Before & After: Reinventing a Waterfront Home on Cape Cod

While this Cape Cod home was spacious and ideally located on the water’s edge, the interior spaces were lacking. The primary living spaces felt closed off from each other, making entertaining at this summer home less than ideal. Oddly placed doorways, which made moving from room to room awkward, also had a negative impact on entertaining.

Interior design choices that had begun to look dated were an issue as well.

With cream-colored wall-to-wall carpeting in many of the rooms, the spaces felt drab. When paired with the heavier colors used in the tile and cabinetry, and many of the furnishings, the contrast between the carpeting and the other elements was jarring and felt out of balance.

before and after design ideas

The living/dining area and kitchen before the renovation.

It was time for a top-to-bottom remodel. Once the primary living spaces on the main floor of the home were nearly gutted – removing virtually all of the interior walls – the fun began.

kitchen design ideas

Working in collaboration with Kathleen Hay Designs, Judy Whalen, design director at our South Shore kitchen and bath showroom, began by relocating the kitchen, moving it away from the wall closest to the water. In its new location, overlooking the garden, the entry points to the room are now away from the cook’s work zone. A newly added opening between the kitchen and the completely remodeled mudroom allows the homeowners to easily unload groceries.

cape cod custom builder

The new cabinetry, from Wood-Mode, and shiplap walls are done in a soothing greige tone which complements the fresh oak flooring used throughout the home’s primary living spaces. Judy carried the shiplap into the adjacent dining area, which now opens directly off of the kitchen, where she wrapped an alcove with the on-trend wall treatment.  The small alcove, with glass shelves for display, is an unexpected focal point which streamlines the transition between the two spaces.

south shore kitchen and bath ideas

On the other side of the kitchen, where the dining area had been located, is a new home bar. Windows were replaced with a sliding glass door to allow the owners and their guests to easily move between the indoor living spaces and an expansive deck which overlooks the water. A casement window over the bar’s sink can be used as a pass-through for food and drink when dining on the deck. A small wine refrigerator from Sub-Zero keeps cold drinks close at hand. Bold nautical details are the perfect choice for this “bar with a view.”

south shore kitchen and bath showroom

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Between the dining area and the bar is a chiller fabricated by Livingstone Concrete Studio, with sections that can be filled with ice for a raw bar or beverages, in a shape reminiscent of a ship’s wheel. So whimsical!

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But the changes didn’t stop there. Our work touched much of the home.

A powder room that originally had floor-to-ceiling tile in a busy blue pattern is now awash in soft colors. A floating vanity adds a contemporary feel.

powder room design ideas

A room that had been a little-used library and music room has been turned into a home office. A daybed serves as extra sleeping space or a place to enjoy a nap.

home office design ideas

In the home’s lowest level, an extraneous in-law apartment has been converted into a family room with a TV mounted over a second wet bar.


The master suite has been completely transformed.

Judy used another extraneous space, a sitting area adjacent to the master bedroom (note the arrow), and created a luxurious walk-in closet outfitted with custom cabinetry.


A built-in bench seat, with storage on the side facing away from the bedroom, works as a transition between the bedroom and closet.

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Using a soothing palette of soft pink and white, Judy has created a true sanctuary in the master bath. A barely-there shade of gray on the vanity is the perfect complement to the pink color on the walls, and plays off of the striations in its marble top. Shiplap wraps around the room, giving the space texture and visual interest. A freestanding soaking tub, centered between the windows, reinforces the spa-like tranquility of the room.

spa-like master bath design ideas

With the reconfigured primary living spaces, the home is now one which feels equally comfortable when it’s just the family enjoying time on the Cape, or when hosting a few friends for the weekend or a larger, catered event.  And with timeless design choices, the look throughout their newly remodeled home will feel fresh for decades to come.

Photos by Derrick Zellmann.