A Traditional Cape Gets a Contemporary Makeover

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When our clients were ready to move their growing family from their Somerville condo, they began looking for the perfect single family home. After two years of searching, they decided to change their thinking. They would buy a house that had potential and transform it into the house they loved.

The couple bought a pre-1930s Cape in Winchester. The small rooms and heavy paneling fit neither their lifestyle nor their design aesthetic, but the yard and location were enticing. Our clients immediately started interviewing contractors and design/build firms. In Spring 2015, they signed with Morse Constructions. Our client says “Paul was the only one who really seemed excited by our vision. We felt we could trust him and he truly listened to what we wanted.”

Our clients envisioned an open, airy, contemporary floorplan with an updated kitchen, additional baths, a master suite, mudroom and first floor laundry – all within the same footprint as the original home. “We have lived in the Boston area for 13 years but our design tastes are definitely not traditional New England,” comments our client.

We brought in architect Tom Downer of Downer Associates in Cambridge to develop a design that met all of our client’s needs within their budget, and without enlarging the existing home. According to Tom, “It’s a very efficient process to work with Morse because we work as a team. Morse estimates construction costs as we go so we know we are proposing designs that are financially feasible.”

Our clients moved into their Winchester home a little more than one year after they closed on their purchase. “We couldn’t be happier with our decision to renovate,” says our client. “Throughout the project, Paul and his team kept our priorities in mind. The result reflects our vision and our lifestyle perfectly.”


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Want to transform your own home? Please contact us to discuss your project! We are currently booking for Fall 2017/Winter 2018.

Tags: whole home renovation, design/build, Winchester, MA home renovation

What Transitional Style Really Means and Other Design Styles Decoded

A recent Houzz survey showed that Millennials and Baby Boomers lean toward different styles for their kitchens. Millennial homeowners are more likely to opt for Modern or Farmhouse while Traditional style is nearly twice as popular with Boomers. Contemporary has passed Transitional as the top kitchen style.

So what is Transitional style and how is it different from Contemporary? And what is the difference between Traditional and Farmhouse style?

Here’s a quick overview of the main design styles:

Traditional: Traditional design harkens from classic European interiors. Think wing-backed chairs, claw footed tables, deep wood tones and curved lines. A typical room arrangement includes a symmetrical balance of furniture pairs around a focal point, such as two sofas flanking a fireplace. Antiques or replicas of old pieces are often incorporated.


Modern: Modern style refers to the sleek, pared down architectural and interior design that emerged between the 1920s and 1950s. Ornate carvings and dark woods were replaced with a “less is more” aesthetic that celebrated clean lines, simplicity, chrome, stainless steel and molded plastics in furnishings.


Contemporary: Contemporary style is often confused with modern, but it is actually a medley of styles that originated in the latter half of the 20th century. Furnishings feature softer, more rounded lines than the hard-edged pieces typical of modern design, but it still celebrates uncluttered space and airiness.


Transitional: If you combine the textures and comfort of traditional style with the clean lines and airiness of contemporary, you get transitional. Transitional style blends elements to create a cohesive look that is lighter and less heavy than traditional, but cozier than contemporary.


Cottage: Cottage style exudes comfort with a healthy dose of nostalgia. Flea market finds, repurposed objects, beadboard walls, simple artwork, and lots of baskets all celebrate a simpler time. Cottage style is all about unpretentious comfort and hominess.


Farmhouse: Like Cottage style, Farmhouse style creates the ambiance of a simpler time, but it is more solid, less frilly than its Cottage cousin. Farmhouse style creates an idealized vision of the authentic, down-to-earth comfort of a solidly built, American farmhouse. Think rough-hewn beams, covered porches, hefty sinks, sliding barn doors, light colors and solid, simple, comfortable furnishings.


We love creating wonderful homes in any style. Some of our favorite projects involved transforming a traditional floorplan into open, airy contemporary or transitional spaces. To find out more, please give us a call or use our contact form.

Tags: home design, architectural design, design trends