American Architecture: Cape Cod Style's Components

What it is: This hot cabin style traces its origins to colonial New England and is characterized by its low, wide profile, normally a story and a half tall, with a steeply pitched roof with end gables.

The earliest forms had little exterior ornamentation and so were adaptions of the English hall and parlor home to match the stormy weather of the New England shore. The style saw a resurgence during the colonial revival period during the first half of the 20th century, together with the addition of a couple of Georgian-inspired embellishments.

Popularity of the easy, cabin look has waxed and waned through time. During times of economic wealth it’s been seen as a “poor man’s style,” but it has undergone resurgences during times of economic recession, due to its practicality.

Where to find it: The earliest examples are primarily along the New England coast (especially Cape Cod, for which the style is termed). Revival examples are around the Eastern seaboard, nevertheless, and can even be located in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

Why you’ll enjoy it: This really is the quintessential American cabin style. The floor plans are generally cozy and efficient, and also the simple, symmetrical exteriors are ripe for curb appeal embellishments such as shutters, window boxes and pedestrian paths. Nothing says “home sweet home” very like Cape Cod cottages.

Joseph B Lanza Layout + Construction

Why Is It Cape Cod

Element: Cedar shake shingles to the roof and siding.
These unpainted shingles turn from a warm tan to a gray color over time. Clapboard siding is also common on Cape Cod cottages.

The best way to make it your own: Cedar shake shingles require significantly less upkeep than painted siding, which makes them an ideal option in harsh climates, such as that of the New England shore.

Savoie Nolan Architects

Element: A steeply pitched roof with side gables. This is only one of the most consistent characteristics of the style.

The best way to make it your own: Originally designed to prevent the buildup of ice and snow, those steeply pitched roofs are extremely practical in cold climates, regardless of the style of residence.

Daggett Builders, Inc..

Element: Double dormers. They punctuate the steep rooflines of many Cape Cod homes. The most common sort of dormer used is a gabled one, which features a simple pitched roof with two sloping sides.

The best way to make it your: Along with boosting curb appeal, dormers make additional floor space in the area tucked under the roofs, helping convert once fresh attics into livable area.

Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Element: A symmetrical front facade. Traditionally Cape Cod homes have a symmetrical appearance and layout inside with a centre hall and equal space on either side. Colonial Cape Cods featured a central chimney linked to a fireplace in every room; 20th century versions like the one shown moved the chimney to a single end of the house.

The best way to make it your own: Pairs of planters and sconces on either side of entries can make the appearance of symmetry even when the basic layout is asymmetrical.

Element: Pilasters. They surround the front door and are the cosmetic highlight of easy Cape Cod cottages. This white-painted pilaster and lintel mix is the most common.

The best way to make it your own: Painting heavy trim surrounding entries white is one way to get a similar effect without phoning at a carpenter. Another simple approach to underline the entry is to paint the door itself a bright color.

Structures, Inc..

Element: Sidelights. Flanking front door they dress up the entry marginally more compared to pilaster-lintel combo. Sidelights can be found on either side of doors that were French or paneled.

The best way to make it your own: To the same effect without reconfiguring your entry area, try swapping out a good door for you with windows.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Element: Shutters and window boxes. The general simplicity of these structures makes them ripe for exterior enhancements like operable shutters and window boxes.

The best way to make it your own: Shutters and window boxes cheer up the facade of almost any home, regardless of its style. Both are simple improvements to suppress appeal.

Element: A broad front porch. Colonial versions of the style did not have front porches, due to climate and construction issues, but they are frequent in revival incarnations of their look.

The best way to make it your own: Porches are a fantastic way to assist smaller homes live larger by stretching the living space outdoors.

Savoie Nolan Architects

Element: Rear and side additions. When adding on to a Cape Cod house, architects and builders have a tendency to try and keep the small facade of the first structure and make more drastic changes or enlargements to the back or sides.

The best way to make it your own: Maintaining the integrity of initial architecture is a good practice, regardless of the style.

What do you think of Cape Cod houses? Are you ready to import the New England style to your hometown, or can it be better left for history books?

More:
A Coastal Cottage on Cape Cod

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