry. These updates not only enhance functionality but also add a contemporary touch to your Cape Cod home.

Storage Solutions

Effective storage is crucial in Cape Cod homes, which are typically modest in size. Consider built-in shelves, walk-in closets, and multi-functional furniture to maximize every inch of space.

“Determine your storage needs before you start,” advises Prime Homes, Inc..

Enhancing Exterior Appeal

Roof Options

The roof is a significant element of your home’s exterior. Cape Cod homes often have steep, gabled roofs. Adding dormers can increase interior space and add character to the exterior. Dormers not only provide extra headroom but also enhance the home’s aesthetic appeal.

Porch Enclosures

If your backyard isn’t large enough for a rear addition, consider adding a front porch. A porch can break up the roofline and maintain the traditional style of your Cape Cod home. You can keep it open or enclose it to create additional living space like a mudroom or children’s play area.

“Front porches are the perfect solution to break up the roofline,” says Degnan Design-Build-Remodel.


Good landscaping can elevate the curb appeal of your Cape Cod home. Consider adding a lush garden, trees, or a picket fence to enhance the quaintness of your property. These touches can make a significant difference in your home’s overall appearance.

“Cape Cods and gardens go hand in hand,” notes a home improvement enthusiast.

Exterior Colors and Trim

Choosing the right exterior colors and trim can make your Cape Cod home stand out. Light wood tones and ocean-inspired blues are popular choices that evoke a serene, coastal vibe. White trim remains a classic choice, but soft grays and beiges can also add subtle contrast.

“Quiet Breeze is a soft, ocean-inspired blue that evokes a sense of calm,” recommends Prime Homes, Inc..

By thoughtfully planning your interior remodeling and exterior enhancements, you can maximize space and style in your Cape Cod home, making it a more functional and beautiful place to live.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cape Cod Home Additions

Can you add a second story to a Cape Cod house?

Yes, you can add a second story to a Cape Cod house. This is one of the best ways to gain extra living space without expanding the home’s footprint. Adding a second story can make cramped upstairs bedrooms more comfortable and allow for a more spacious layout.

Advantages of a second-story addition include:

  • Maximizing space: You gain significant square footage without losing yard space.
  • Improved layout: All bedrooms can be moved to one floor, freeing up the ground floor for open living spaces.
  • Enhanced value: A well-executed second-story addition can significantly increase your home’s resale value.

However, this type of addition is often one of the most expensive. You’ll need to ensure your existing structure can support the additional weight, which may require reinforcing the foundation.

Example: A Cape Cod home in Northern Virginia underwent a second-story addition, transforming its cramped attic into a spacious new living area. This project not only increased the home’s value but also provided the family with much-needed space.

How do you maintain the traditional style with modern additions?

Maintaining the traditional Cape Cod style while incorporating modern additions is crucial for aesthetic and resale value. Here are some tips:

  • Match exterior materials: Use weathered cedar shingles and white trim to blend new additions seamlessly with the existing structure.
  • Respect rooflines: Consider a gable roof for your addition, which aligns with the traditional Cape Cod aesthetic.
  • Consistent window styles: Use true divided lite windows to maintain the classic look. Operational shutters can also enhance the traditional feel.

Example: A Cape Cod home in Rochester, MA, added a sunroom and deck while keeping the traditional elements like cedar shingles and white trim. The result was a harmonious blend of old and new.

What are the typical costs associated with Cape Cod home additions?

The cost of Cape Cod home additions can vary widely based on the type and scope of the project. Here are some ballpark figures:

  • Kitchen addition: $50,000 – $100,000. This includes new cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and possibly extending plumbing and electrical lines.
  • Primary bedroom addition: $40,000 – $80,000. Costs can increase if you add features like walk-in closets or en-suite bathrooms.
  • Second-story addition: $100,000 – $200,000. This is one of the most expensive options due to the need for structural reinforcement and new roofing.

Example: A Cape Cod home in Cape Cod, MA, added a 650-square-foot second story for around $150,000, which included a new master suite and an additional bathroom.

By understanding these costs and planning carefully, you can make informed decisions that enhance your Cape Cod home while staying within budget.


At Prime Homes, Inc., we understand the unique charm and character that Cape Cod style homes offer. Our mission is to help you enhance these timeless features with personalized luxury and exceptional craftsmanship.

When planning additions to a Cape Cod style home, it’s important to maintain the balance between modern functionality and traditional aesthetics. We specialize in creating seamless integrations that respect the original architecture while adding the space and amenities you need.

Personalized Luxury: We believe every home addition should reflect your personal style and meet your specific needs. Our team works closely with you to design spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional. Whether you’re looking to expand your kitchen, add a master suite, or create an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), we ensure that every detail is tailored to your lifestyle.

Exceptional Craftsmanship: Quality is at the heart of everything we do. From the initial design phase to the final touches, our experienced craftsmen use the finest materials and techniques to bring your vision to life. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and commitment to excellence, ensuring that your home addition stands the test of time.

If you’re ready to transform your Cape Cod home, we invite you to explore our Cape Cod Style Home services. Let us help you create a space that combines the best of traditional charm and modern luxury.

Together, we can make your dream home a reality.