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Renovation of 1820 Cape - Exterior


This is where we started. It was the perfect Maine cape for my mother who moved into this house in 2006 from an apartment in Brooklyn where she lived for most of her adult life. After she passed away in 2015, Tommy and I decided to pour love into this house in her memory and to finally awaken our dreams of restoring an old house. The process has been just that - a process - but one we wouldn't trade for anything. The series of photos in this post will show you the progress we've made at restoring and recreating this home originally built in 1820.


The original structure was a classic center chimney Cape Cod style house. In 1990 the owners added the structure to the left which houses the kitchen and dining area. The door opened into a small entry where you could kick off boots and hang your coat but it was obstructed by the chimney and awkward to maneuver.



This door/entryway had been well-loved, but it was time for some innovation. If I remember correctly, this door chose when it would like to be opened, remained stuck shut a lot of the time, and let in quite a draft in the wintertime! There were about a thousand coats of paint and it was weathered and cracked from years of sun exposure. I am happy to say it found a new home in the garden of a childhood friend and it is now her potting table.


Check out the progress....


You can see that we changed the single-pane side light panels to something with a bit more of a modern flair and to mimic the other door to the mudroom. The front door is still solid wood and we had it designed as close to the original as possible. Tommy removed the entire frame and rebuilt the wood detail since the old detail had rotted and was in need of restoration. He did such a beautiful job. Also - you'll see that the yellow siding is being retired... Keep scrolling to see what it was replaced with!


Some of the boarding boards were rotted and had to come out and we wouldn't have discovered that unless the old siding was removed. Tommy removed the rotted boards, cut the rot out and built some furniture pieces for the house. It's absolutely beautiful! What's better than 200 year old wood? And some of the boards were 24 inches wide. Imagine how old the tree was that they came from!


This is the exterior wall that faces south and had the most rot. Tommy had to re-do the entire wall. This photo was taken before all of the new windows went in. We chose two over two Marvin Integrity with black exterior finish, white interior. By the way, the original windows are being used around the property. Two went into my potting shed and another is going into the chicken coop that's being built in the next few weeks (Spring 2021).


Here is the finished front of the house. Not shown is the two-car attached garage, you can see just a smidge of it. The mudroom connects the house to the garage. That was a wonderful addition! It looks tiny from outside but it's a fantastic space inside with custom built-ins. I will do a post with interior pictures soon.


I will also do a post about the back of the house which I may love as much as the front! Tommy did a beautiful job designing and building our back deck which is home to our hot tub. 2020 was a tough year and we weren't able to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary like we had always planned so we got a hot tub which I think is even better than a European vacation. The gift that keeps on giving!


We love sharing this journey with you. When we started it was just somethihg we were doing for ourselves but it's been such a joy when people get excited about it and ask us questions. We're having loads of fun so thanks for being here with us!




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