Cape Cod Rental: Before Tour + Our Preliminary Design Plans

Hello, hello! Let’s tour our latest project: Our Cape Cod Rental.

In case you missed the news, we bought a rental home and immediately started demo. As promised, today I’m taking you on a “before” tour and sharing all of our preliminary design plans for the Cape Cod rental.

As I briefly mentioned yesterday, we have 2-3 weeks before this house is occupied by new tenants. So any projects we do have to be wrapped up before then. On top of that, because this is a rental property, I have to approach the design from a different perspective than if it were a home we were remodeling to sell.

Ultimately return on investment (ROI) is still the biggest factor. With a rental property you also have to consider which projects will help justify higher monthly rates and allow you to place higher-quality tenants in your property. At the same time, however, you want to make sure you’re using durable materials and finishes that can take a beating, because no matter how great your tenants are, they won’t coddle your house — and really, they shouldn’t, because a house is meant to be lived in.

Another factor to keep in mind when remodeling a rental property is resale value. But look at me — I’m going on and on about property investing. I should probably share a separate post on it. Is that something you’d be interested in learning more about? Let me know, and I’ll put it on my content calendar!

Let’s get back to the topic at hand: Our Cape Cod Rental.

Upon entry, you walk immediately into the living room.

We plan to update all floors throughout the entire house with LVP, like we did at the Greystone House. The old floors – orange hardwood and extremely old, brown carpet – have already been demoed out.

All lighting will also be updated, and I’m excited to once again be working with Kichler.

I’m thinking to take advantage of the chair rail in the living room and paint it, along with the bottom portion of the wall, “Agreeable Gray” from Sherwin Williams. It’s the same paint we used on the beadboard backsplash in the Greystone kitchen, and I absolutely loved it. The greige detail will add some interest to the living room and fit the charming New England aesthetic we’re going for here.

Let’s move on to the kitchen.

It’s the standard builder-grade kitchen from the 2000s, with its orange cabinets, terrible lighting, and scalloped upper cabinet fronts. A full kitchen remodel is, unfortunately, not an option due to time constraints. But we’ll be updating floors, changing the light fixtures, getting new appliances, and – if time allows – painting the cabinets.

To the left of the entry is the staircase. We will be updating the stairs, painting the risers white and staining the treads to match the new floors. For the balusters and newel post, I’m thinking Sherwin Williams’ “Tricorn Black” – like in both, the Greenfield Remodel and the Greystone House.

Off of the kitchen we have a small hallway, which leads to the garage, laundry room, and powder room.

All these spaces are getting new floors, lighting and baseboards.

The powder room will get a major overhaul: New vanity, new mirror, new wall sconces – possibly installed on the side walls rather than the back wall – new toilet, and a pretty cafe curtain with a brass rod for privacy. As a nod to the home’s overall Cape Cod aesthetic, I’m going with a bit of a coastal theme in the powder room – but more of a classic New England coast, rather than the eclectic Florida aesthetic you often find in Florida condos.

If time allows, I’d love to get some black and white peel-and-stick wallpaper installed in here – perhaps with a floral or botanical theme. This would have to be a project I do myself, because it’s a challenge convincing the husband to use subcontractors for frilly, unnecessary projects, ha! But no worries, I’ve installed this type of wallpaper before, and despite what anyone else may tell you, it’s really quite easy. If I could do it in Mila’s nursery while six months pregnant, you can too!

For the laundry, I’d love to get a couple basic shelves installed above the washer and dryer. They’ll be quite useful for storing detergent, wool dryer balls, etc. Perhaps down the road, I can tile that back wall, too. But again, with the time constraints, it’s unlikely to happen soon.


The dining space is on the other side of the kitchen peninsula, with a coat closet here as well. I plan to swag a pendant over the dining table area and add a decorative ceiling medallion.

Off of the dining space is the master bedroom.

It’s quite substantial in size. The en-suite bathroom is a bit smaller than what I’d prefer, but I have grand plans for making it, well, grand.

The walk-in closet is also modest in size – bust still a walk-in! Besides changing out the flooring and light fixtures, no changes will be made to the master bedroom and closet. The en-suite bathroom, however, is getting quite the cosmetic overhaul, with a new vanity, new wall sconces, new mirror, new floors, new toilet, an extra-tall shower curtain, and all the pretty accessories.


Moving on to the second floor, we have four bedrooms and one bathroom.

All of the bedrooms have dormer windows because of the Cape Cod-style roofline. There is one dormer window in particular that I’d love to convert into a reading nook for the tenant’s daughter. I plan to install plug-in sconces on either side for a pretty moment of symmetry.

This bedroom in particular also has a chair rail. So I plan to paint it like the living room – “Chantilly Lace” on top and “Agreeable Gray” on the bottom.

One of the bedrooms is quite small and would work better as an office. It gets the best natural light – which is perfect for a work-from-home situation.

The other two bedrooms are quite similar to the first. All have standard, reach-in closets.

The upstairs bathroom – otherwise known as the kids’ bathroom – is also getting a pretty thorough overhaul. The only thing staying is the shower-tub insert. Everything else, including the beadboard, is going. I hate to get rid of decorative features like beadboard, but this one is just too short to make sense. Plus, the vanity we’re using here is a different height and depth than what’s currently here, so that will completely throw off the beadboard design.

We ran into one small issue in this space: There’s a strange, DIY-like texture on the upper part of the walls. So, depending on what’s underneath the beadboard, we may end up installing beadboard all over the walls in order to avoid having to install drywall and skim coat the textured walls, both of which would equal to more time-consuming labor that we’re trying to avoid.

The upstairs hallway is also getting new lighting fixtures, floors, baseboards, door handles and hinges.

Let’s take a quick peek outside, and see my favorite part of this property.

The beautiful, perfectly level backyard with views of open pasture and forests. I’m sure the new tenants will utilize this space to make some wonderful memories with their family!

Although the deck paint color is not something I personally would choose, it’s not a priority for us. It’s sturdy and still has several. years of use left, so refinishing it solely  for the sake of aesthetics just doesn’t make sense, given our time constraint.

That about concludes our tour today. Thanks for reading, and let me know what questions I can answer about this property or projects we have planned!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the following:


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