A home with a simple, timeless clean-line silhouette and symmetric layout. A home filled with traditional culture and coziness with a beachy style twist. Yes, we are talking about the Cape Cod Styled Architecture. They have been around for centuries; still, they continue to enchant us and is one of the most well known and easily recognizable style of American architecture. Named after the Massachusetts coastal region, Cape Cod styled architecture consists of a simple house plan, yet it is quite popular. Though the style is quintessentially American, the first Cape Cods were developed by early settlers from England in the 1600s. Partially inspired by the simple, thatched cottages common in Britain, the settlers adapted the style to keep out the harsh New England winter. You’ll learn more about Cape Cod Styled Architecture in this article.
When Cape Cod styled homes were first developed, the big, central chimney of the cape code styled architecture was literally the heart of the home: It provided heat to all the rooms clustered around it, as well as light and, of course, dinner. Cedar shingles on the exterior and the roof also helped cut the cold. A steep roof quickly shed rain and snow. Everything about the Cape Cod style was adopted for its function rather than its form. The style had largely died out until Boston architect Royal Barry Willis reintroduced the Cape in the 1920s as a contemporary housing option. He retained the basic exterior shape of a Cape, but adapted the interior for modern day life.
Most of the older Cape Cod homes you see today were built after World War II, when thousands of returning soldiers and their young families needed inexpensive housing. The Cape Cod style fit the bill, and it was used to build some of the first major housing developments.
- Large, central chimney. The large, central chimney is located directly behind the front door, with the rooms clustered around it in a rectangular shape.
- Steep roof. Cape Cods have steep roofs to quickly shed rain and snow, and a shallow roof overhang.
- Windows and dormers. A full Cape has two windows on each side of the door, and often has a dormer on each side of the chimney to open up the attic.
- Captain’s stairway. “The second floor, often kept for boarders or ‘seafaring’ men, was accessed by a narrow stair, or ‘captain’s stairway,’ which has incredibly steep risers and shallow treads to minimize the use of the first-floor space,” explains David Karam, an architect and builder from Brewster, Mass.
- Shingle siding. Weathered gray shingles are one of the most recognizable elements of a classic Cape Cod, but newer homes are built of brick, stucco and stone.
- Lots of rooms in a compact space: the second floor of a Cape Cod home boasts a lot of living into a compact space. Some Capes have up to 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in just a 1000-square foot home. This makes them an excellent (and affordable) starter family home OR empty-nester home.
- Capes have a perfect layout: with the number of variations that capes feature on their one-and-a-half story floor plan, it’s not surprising to find these homes the top favorite of a home buyer. The perfect layout of a Cape Cod home provides a warm and intimate feeling that only few architectural homes can achieve. With its cozy sloping eaves in upstairs bedrooms and quirky gable end windows, a Cape Cod style house is a no frills home with a functional layout.
- Cape Cod homes are timeless beauties: while other architectural style homes, such as Victorian or Georgian houses, may look dated, Cape Cod homes age gracefully without ever looking old. This timeless style home has managed to remain just as popular as it was three centuries ago.
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If you were hoping to learn more about Cape Cod Styled Architecture, you should now be more enlightened. If you’d like to speak with Tony about building your own custom cape cod home, call on Lady Street Builders. We have a terrific array of cape cod plans to inspire you, we could build from your existing plans, or we can build your home from the bottom up. Contact us today.