Cape Cod Style Homes

Some of the First Houses Built in the United States Were Cape Cods

The original colonial Cape Cod homes were shingle-sided, one-story cottages with no dormers. During the mid-20th century, the small, uncomplicated Cape Cod shape became popular in suburban developments. A 20th-century Cape Cod is square or rectangular with one or one-and-a-half stories and steeply pitched, gabled roofs. It may have dormers and shutters. The siding is usually clapboard or brick.

The Cape Cod cottage originated in New England in the 17th century. It is traditionally characterized by a low, broad frame building, generally a story and a half high, with a steep, perfectly pitched roof with end gables, a large central chimney and very little ornamentation.

The Cape Cod cottage style (and in turn its Colonial Revival descendant of the 1930s50s) originated with the colonists who came from England to New England. They used the English house with a hall and parlor as a model, adapting this design with local materials to best protect against New England's notoriously stormy weather. Over the next several generations emerged a one- to one-and-a-half-story house with wooden shutters and clapboard or shingle exterior.

A Book of Cape Cod Houses - When a person is requested to draw a home they consider to be the archetypal American style, the result is typically a symmetrical, story and a half residence, featuring a central chimney, with windows placed on both sides of a front door located in the center. Another way of saying, a Cape Cod home. Beginning in the mid-1600s through around 1850, Capes were constructed all over New England, they were homes to farmers, fishermen, shipwrights, and city dwellers. Featuring low-slung design allowed them to be easy to build, more economical, and most important impervious to the brisk winds sweeping in from the Atlantic Ocean . Author Doris Doane, Illustrator, Howard L. Rich

The Reverend Timothy Dwight IV (17521817), president of Yale University from 17951817, coined the term "Cape Cod House" after a visit to the Cape in 1800. His observations were published posthumously in Travels in New England and New York (182122)

Colonial Capes (1600s1700s)

Colonial-era Capes were most prevalent in the Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada. They were made of wood,

and covered in wide clapboard or shingles. Most houses were smaller, usually 1,0002,000 square feet in size. Originally, they did not have dormer windows. There were generally an odd collection of windows in the gable ends, and in these windows nine and six panes were the most common. The rooms were generally furnished with all hardwood floors.

The style has a symmetrical appearance with front door in the center of the house, and a large central chimney for fireplaces in each room. A cape-style house also commonly had a master bedroom on the first floor and an unfinished loft on the second floor. A typical house had little or no exterior ornamentation.

Colonial Revival Capes (1930s1950s)

Revivalist Cape Cod houses are very similar to Colonial Cape Cod houses, but have the chimney at one end of the living room on the side of the house.

Suggested Home Styles Books

See also