A Neglected Cape Cod Gets a New Lease on Life
Now complete, the latest TOH TV project in Barrington, Rhode Island, showcases a head-to-toe yet cost-conscious remodel that helped this outdated house live up to its potential
When Geoff Allen and Michelle Forcier bought their 1925 Cape Cod, in Barrington, Rhode Island, its waterfront location was by far its strongest selling point. The latest TOH TV project house had suffered from years of hodgepodge renovations and inadequate maintenance that had left the exterior shabby and the interior cramped and dreary. So the couple turned to architect Mary Dorsey Brewster and general contractor Andy Tiplady to figure out how to make it suitable for raising their young daughter.
In addition to tackling structural and mechanical upgrades and steep renovation challenges—boosting curb appeal, rejiggering floor plans, adding an extra bedroom and bath—the project team had to work within a tight lot and a no-bells-and-whistles budget. "Constraints helped us think creatively," says Tiplady. They came up with a skillful remodel that manages to maximize space and brings out the house's latent charms. Read on to learn how they pulled it off.
Shown: A second-story addition, including a new covered porch, and a small bumpout on the southwest corner add about 400 square feet inside and improve the house's proportions dramatically. Double-hung windows also help unify the facade and suit the home's traditional style. The red-cedar shingle siding will weather to a handsome gray; shingles on the gables were cut in a wave pattern to add visual interest and to suggest the rippling bay across the street, says architect Mary Dorsey Brewster.
The exterior of the 1,600-square-foot home looked neglected with its dilapidated siding, mismatched windows, and overgrown landscaping.
A new kitchen island gives the entire family a dedicated spot for tackling food prep.
On the main level, the galley-style kitchen was separated from the rest of the space by an awkwardly placed wall, resulting in poor traffic flow and rooms that had no clear function.
The wall was taken down and the kitchen reconfigured to create an airier, brighter, and more inviting space. The cabinets, built by a local shop, feature doors of cherry veneer over medium-density fiberboard. Oil-rubbed-bronze pulls, soapstone countertops, and a green glass-tile backsplash add warmth and underscore the room's contemporary, natural feel.
Just off the kitchen, the dining area is anchored by a wall of split-face bluestone tile, an unusual feature that creates a feeling of richness in this otherwise simple space. Sliding doors make it easy to access the first-floor deck for alfresco dining.
Light Fixtures: Hubbardton Forge
Carved out of what had been an open sleeping loft on the second floor, the former master bedroom was a bland, narrow rectangle.
The room was widened a bit, and more windows were added to give it much better views and abundant natural light. In warm weather, the covered porch serves as the perfect spot for enjoying morning coffee or evening cocktails. Soothing lavender walls complement the color of the sky and the sea, especially at twilight.
In the master bathroom, his-and-hers vanities in dark wood echo the warm, oil-rubbed-bronze finish of the light fixtures that flank the mirrored medicine cabinets. Bright-blue towels and rattan storage baskets feel at home in a casual house near the water and add color and texture to this cool-toned space.
Medicine cabinets: Broan-NuTone
Brewster created a bathroom and bedroom for the couple's daughter in the above-the-garage addition. The harmonious design creates a seamless addition and doesn't increase the home's footprint.
Learn more about the Over-the-Garage Addition
The living room was enlarged by bumping out the house's southwest corner, which has top-notch vistas of Narragansett Bay. General contractor Andy Tiplady installed the ceiling beam to eliminate the need for structural columns here.
The new retractable awning offers a bit of shade on the first-floor deck. Its fade-resistant fabric and wind sensor should help it stand up to the seafront weather.
Retractable Awning: Sunbrella
The old layout was scrapped entirely in favor of an open-plan first floor and a larger three-bedroom, two-bath space upstairs.