Cape Cod Styled Exterior Digital Makeover


When I first moved here, I never planned to stay. In fact, even just a couple of years ago, I wasn’t going to stay. It was just a temporary stop on the way to our “forever home.”

So, for the first few years we’ve lived here, I’ve made plans and choices based on the idea that I would be selling the house fairly soon. I was designing for “the market” instead of for myself.

It also meant I was limiting the type of choices I would make.

For example, a couple of years ago, I did a big digital makeover of the front of my house. It was right after I had posted my first “True Confessions” and I was trying to figure out how to make my front porch look better.

At the time, my goal was to make the house look nicer (i.e. tolerable) without major changes. So how did that work for me? Let’s take a look.

Back then, I started with a full-frontal picture of the house, sans any decoration. It looked like this:

I did a big long series of digital makeovers, and ended up with this:

I’ve thinned out the trees a bit since then (thanks to recently overcome Mature Plant Size Denial), so if I stuck with this plan, it would actually end up looking more like this:

It was okay. It was nice looking. But I didn’t love it. It’s just… well, not *me*, you know what I mean? Fast forward to now, and maybe this is our forever home. Not because we chose it, or because it’s perfect, or any of those things. But because we have made a home here, we are raising our babies here, and we have a really nice spot in a nice neighborhood with good neighbors and friends. I like where we live. And our house really works for us.


You already know how I feel about the front.

So. I thought. If I did that crude update all those years ago, and then the nice-but-safe digital makeover a few years ago. What if I went for it and made the house truly over?

Let’s do some digital damage! ๐Ÿ™‚

First of all, I want a plain, straight walkway and a picket fence, like my old house.

I love the paint colors! I might even lighten my house color someday, but meanwhile, I want to do black shutters and a blue door. Oh, and a twin light fixture on the other side of the front door, too.

I’d love a cute little arbor and vine over the garage door, too, I’ve always thought that looked cute. Maybe some cute evergreens in pots by the door and the garage door. They’ll be so pretty with lights on at the holidays.

Now, our garage door is old and in pretty poor shape, so at SOME point we’re going to have to replace it. Not in the cards right now, but when we do, I want to convert to two side-by-side doors. I think that would look much nicer, don’t you?

And then, here’s the big dream. The year we moved in, the house on the next block that’s just like ours had their roof redone. As in, tore off and rebuild. Now their house has a cape cod style roof and it’s sooooo cute. Plus they said it made it so their roof never leaked (the low angle roofs have a tendency to leak) and was way better insulated. (SO it’s not completely daffy, just sort of daffy.) If I did it, I’d want to include a little overhang over the porch, too, so you can be out of the rain while you’re digging for your keys. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, if we do end up staying here for a long time (which we very well might), we may very well do that project. Like so:

And there you have it! My house as a cape cod! I really really like it. It’s extravagant and silly. But I don’t care. If we stay here forever, we’ll do it someday. And heck, if we’re dreaming, we might as well do paned windows in front, too, right? Why not? This is fantasyland, anyway!

Mr. Magpie just walked by. He thinks the picket fence is going to be a lifetime nightmare of maintenance (he is not exactly wrong), and is voting for a simpler fence. So I suggested a fence with an X motif. What do you think?

I could live with that.

Now Rocket Boy is here, and he thinks it looks better with no fence.

OK, it does look nice. But I think part of that is the angle of the picture. Because we have some of the fencing up already (as you’ve seen in other photos of the front garden), and it looks really nice in person.

The good news is, that whichever fence we go with, I think if we did all the changes *except* the roof, it would still look great.

Just really really great with the roof, too. I think this one is my favorite:

What do you think? Which fence do you like best? Would you ever do that extensive of a renovation to your house?

Updated: If you’re wondering what a renovation like that would cost, I had wondered the same thing, so I asked our neighbor what it cost them. He did a lot of the work himself along with a contractor friend, and did straight trusses across (no rooms upstairs, just attic space) and it cost him $17K.

