Stunning 1950s Cape Cod Remodel Ideas Before & After

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Are you looking for cape cod remodel ideas? Our 1950s house makeover transformed an outdated space into a sleek, modern home without expanding its original footprint. We redesigned the layout to include a first-floor master suite and an open floor plan kitchen and living room, bringing the house up to current living standards.

Let’s take a look at the before and after makeover of this older style home, the renovation timeline and overall cost.

1950s cape cod remodel before and after
1950s cape cod house remodel ideas

1950s Cape Cod Remodel Before and After

A traditional 1950s cape cod style home featured small boxy rooms with a cramped layout.

We purchased this home as an investment with the intent to renovate and sell within a years time. I am happy to say we purchased in the summer of 2023 and it was sold in early 2024.

cape code house exterior remodel

The overall goal was to open up the interior by removing the kitchen wall, add a first floor master suite with new bathroom, renovate the kitchen and first floor bathroom all while staying in the same square footage.

The new buyer loves the layout and all of the renovation changes we made so it was a win win!

New Modern Kitchen Remodel

We redesigned the kitchen layout for efficiency and style and this new kitchen is by far, one of the best features of the home.

1950s cape cod kitchen before with pink cabinets
the 1950s kitchen before was dark and dated

​The color palette for the kitchen is a variety of white tones that coordinate and create a cohesive flow.

1950s cape cod house kitchen remodel before and after
the modern 1950s cape cod kitchen remodel was so much fun to tackle!

​The goal with changing the layout was to increase the upper cabinets and maximize countertop space.

We added a new french door leading to the breezeway which increased the natural light into the kitchen.

Visit this post, 1950s cape cod kitchen remodel to see more before and after pictures.

Cape Cod Living Room Makeover

Strategic changes, like creating a half wall between the kitchen and living room as well as eliminating the existing small boxy dining room made a big difference in the heart of the home, improving natural light and appearance of square footage.

the original 1950s living room was dark and closed off from the kitchen

While we did not physically add additional square feet to the home, these changes significantly increased ease of traffic flow and created an open concept modern living space. 

1950s cape cod kitchen and living room remodel open concept
I love how the new half wall opened up the kitchen and living room

The existing front door was in great shape an provided a window which allowed natural light inside so we opted to keep the door.

One of the biggest design challenges we had in this living room was ensuring that there would be enough wall space for furniture and TV. 

This is why we decided to keep a portion of the kitchen wall and not remove the entire wall completely.

Laundry Room

​The existing basement had a laundry room hookup already installed but Jim also added a laundry hookup in the new master bedroom closet to give the new homeowner an option of keeping the laundry on the first floor.

adding a laundry hookup in the master closet is perfect for one floor living

Cape Cod House Second Floor Bedrooms

Once we added the master bedroom suit on the first floor, we tackled the two second floor bedrooms with paint and a new ceiling.

The existing bedrooms each featured large dormer windows which helped make the rooms feel larger. 

​With a fresh coat of paint and a new sheetrock ceiling, both bedrooms were transformed and looked great.

We freshened up the staircase leading to the bedrooms as well with a coat of paint which tied in with the rest of the remodeled home.

Cape Cod House Master Bedroom Suite 

The original first floor bedroom was adjacent to the original dining room which we eliminated, making space for a new full bathroom.

1950s cape cod first floor bedroom before remodel

By eliminating the original dining room, we were able to take down the wall between the dining room and bedroom and create an additional brand new bathroom, creating a master suite.

cape cod first floor bedroom before remodel

The original dining room was on the other side of the wall we removed below.

removing a load bearing wall between the bedroom and dining room
removing the load bearing wall between the bedroom and dining room allowed us to add a full bathroom

The new master suite below features the existing bedroom and an additional walk in closet and full bathroom.

1950s cape cod master bedroom suite
I love how this first floor master suite is all in the same existing footprint of the house

Visit this post, 1950s cape cod first floor master bedroom remodel to see more before and after pictures.

