What Style Are Cape Cod Houses?

Cape Cod houses are a popular style of architecture that originated in New England during the 17th century. These homes are known for their simple yet elegant design, and they have become a staple of American architecture. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes Cape Cod houses so unique and what distinguishes them from other architectural styles.

History of Cape Cod Houses

Cape Cod houses were first built by early settlers in New England who wanted to create homes that could withstand the harsh winters of the region. These homes were designed with a steep roofline that allowed snow to slide off easily, and they were often constructed with local materials such as cedar shingles and clapboard siding.

Characteristics of Cape Cod Houses

Cape Cod houses are known for their distinctive features, which include:

  • A steep roofline with dormer windows
  • A central chimney
  • A symmetrical facade with a front door in the center
  • A simple and practical layout with minimal ornamentation
  • A small size, typically one or one-and-a-half stories tall.

The Roofline

One of the most notable features of Cape Cod houses is their steep roofline. This design allows for more living space on the second floor while also providing adequate insulation during cold winters.

The Chimney

The central chimney is another characteristic feature of Cape Cod houses. It was used for heating and cooking in early versions of the house, but today it’s mostly decorative.

The Facade

The facade of a Cape Cod house is typically symmetrical, with a front door located in the center. Windows are also arranged symmetrically on either side of the door.

The Layout

Cape Cod houses have a simple and practical layout with minimal ornamentation. The first floor usually includes a living room, dining room, and kitchen, while the bedrooms are located on the second floor.

Cape Cod House Variations

While Cape Cod houses have a distinct style, there are several variations of the design that have emerged over time. These include:

  • The Half Cape – a smaller version of the classic Cape Cod house with only one room on each side of the central chimney.
  • The Three-Quarter Cape – a slightly larger version of the half Cape with three rooms on one side and one on the other.
  • The Full Cape – a larger version of the classic Cape Cod house with two rooms on either side of the central chimney.
  • The Expanded Cape – a modern variation that includes additional living space and more bedrooms.

In Conclusion

Cape Cod houses are an iconic part of American architecture and continue to be popular today. Their unique design, practical layout, and use of local materials make them both beautiful and functional. Whether you’re looking for a traditional or modern take on this classic style, there’s something for everyone in the world of Cape Cod houses.

Photo of author

Emma Gibson