Interestingly, I talked about that to a trusted friend who is also a contractor, and he said that for that cost “or maybe just a bit more” you should be able to put a second story on. So, for an attic space with rooms, we’re guessing $30K? If we ever get bids, we’ll let you know.

I wasn’t thinking that I’d add rooms, since our house is already so big, but Mr. Magpie definitely likes the idea of having space up there. Offices? Craft extravaganza? Since his office is currently VERY tiny (like a shoebox), I can see why he might like that idea!

Of course, that also means losing some space downstairs for the staircase, and so on, and that will make the main floor arrangement a little weird, we think (you’d have to either lose the main hall bath or one of the main bedrooms) so I’m still not sure it’s a good idea.

What do you think? Would you put living space up there or not?

Love, Angela



10 responses to “Cape Cod Styled Exterior Digital Makeover”

  1. Thirkellgirl Avatar

    I like it with the new windows, double not single garage doors, no fence, second choice would be X shaped fence.:) The white window mullions make your windows not look like black holes, which makes the black shutters work better.

  2. Barbara H. Avatar
    Barbara H.

    Hi Angela,I like your current fence – it highlights your plantings without overwhelming them. Adding more of it across the front would work well, I think. You have come so far in the evolution of your house and yard – congratulations! Would making it a Cape Cod roof line increase your interior space? Changes like shutters and paint color seem like fairly easy ways to dramatically change the exterior without spending the big bucks of changing roof lines. Perhaps instead of 2 garage doors you could find a single door that looks like 2 or do a little deception with paint. Whatever you choose to do, it will be great, I know.

  3. Love the picket fence! Yes, I would do an extensive renovation. I have dreams of changing our hip roof (which I’ve never liked!) to a roofline like your cape cod home. Our long, narrow sixties ranch home need a roofline to ‘break up’ the length of the house. Not a crazy idea at all! Thanks for the inspiration.~Adrienne~

  4. I could never see myself doing such extensive work to my house, but I am not good at envisioning what something will look like. My brain just does not work like yours. I am so impressed with your vision. It looks beautiful. I do like the fence with the X motif best. I am looking forward to seeing the process of you creating your dream home.

  5. Hi Angela-Love your creativity. I really do think, if you are happy with the interior of your house, you would be better off to change the roof line and do the other minor changes you’ve considered than to move and start from scratch. I think in the long run, with the economy as it is, you’ll be better off financially and be happier. Good luck.

  6. Hi Angela, I love the X fence. I have always been a big fan of the white picket though, but Mr. Magpie is right, you will be white washing that puppy every summer. I love love love the roof, and the windows. I hope you get to renovate and one day live in your dream home!!! I would love to put a covered wrap around porch on my home, so I could sit outside all year long and drink sweet tea or hot cocoa(depending on the weather)and greet my neighbors walking by. Your creativity inspires me.

  7. ive thought about changing our roof pitch to get s couple of rooms up there. i wonder how much that costs? yours would look so cute as a cape cod.

  8. oh! the cape cod is AMAZING!!!! LOVE IT!m ^..^

  9. Teresa Minton Avatar
    Teresa Minton

    Hi! Just wanted to say I love your ideas. I live in a brick ranch and have been pondering for years how to “cottage it up” on the exterior for years. It was built in 1962 and has the windows with only a crossbar on upper and lowers, but I devised a way to get the little panes I wanted without the expense of changing the windows (no budget ). I bought some small pvc molding and had the hubby cut it in lengths to fit between each crossbar and for less than $2.00 per window I have my little panes. They just pop in and snuggly hold tight:)

    1. Hi Teresa! Thanks so much! That’s a great idea on making faux panes. Do you put them on the inside or the outside of the window? I have fantasies about upgrading to all new windows eventually, but your idea sounds really good, especially since the windows we have now are only a few years old. ~A

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