Before & After – Cape Home Expansion & Renovation in Melrose


Just a few miles north of Boston, the suburban town of Melrose has long been known for its desirability. It’s close enough to the city to offer convenient access for work, entertainment, and travel while boasting plenty of open space, tree-lined streets, single-family home living, and a deep-rooted sense of community. Quite literally, the grass is greener here. 

Before the renovation, this formerly two-bedroom, one-bath Cape home functioned as a single floor of usable living space and an attic.

When our client discovered this cape-style home for sale in Melrose, which was sorely in need of renovation, she saw the potential of what it could be and decided to make it her own. When she was ready to move forward, she called on our team at Lee Kimball to map out its potential and plan for an expansion and renovation.

The original floorplan of this home was a single story with a large roof, which our client wished to expand into a full second floor. Typically in a Cape Cod style home, this type of second-floor expansion is done by adding ‘doghouse’ dormers into the roof line and opening up the walls to create usable living space for bedrooms, as shown in the example illustration below.

Illustration of Cape house dormers

Example of a Cape house expansion with two doghouse dormers







For this project, our design and architecture team recommended taking the expansion a step further by converting the attic space into a full second floor, complete with two bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a staircase and hallway complete with vaulted ceilings to connect the new spaces. 

To accomplish this, we removed the roof, reconfigured the roofline to accommodate the additional living space, and completely reenvisioned the exterior design of the home. Due to the home’s age, essential structural and functional improvements were necessary. As the homeowner shared that she also anticipated remodeling the first floor in the future, our team integrated structural modifications into the second-floor expansion that would seamlessly facilitate a smoother, more cost-effective, and convenient first floor renovation later.

Along with a completely new roof line, we were able to build in another feature that our client had requested, an open and airy, covered front porch. This welcoming new front entrance was also built with the future first floor renovation in mind, as the windows were reconfigured to accommodate the layout of an eventual kitchen remodel.

Check out the completely reconfigured exterior, here:

Melrose cape style home renovation

The second floor bedrooms, bathroom, staircase, and entrance, all built into a former attic space, wouldn’t have been possible without this complete rebuild of the second floor.


To learn more about this project and see additional photos, view our portfolio here.