Cape Cod Style House

Interior Design Ideas for Cape Cod Style Homes

Have you ever heard of Cape Cod style house? Imagine having a balanced house with a steep roof, small windows peeping out like curious eyes, and a front door that welcomes you like an old friend.

Cape Cod Style House

According to the head Architect at Colberg Architecture, Eugene Colberg, the style of Cape Cod houses reminds someone of a simple house that has a small layout building with a few rooms and stairs in the middle.

These small houses are not just buildings because they’re comfortable and come with timeless designs and havens that can stand the test of time.

So, let’s go into detail about what a Cape Cod-style house looks like and why it is so popular that people go for it.

Cape Cod Style House Architecture

The original Cape Cod house is a small, simple cottage with a pitched roof to deal with snow. It has a big central chimney and low ceilings to keep it warm. 

In New England, these houses often had huge chimneys, but in warmer places, chimneys were moved to the side. The windows have shutters, and there’s a central door with simple surroundings.

There are three main types of Cape Cod houses based on size and features: half, three-quarters (also known as Saltbox-style Cape), and full Capes. 

The full Cape is seen as the ideal version, with a symmetrical design, a big central chimney, and double windows on each side of the door.

Cape Cod houses come in different sizes, but they usually share some key features, and the breakdown of those key characteristics are;

1. They’re a basic rectangular shape.

2. They have one main floor and a smaller second floor on one side.

3. The roof is steeply pitched to handle snow.

4. There’s a big chimney in the center.

5. The front door is in the middle.

6. Ceilings are low.

7. The windows have shutters and sometimes extra windows on the roof (dormers).

8. The landscaping gives off a cozy cottage vibe.

How to Decorate with Cape Cod Style

Cape Cod Style House

Cape Cod houses were originally built and decorated in a way that could handle the tough winters in New England. They used strong local materials for the decoration which are:

  • Oak and pine wood for the frame of the house
  • Oak and pine wood for the floors
  • Brick for the fireplaces
  • Clapboard or cedar shakes for the roof and sides
  • The outside of Cape Cod houses was usually painted white, and they had black shutters.

Here are the different forms of decoration;

1. Choose Old-fashioned Decorations

Because Cape Cod houses have a long history, consider embracing that by adding things that remind you of colonial America. 

Think about using items like old-style lantern lights, classic wooden pieces, or a grand-looking grandfather clock. Antiques and traditional decor go well with this type of architecture.

2. Bring in Nautical Vibes

Cape Cod houses are found in many places, but they feel most at home near the beaches of Massachusetts

To capture that coastal feel, use boat-inspired decorations in your home.

3. Stick to Simple Colors

When it comes to painting your Cape Cod house, it’s okay to keep it simple. Neutral colors work well because they match the straightforward design of Cape Cod houses. 

They also act like a blank canvas, ready for changes in your style. Light blues and sea foam greens are great choices if you’re into the coastal theme.

4. Try a Different Exterior Look

If you want to refresh the outside of your Cape Cod home, think about changing its color. White with black shutters was popular during the Cape Cod revival. 

But you can give your house a new look with a different color combination. For example, you could use natural-looking siding with deep green shutters.

5. Make Your Backyard Beautiful

Even though Cape Cod houses are known for being simple, you can still add personality to your space. Architect Kevin Lichten suggests that once the front of the house looks complete, you can extend or connect the back to a barn or garage. 

Add matching Adirondack chairs or a neat picket fence to bring that Cape Cod charm to your backyard.

Why is Cape Cod House Style So Popular?

Cape Cod houses may seem plain because they usually lack fancy decorations, but architect Kevin Lichten argues that their simplicity is what makes them timeless. 

According to him, Cape Cod houses endure because they are straightforward, cost-effective to build, and well-suited for New England’s tough weather. 

They’re also adaptable, fitting various regions, family types, and materials.

Lichten highlights that when designed well with the right proportions and materials, a Cape Cod house can be graceful, elegant, and even luxurious. 

Even when not at its best, with less ideal proportions and basic materials like vinyl siding, it still provides an unpretentious and sincere home for the average American family.

Advantages of Living in a Cape Cod-style Home

Cape Cod Style House

Here are some of the advantages;

1. Looks Nice From The Outside

The slanted roof and the front door in the middle make it stand out. 

Some Capes also have small extra spaces on the roof called dormers, which might not add space but make the house look even better.

2. It Is Perfect For Small Family

Even though you might not like to live in it forever, it’s the perfect size for starters. 

You can even make a third bedroom on the first floor if you want, and having two full bathrooms is a plus when you sell.

3. The Roof of Our Cape Cod Is Great For Winter

We have cold winters in New York, and even though we don’t get a ton of snow, the slanted roof helps it slide off. 

This is good because it makes it hard for ice to build up after a snowstorm. However, during storms, especially on the second floor, the rain might sound louder and scarier. 

The Disadvantages of Living in a Cape Cod-style Home

Here are a few disadvantages of living in a Cape Cod home

1. The Upstairs Is Like A Half Floor

It’s often called one and a half stories because the second floor is smaller than the first. 

The bedrooms have slanted ceilings because of the pitched roof, and it’s easy to bump your head while cleaning or making the bed.

2. The Upstairs Can Get Hot In the Summer

According to Alex Capozzolo, co-founder of Brotherly Love Real Estate, Cape Cod-style houses in warmer places are tough to cool because the heat in the attic makes the second floor hot. 

Even without an attic, the upstairs gets pretty stifling during summer. It also gets cold in the winter, but you must add a warmer blanket to turn up the heat.

3. Hard to Expand a Cape Cod House

The simple layout makes it a good starting point for expanding, but if you want to keep the Cape Cod style, you need to be careful. 

Adding front dormers or bump-outs (extra space usually at the back) can be done without changing the exterior too much. 

Overview of the Architectural History of Cape Cod

Cape Cod houses are a classic American style that started in the 17th century when English settlers adapted their homes for the tough New England weather. 

They made these houses with a durable, simple design to withstand the elements.

The first batch of Cape Cod houses was built from 1690 to 1850. Later, in the 1920s to 1950s, there was a revival, and these houses became popular nationwide. 

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, Cape Cod-style homes became even more popular because they were affordable. 

In the 1940s and 1950s, after World War II, there was a housing boom, and Cape Cod homes were a common choice.

Even today, in our big modern world, Cape Cod-style homes are still liked for their nostalgic charm. People build new homes inspired by Cape Cod architecture, ranging from large houses to tiny ones.

In the world of houses, Cape Cod style is like the comfortable sweater you never want to take off. 

With its simple and timeless design that has a classic rectangular shape, steep roof, and friendly front door. It’s why these homes are found all over, especially in the charming corners of New England.

Cape Cod houses are more than just structures because they’re like a stroll down memory lane, inducing a feeling of simpler times. 

Whether you’re drawn to their familiar shape or the comfortable vibe they bring, one thing’s for sure is that these homes have a special place in the heart of American architecture. 

So, if you ever find yourself in one, take a moment to appreciate the enduring charm of the Cape Cod-style home which is truly classic and it’s here to stay.

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