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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1

    Default Cape cod addition

    Hi All,

    I own a 1960's model Cape Cod in NJ and the wife and I love the house but hate our second floor and kitchen. Currently we have our bedroom on the 1st floor but want to move it upstairs. The problem is that like most Cape Codís the room up there are high in the center and then slope very deep, so unless you are very short you can forget it.

    We are interested in either dormers or just adding a full second floor to the house. The idea is to get a full 3 bedrooms and a bath upstairs and at the same time working on the kitchen downstairs.

    Our kitchen is another story. The kitchen is very small and besides the size it is very poorly laid out. I have to open the stove to get to the utensils drawer.

    I guess to get to my question; can anyone suggest how I should proceed. Should I get an architect first and then a general contractor or should I go the other way around. Secondly, where do I begin to look for a contractor or architect? Also is there somewhere I can go to look at plans for additions I have had no luck finding any yet. I appreciate any assistance.

    Sincerely,
    OrlandoZ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Cape cod addition

    Quote Originally Posted by OrlandoZ View Post
    Hi All,

    I own a 1960's model Cape Cod in NJ and the wife and I love the house but hate our second floor and kitchen. Currently we have our bedroom on the 1st floor but want to move it upstairs. The problem is that like most Cape Codís the room up there are high in the center and then slope very deep, so unless you are very short you can forget it.
    I'm in the same position as yourself and came to conclusion of removing the existing upstairs then rebuild with a full second story.
    Purchased a 1 1/2 story home built in 1953 with the main bedroom along with a tiny bedroom on the main floor and two bedrooms up stairs. The home is basically original with only window upgrades , furnace replacement and vinyl siding done in1982 ... no other additions or renovations.

    Fortunately I'm in the position of being able to evaluate the home's basic condition such as the foundation, structure , electrical, plumbing and mechanicals. In this case the finishes were unimportant since the intention was to renovate the home ... what is important is having a sound base to work with.

    For example ... if the foundation requires major repairs then this will impact the budget you should have for the additions you want to achieve. If the home requires upgrading the electrical and plumbing in the existing part of the home ( the might as well ...) will add to the budget of your addition or take away from your addition.

    First step ... check with your municipal building authority to determine what is allowed in your area and what restrictions there may be. They are also a valuable resource for information and in cases can provide literature on all aspects of the renovation steps and requirements.

    Second step ... as a recommendation ... hire a good qualified home inspector or general contractor to evaluate the existing home. Explain your future plan for the addition when they evaluate the home. This way they can provide you with what may need to be addressed and a ball park figure to include for your budget.

    Third step ... research the real estate market values of your home with the addition. For example ... taking a value of $100 per square foot for the addition added to the current market value ... is it feasible ? A real estate appraiser or agent can help with this.

    A small upfront investment along some preliminary homework can help with the decision of what scale of additions you can and want to proceed with .... also may save thousands in the long run .

    We are interested in either dormers or just adding a full second floor to the house. The idea is to get a full 3 bedrooms and a bath upstairs and at the same time working on the kitchen downstairs.
    In order for accommodating 3 bedrooms and a full bath on the second level it may be more feasible to remove the existing roof and build a full second story. Trying to add dormers for accommodating these rooms can be almost as much in labor ..... besides with the size and number of dormers will pretty much be a second story without a complicated roof and supporting structure..

    Our kitchen is another story. The kitchen is very small and besides the size it is very poorly laid out. I have to open the stove to get to the utensils drawer.
    Those galley kitchens ... by today's standards ... can be small ( my kitchen is so small even the mice are hunchbacked ... ) Kitchens can be very expensive but if you stay within the existing foot print you will keep it managable.... if you decide to enlarge the space by opening walls the costs go up.

    I guess to get to my question; can anyone suggest how I should proceed. Should I get an architect first and then a general contractor or should I go the other way around. Secondly, where do I begin to look for a contractor or architect? Also is there somewhere I can go to look at plans for additions I have had no luck finding any yet. I appreciate any assistance.
    There are all sorts of computer programs available that will allow you to experiment with drawing up floor plans. These can be helpful in getting an idea as to what you would like to see and have. These are general programs and will rarely provide the ability to create construction and engineered detailed plans required for building with.
    There are plenty of magazines with home layouts which can offer ideas. These plans can also be purchased through mail or over the internet. These are generic plans which can be modified by the supplier at a nominal fee but they are not specific to your existing home ... I tend to not recommend these other than just to get ideas.

    Once you are ready to proceed with your ideas for the addition hire a local architect. They will come to the home and be able to create the plans for what is needed and can be done to your home. They will be available to ensure that any problems can be resolved on the spot.

    Though you can select a general contractor first .... they will need to have the architectural drawings in order to provide you with a quote.

    Ask around for people who have done any renovations that may have included an architect and contractor .... since word of mouth is the best source ... and find out if they were pleased with them.

    Finally ..... depending on the scope of the renovation be prepared to consider living away from home. There may be times when there is no kitchen , electricity , plumbing available during construction. In some cases this may also affect the budget if the contractor has to work around you living in the home. For example ... if they have to ensure the plumbing and electricity is available each day this may impact their schedule. Living in a major renovation can be stressful .... referred to as divorce dust.


    Hopefully this helps and doesn't frighten you off.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Morton Grove, IL (NW suburb Chicago)
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cape cod addition

    Can you add on to the rear of the house? We have a 1947 vintage Cape Cod in Chicago and added 15 ft to the rear with a full basement. Huge project but worth. You may not need to do it as much. Check out the pics at our GCs site. Our original house was only the under the smaller roof gable on the left side (above the covered porch by the driveway)
    http://www.leaderbuilders.com/project10gwoz.htm

    We could justify the expense in our neighborhood. I'd start with an architect first. Talk to several just to get ideas from all of them. Dormering the back may only get you two good sized bedrooms upstairs. We started with a solid house with only 2BR and ended up with 4BR.

    Jeff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Cape cod addition

    It would be difficult to impossible to find plans that you would be able to use 'as is' unless you found a house identicle to yours down to the inch, that had the addition you are looking for already built.

    That being said, most quality contractors are able to provide plans for a project like you are describing without using an architect and for minimal additional cost. However, if you are looking for a very complex design then of course your project may benefit from what an architect brings to the table.

    There is a great article on Cape Cod house additions here. Check it out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Cape cod addition

    I have a cape house as well and am looking for some ideas.It has been tough to find pictures of what others have done. The problem/question I have is if I add on the back my bulkhead is in the way. What options do I have? Is it a big thing to move this location? If I add on to the side my Chimney is in the way, I do not use it except to vent the boiler. Can I remove the chimney and vent the boiler right outside? If anyone has redone a Cape house I would be very interested in what they did in the kitchen, bathroom and family rooms. as well as what was done on the second floor in general, Would love to see some pictures with a full second floor. And lastly was all the changes worth it? I LOVE were I live, so I would rather add an addition then move.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cape cod addition

    Quote Originally Posted by hartfordave View Post
    It would be difficult to impossible to find plans that you would be able to use 'as is' unless you found a house identicle to yours down to the inch, that had the addition you are looking for already built.

    That being said, most quality contractors are able to provide plans for a project like you are describing without using an architect and for minimal additional cost. However, if you are looking for a very complex design then of course your project may benefit from what an architect brings to the table.

    There is a great article on ********** here. Check it out.
    ***.. What a great read this was. Thanks for sharing it for all of us "Cape Cod" lovers! Really appreciate it. Also interested in ******* if you have any to recommend.
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 04-26-2011 at 11:52 PM.

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