We have lived in this small cape in Connecticut for a little over 4 years. And what a blessing it has been. We went from 3500 square feet to 1100 square feet. I honestly didn’t even think twice about losing the space. I was just excited to have a charming older home. I always wanted one. Kevin actually flew to Connecticut and picked out this home. He did a good job. His favorite part was the yard! Mine was the built-in bookcases and that it was so close to downtown and the walking community. I LOVE that we can walk everywhere. The location was top on my priority list. I knew I could work with the home. I was looking through the photos online that we saw before we bought the home, only photos I saw, and thought what a difference! Today I am sharing all the before and after photos and a rough floor plan with the measurements of each room, something I actually get asked about often. Plus at the end asking a question “what would you do?” and something we have accomplished that has been a big goal of ours.
There are a few things I want you to notice when you look at these before and after photos of our 1100 square foot cape. These are all things that you can do to get the most Bang for your Buck in a small space or really any home!
Bang for your Buck- Small Space Living Tips-
- Don’t stick to the traditional set-up! For instance if the previous home owners had their master bedroom in the largest room in the home does not mean you need to do that. In our case we knew we wanted a family room that could also be a guest room and a play room. So we turned the traditional master into a family room and we took the smallest room.
- A lot of small furniture actually make a small room look smaller! Try larger furniture and less of it. If you fill a wall with a large bookcase rather than a small scale bookcase and small chair can look busy. Notice how some bedrooms look a lot bigger than before even with larger furniture!
- Pick one paint color! Light paint that flows from room to room will make a small home look larger. We did our master bedroom a different color, because that room has very good light and we wanted it to feel different than the rest of the home.
Our 1100 square foot cape floor plan-
This is not our exact floor plan. I found one online and tweaked it a bit to resemble our home. But it gives you the idea. And the exact square footage. Believe it or not I get asked daily on social media what the exact square footage is for certain rooms. Maybe so you can get an idea of what you can fit in a small space. Keep in mind our basement is not shown here. Our basement is unfinished and we will never finish it. It does have storage down there and also our washer and dryer. We live in a flood zone, so it is not considered livable space and the windows are really small. If we were to add onto our home we would actually have to fill in the basement for insurance purposes. *Deck is about 7’x20′
Living Room- Before and After
Renovation cost not including furniture $2200 aprox.
We painted the walls first thing- Cloud Cover from Benjamin Moore. Removed the arch over the window seat and added an electric fireplace with real brick surround. We have the same amount of seating in this room that the previous home owners did, we just have the bonus of the fireplace now! I also loved the bamboo shades the previous home owners had in this room, but they were just getting worn down on the sides. So we switched them all to the lighter bamboo shades.
Kitchen Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $8,000 aprox (cabinet refacing, new flooring, appliances, countertop, tile etc.)
We had the kitchen cabinets refaced, new flooring, new appliances, back splash, countertops, lighting and I could go on. But you get it. We brightened the kitchen and made it work for us! Including adding a dining table rather than having a separate room for dining.
Master Bedroom Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $500 (paint and ceiling wallpaper)
Biggest change was just painting the walls a dark gray and removing the chair-rail molding that made the walls feel short. We went with Gray from Benjamin Moore. We also wallpapered the ceiling to hide the ugly ceiling tiles.
Bathroom Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $8,000 aprox. (flooring, vanity, toilet, soaker tub, tile etc.)
The bathrooms were the first thing we did when we moved in. We overhauled all of it. And by “we” I mean we paid someone. We were only here a couple weeks and got right on it. I wasn’t a blogger then so I don’t really have any before photo’s or of the process. But we are very happy and new that the bathrooms would give us the most return on investment, along with the kitchen.
Blog Posts– Small Bathroom Ideas
Finn’s Bedroom Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $200 aprox. (paint and windows etc.)
When we moved into this home Finn was just a dream! So we set this room up as a guest room. We had a queen bed in here. Never a dining table! That just didn’t make sense to me to carry our food past the bathroom to eat. We painted the walls and we did add wallpaper to the ceiling when we did Finn’s nursery. Also changed the window treatments.
Girls Bedroom Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $3000 aprox. (new wood floor and fan)
The girls shared a room from the start, even though we had an extra room downstairs. I knew that moving into a new home could be a little scary for them. And having each other to sleep with was the BEST idea we had! Plus I always wanted to do two twin beds in a room. We ripped out the carpet and had hardwood floors installed. They were super affordable. I was not blogging then, but these are the floors- Kahrs Artic Oak you can find it HERE .
Upstairs Bathroom Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $12,000 aprox. (flooring, vanity, toilet, soaker tub, Azek walls, tile etc.)
This bathroom was done the same time as our main floor bathroom. We loved the tile and soaker tub, but made rushed decisions and was trying to stay in budget. We ended up renovating the bathroom vanity and adding Azek to the walls about two years later.
Bathroom Blog Posts- Bathroom Remodel
Family Room Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $3000 aprox. (new wood floor and fan)
This is the room that was the previous home owners master bedroom. We decided to have it be our family room and guest room and never second guessed our decision! We did have the new wood floor put in here (same as the girls room). We had the new flooring installed in the week we moved in. We picked it out when we were still living in Utah. It was crazy, but glad that we did it right away. Looking back we would have waited to move in until the floor was done. Live and learn!
Exterior Before and After-
Renovation cost not including furniture $18,000 aprox. (new siding, porch railing, lighting etc.)
I was itching to get new siding right when we moved in!! But we wanted to save up and pay for it in cash and also make sure that it was worth it. It was worth it just for the fact that I love it so much! We did renovate the front porch about a year after we moved in and that made a big difference for not a lot of money. Last summer Kevin updated the back deck too by removing the lattice.
**Deck is about 7×20
Plans for the future in our little cape-
We actually paid off our cape this month!!!! This has been a big goal for us. I don’t share this to brag, I share this to show that it is obtainable to get a home within your means and be able to pay it off. We never wanted to go into debt to make improvements on our home. We wanted to be able to pay off our home before we did any additions. So now we can consider our next steps. One thing we are planning on right away is getting a new roof.
We have thought about buying a flip house. Or adding on a small addition to this home. We would love to have a little laundry room upstairs. And extend our kitchen. But other than that we are totally happy with the size!
It is always hard to decide. We want to do things to the home that we would enjoy NOW and also do things that are smart and a good investment. This beach community we live in a lot of the older homes (like ours) get torn down and a new huge 2 million dollar home gets built. So we would hope that our efforts to add on would not be wasted just because someone wants the land.
Ultimately we do not know how long we are going to live here. We really wouldn’t move just to move. If we move it would be because we are moving out of state. The schools are a big factor in why we stay.
Love to hear what you would do? Would you add onto this home or just move???