Reinventing A 1.5 Story Cape Cod with Room to Grow 

Like many homes in the area, this Cape Cod benefited from a bonus 1/2 story upper level that the family could use as a much-needed flex space. With a little ingenuity, our clients were looking to completely rethink the way they were using the main level by remodeling the upper level. Adding a dormer spanning the entire length of the home meant that previously unusable square footage in the 1/2 story could become spacious bedroom suites, given the elevated ceiling heights. For this design to be successful, our designers would need to rehome the primary suite and shared kids’ room to the upper level with additional bonus space to be used by the whole family.


The existing 1/2 story above this Cape Cod family home operated as a flex space with a play zone for the kids and work-from-home space. In the new design, the clients will be able to maintain a family friendly rec room while getting two more bedrooms, closets, and a generous bath.
A small closet at the edge of the stair wall, though functional, blocked views throughout the upper level. With the addition of a generous dormer across the back of the home, our designers would need to find a way to support the new roof without cluttering views with additional walls and columns.

Project Objective

For this work-from-home family, finding places to work for both Mom and Dad on the main level was nearly impossible. Turning the 1/2 story above into the primary bedroom location would allow the main level bedrooms to be easily reconfigured into offices.

Project Details

  • Project Type: Total Upper Level Remodel with Dormer Addition
  • Style of Home:  1.5 Story Cape Cod
  • Year Built: 1946
  • Project construction will take approximately 16 weeks to complete.

Unique Challenges of the Remodel

  • Tricky Engineering: With structural elements relocated during a previous remodel on the main level, the team needed to resolve how to support the roof for the new dormer without having posts awkwardly divide the new loft. 
  • Overcoming Low Ceiling Heights: To create proper living spaces, the team would need to reclaim previously unusable square footage by increasing ceiling heights across the back of the home
  • Redefining the Exterior Aesthetic: Based on the clients’ preferences, the new dormer would need to maintain the exterior Cape Code aesthetic while infusing modern influences.


Our clients would trade the upper level offices for bedroom suites and a properly sized recreational room, enabling the main level bedrooms to be repurposed into well proportioned offices.
Large windows make the upper level a bright and welcoming place to be, which is an asset to both the existing and proposed plans. With great natural light, as well as new flooring and modern selections, the remodeled space will just as welcoming as the floor below.

So the House isn’t working For You.  Why Remodel?

For our clients, this St.Paul Neighborhood felt just right and a previous remodel on the main level was an asset. Not just the inside of the house, but the backyard was a coveted feature of the property, which these clients weren’t in a hurry to give up. Another important consideration is equity. Living in the home for several years already, the family built up enough equity to make a remodel worthwhile. 

Up Next…Look inside the final design of this Cape Cod Dormer Addition.