A Cape Cod (or ‘cape’) style home is typically a low, one and a half story house with a chimney running through the center, and a steep pitched roof. This cottage-style house originated in the 17th century in the New England area of the United States (home to Cape Cod, MA) where the homes needed to withstand the harsh New England winters and be sourced from materials available locally.
During the Colonial Revival in the 1930s, Cape Cod homes become popular again due to their affordability – a lot of the capes standing today were built during this timeframe. Today, capes remain a popular home style and are typically an affordable option for homebuyers. Dormers are commonly added to the homes to provide extra living space and light in the upstairs/loft space (the ½ of the 1 ½ story home). We’ve lived in ours for almost 2 years now and love it!
Origins on Cape Cod, MA
If you’ve ever been to Cape Cod, MA, you’ve probably been there during the summer to visit the beautiful beaches and chow down on a delicious lobster roll. In the winter, things look a little different with snow mounds, freezing temperatures, and frozen beaches.
The style of the original cape homes were built to be extremely functional & modest:
- Height: Low to the ground to withstand the wind/snow gusts, usually 1 1/2 stories
- Roof: Extremely pitched to allow the snow to glide off
- Chimney: Located in the center of the home. With the low roof, it helped heat the entire house
- Shutters: Protected the the windows during harsh winds
- Materials: All locally available. Most notable were the clapboard or shingle siding look
Modern Era Design
Cape style architecture started making a comeback after WWII during the Colonial Revival. Today, capes can be found all across the US and are one of the most recognizable home styles. Due to their origins, they are still most prevalent on the East Coast. Slight adaptations were made to the original structures such as:
- Chimneys: moved to side of the home to allow the staircase to run up the center to the ½ floor upstairs
- Dormers: great way to add extra light and space within the original footprint of the home. Gabled dormers (small individual dormers that are big enough just for a window) are often found in the front and shed roof dormers are often found in the back.
- Skylights: another affordable way to add additional light into the loft area
- Additions: many capes have additions put on to expand their footprint and allow for more living space such as larger kitchens, expanding family rooms, garages, etc.
Thinking about purchasing a cape style home? Ask any question below in the comment and we’re happy to answer!