1950s Cape Cod House Bathroom Remodel

​We fully gutted and renovated the existing first floor bathroom which came out amazing!

1950s cape cod bathroom before remodel

Needless to say, the newly remodeled bathroom is a bit different!

1950s bathroom remodel

Visit this post, 1950s cape cod bathroom remodel to see more before and after pictures.

Finished Basement

We did not finish the basement but we did install new stairs, painted the concrete floor and walls to give a clean fresh look. 

Down the road, the new homeowner can finish the basement if they prefer but in the meantime, will have a clean space for storage.

Cape Cod Exterior

​The existing exterior of the home was in great shape with only a handful of minor fixes.

We cleaned up the yard, added new light fixtures, addressed a couple broken siding pieces and Jim painted exterior trim pieces around the breezeway and garage door.

All in all, the exterior renovations were minor and thankfully we didn’t need a new roof.

Exterior home renovations and bigger items like siding, a roof, gutters and windows can be a large expense so you need to consider those when planning an exterior renovation.

Small Cape Cod Renovation Ideas

​Curious on how to make a cape cod house feel bigger? 

Here are 4 things to consider:

Increase Natural Light

Small changes within the same design plan can maximize square feet in a huge way. 

1950s cape cod house with natural light and recessed lighting

Below are 4 ways to increase natural light:

  1. When adding skylights or additional windows are not an option, consider adding several recessed lights with a bulb brightness of 3500.
  2. Recessed lights will give the elusion of natural light and make the space feel open and airy.
  3. We added a new kitchen exterior full light door allowing more natural light in from the breezeway.
  4. By removing the load bearing interior wall between the kitchen and living, this allowed for more natural light between both rooms. 

Cape Cod Home Addition 

One of the best ways to make cape cod homes feel bigger is to add on an addition. 

Below is the breezeway between the kitchen and garage that we remodeled to make it feel like part of the home.

As you can see above, the original breezeway was dark, dated and weather tight.

The newly remodeled breezeway below, features a design that is consistent with the rest of the house .

benjamin moore greek villa wall paint in a kitchen and breezeway
enclosing the breezeway with windows, vaulting the ceiling and adding recessed lights made this space part of the home

If this were our forever home, we would have added on a larger family room off the backside of the house and connected it via the breezeway. This would allow for more living space and potentially a full master bedroom above the new family room. 

That being said, this was not our forever home so we opted to work within the same floor plan to keep costs down.  

The new buyer definitely has that option to add on an addition down the road!

Visit this post, cape cod house breezeway remodel, to see the full before and after

​Revise Existing Floor Plan

New construction cape cod floor plans typically offer an open concept living space with large open staircases and more square footage than a traditional 1950s cape house. 

cape cod house remodel ideas

New construction comes with a hefty price tag though so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing new or renovating your existing home.

Altering the existing floor plan of this home was a game changer for a relatively small home. 

​I highly recommend having a consult with a general contractor, architect or interior designer to get ideas on maximizing your existing floor plan. 

cape code house floor plan remodel 1950s

Having a strategy can be so helpful and save you money in the long run! There may also be a design option that you didn’t consider and a professional can help give ideas based on experience.

Imagine having a clear renovation plan that is perfect for your families needs?

​This can be accomplished by strategizing with a professional before you make any decisions so that you maximize every square foot of your home.

Neutral Paint Color 

​We chose a neutral white paint color, white dove by Benjamin Moore, in order to create a cohesive light and airy look. 

benjamin moore white dove paint color on stairway wall
white dove is a popular neutral white that does not have a yellow undertone

If your overall goal is to make a home feel bigger and spacious, consider white walls or a light gray or blue color.

benjamin moore white dove

Visit this blog post, white dove by Benjamin Moore for my full write up about this color. It’s a winner!

​Now that you have seen how we transformed a 1950s cape cod style home into a modern masterpiece, what do you think about our renovation? Did we make the right choice given the small amount of square footage we had to work with? I would love hear your thoughts below in the comments and let me know if you too, are planning your own home renovation!

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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