Everything You Need to Know About Cape Cod-Style Houses

When you imagine about a property in its most simple form—when you visualize an impression of a single in your head, or when a baby attracts just one in crayon on a sheet of paper—what you are most likely observing is a sq. house with a pitched roof and windows on each and every facet of the doorway in the heart. In brief, what you are envisioning is a Cape Cod house.

In a lot of strategies, a Cape Cod–style property is the quintessential American home, with deep roots in New England (hence the name) but also in England itself, as the colonial settlers brought their proclivities and aesthetic inclinations across the Atlantic with them in the 1600s.

“There are genuinely two historic versions of the Cape Cod—one is the first from the 17th and 18th generations, and then there is a ‘modern Cape’ relationship to the early 20th century, which were being quite improved archaeological interpretations,” says Roger H. Seifter, a lover at Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York Town.

A quintessential Cape Cod residence, shingled in sturdy white cedar, in Chatham, Massachusetts.

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“In England these properties were being built from brick or masonry, but the settlers in The usa did not have these materials so they utilized wooden siding,” he claims, which wound up getting the additional gain of sturdiness in opposition to the severe maritime climate. Traditionally, Cape Cods ended up clad with shingles of white cedar, which stood up effectively to the salt air and took on a silvery patina above time. (Seifter notes that white cedar has rather fallen out of favor of late, with other options like red cedar being observed as a a lot more eco-welcoming solution.)

Where by Does the Name “Cape Cod House” Occur From?

But these residences crafted by the early American settlers ended up not named just after their locale, at least not at first. The time period “Cape Cod style” was 1st made use of many decades later on, when the president of Yale University, the Reverend Timothy Dwight IV, printed Travels in New England and New York (1821–22) immediately after getting a vacation to the Cape. Early iterations were being frequently just just one- or two-space cottages with a hearth in the middle—the space with the fireplace usually doubled as the bedroom—but the style has ongoing to evolve in accordance with the instances.

cape cod style house
It doesn’t get any much more basic than this—a white-picket-fenced Cape Cod–style property in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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“There can be a very thick layer of aesthetics laid about the purpose,” Seifter claims. “Each era tried to be real to the first sort, but these have been more modern-day houses and they had to accommodate features that were being not in the primary versions. It was a very workaday variety of architecture…the aesthetic component did not grow to be ‘a thing’ till later on in the 19th century, when a revival in historic American kinds took off,” coinciding with the American centennial celebration in 1876.

Some 70 several years afterwards, Cape Cods arrived at what was possibly their peak second during the 1940s postwar increase, when the initially phase of the archetypal planned suburban local community of Levittown, New York, was manufactured up solely of Cape Cod–style houses. Currently, primary Capes like individuals have in some cases been additional onto so often that they have a kind of “Russian doll” look, Seifter says.

view of levittown, new york
A row of Cape Cod–style homes in the planned community of Levittown, New York, in 1954.

BettmannGetty Photographs

What Are the Qualities of a Cape Cod-Fashion Home?

Cape Cod-design homes can arrive in several styles and sizes—the charming, modest proportions of a fifty percent Cape make excellent starter households for many men and women, when some others may perhaps aspire to the grander proportions of a total Cape. A 50 percent Cape has its entrance door on a single aspect of the facade, with two windows on the other side (this is also known as a “single Cape”). A entire Cape, on the other hand, has a doorway in the center with two home windows flanking it on each aspect. And if you cannot make a decision between the two, a a few-quarter Cape is for you, with two windows on 1 facet of the door and one particular window on the other.

The 2nd story of older Cape Cods, in the triangular area underneath the roof, would have often been no far more than an attic, but the addition of dormers in much more modern day households authorized for bedrooms to be expanded to the next floor without sacrificing light-weight and airflow, consequently developing additional livable place.

And never forget about about the shutters on the home windows, which are a vintage design ingredient of Cape Cod homes that served an important purpose back again in the day—they could be closed to secure in opposition to the fierce coastal New England winds—but are extra typically than not strictly decorative in modern day times.

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