Sometimes a house muddles through life without living up to its potential. This one-and-a-half-story Atlanta cottage had good bones but needed a face-lift. "Its scale was really nice, but there were lots of little imperfections," says architect Ross Piper. "I wanted to make it what it was intended to be, not strip away any of its Cape Cod character." First up was correcting the asymmetrical roofline and too-small dormers and entry. Changing the cladding and refining all the details stayed true to the exterior's quirky charms while making it way more sophisticated.
Classic cottage essentials: Copper mailbox, (25599), $169; grandinroad.com