Cape Cod House Style – The Definitive Guide

When it comes to architecture, Cape Cod house design has a lot to know. It’s one of the oldest housing styles in America.

This classic style dates back to New England in the 17th century. It proves that simplicity is not boring. It’s easy to see why Cape Cod homes have stood the test of time.

Do you want to learn more about the iconic architecture style? Scroll down below to define more about Cape Cod homes.

What is Cape Cod House Style?

cape cod house style

It is important to know how the Cape Cod style is defined before you get into the details and rich history of this house.

Cape Cod homes generally have a symmetrical facade with a large chimney in the middle, steep roofs, shingled exteriors. Cape Cod homes can be multi-story, but most are single-story. Cape Cod houses are also known for being free from unnecessary ornamentation. This makes them flexible enough to suit a wide range of homeowners.

The Cape Cod house style can be divided into three types: the full Cape, the three-quarter Cape, and the half Cape. Full Cape houses have a beautiful symmetry, which is often associated with this style. Three-quarter and half Capes, on the other hand, are smaller and have slightly offset chimneys and entryways. It can be thought of as three-quarters of or half of a Cape Cod house.

Barry Goralnick is a New York-based designer. He grew up in Massachusetts’ full of Cape Cod houses around him.

He says, “They’re ideal for today’s younger buyers that don’t want to live in McMansions.” They want to be able to live in multifunctional spaces. These homes are space-efficient and energy-efficient, something that we are more aware of these days. This is the perfect example of the rise of “tiny home” culture.

When Did Cape Cod House Style Originate?

cape cod house style

Although the Cape Cod house style is often associated with American architecture, it actually reminds us of the back Puritan colonists in the 17th century. The first settlers, when came to America decided to copy the half-timbered houses of England as their home and did some modifications to fit their new environment. The Cape Cod-style house was thus born.

Goralnick says that their origins are practical and can be adorned with simple ornaments. They are built to withstand the harsh weather conditions of the climate. ‘Pitched roofs shed snow. The shingles are durable and practical and can weather to an earthy gray color.

The Cape Cod house style has not lost its appeal, even though it has been around for almost 400 years. The style was out of fashion in the 1850s but saw a huge revival between 1925 and 1955. This style, according to the United States Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, it was the last colonial-era home that is restored to modern times.

Why is Cape Cod House style Popular?

cape cod house style

It’s easy for people to dismiss Cape Cod’s house style as boring because it doesn’t have any ornamentation. This home style is a long-lasting trend, according to Kevin Lichten, an architect.

He says that the Cape Cod house is durable because it’s simple to build and affordable, and can adapt to the harsh New England environment. It’s flexible in its configuration and beautiful for all other aspects. 

“Cape Cod houses can be used in a variety of areas, families, and materials because of their enduring versatility.

Lichten says that when the right proportions are achieved and the correct materials are used, it can be elegant, graceful, and even luxurious. It deals with dignity. It is a home that provides a safe and secure environment for the average American family, even at its worst.

Where Can Cape Cod House Style be Found?

cape cod house style

Cape Cod-style houses are most popular in Massachusetts and the New England region. These types of residences can still be found in the Midwest, not to forget the West Coast, but they may look different than their New England counterparts. ThoughtCo states that modern Cape Cod spaces often combine other architectural styles such as Tudor, Ranch, or Arts and Crafts.

Although Cape Cod homes are loved for their simplicity they were built for colder climates and snowier weather. But if you want to give a fresh look to that old cape code style, sync up with any architecture style, you will be amazed by the looks of your house. 

What To See in a Cape Cod home

cape cod house style

The facade is often the most important thing when you are looking for a Cape Cod home. Although most homes have unpainted side shingles and a cedar shake roof, the facade will be a standout feature.

Lichten says that perfection of proportion is key to beautiful Cape Cod. The roof slope must not be too steep and the shingle exposure should not exceed four to five inches. This is in contrast to the modern clapboard’s 10 inches. Low eaves are required so that the building does not touch the ground. The chimney must be strong enough to anchor the whole building to the ground.

The exteriors of most Cape Cod homes have the same look and feel. This makes them easy to spot in your community. Their interiors, it turns out are as sleek as their exteriors.

Lichten states that a Cape Cod home would have four bedrooms downstairs and four upstairs, with a large chimney in the middle. Its flexibility allows a family to expand with small additions. A complete Cape includes an entrance door at the center and a staircase directly inside.

Different Cape Cod homes will have different layouts.

Lichten further explains that for a half-cape, the living room is the front and the kitchen is the back. A three-quarter Cape has two windows on either side of the front door. One window is on the opposite. The attic-like bedrooms upstairs can be expanded with dormers. Flexible living: Half-Cape, three-quarter Cape, full Cape.

How To Decorate with Cape Cod House Style

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and that goes for home decor as well. Here are some amazing ideas for decorating your Cape Cod home.

Opt for Traditional Accents 

cape cod house style

As we all know that Cape Cod-style houses are famous for their rich history. Why not tap into that style’s past?

You can take a trip down memory lane by looking at pieces and elements that are reminiscent of colonial America. This beloved architecture will be complemented by antiques and traditional decors, such as lantern pendants or handsome wooden accents, or a grand grandfather clock.

Get Creative with Ship Style 

cape cod house style

Cape Cod homes can be found all over New England and the United States, but it feels most at home on the sandy beaches of Massachusetts. This space is a great example of how boat motifs can be used to bring it back to its coastal roots.

Keep it Neutral 

cape cod house

(Image credit: Kevin Lichten)

You can make or break space with a fresh coat of paint, but it is perfectly acceptable to keep your Cape Cod house color palette simple.

Neutral colors are a great match for Cape Cod’s minimalist structure. They can also be used as a blank canvas that can be adapted to your personal style. A palette of light blues, soothing seafoam greens, and other coastal colors will appeal to anyone who wishes to reflect the style’s coastal roots.

Unexpected Exteriors 

cape cod house

Rethink your Cape Cod property’s color scheme if you want to give it a new lease of life.

The Cape Cod revival saw white paint mixed with black shutters as a popular combination. You can also re-energize your facade by using a different combination. This space features natural siding and forest green shutters.

Beautify Your Backyard

cape cod house

(Image credit: Kevin Lichten)

Cape Cod houses are not just a name to be taken lightly. There are many ways you can personalize your space.

Lichten states that once the Cape is complete with all four windows, it can be grown in the back with an extension, connection to the barn, or today, the garage.

You can bring the Cape Cod charm to your yard with a matching Adirondack chair or a beautiful picket fence.

Here ends the full guide about the cape cod house style, do let us know, whether the article was helpful for you or not. 

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