The Cape Cod house originated in New England in the 1600s and has become an extremely popular architectural style in homes all around the world. These homes were built for function rather than looks, but we cannot help but love the design.
It follows a simplistic design with symmetrical lines, a central front door with windows on either side. Also, they feature shutters and an exterior of either shingle or clapboard.
This style became popular in the 1930s in New England, and it was brought over with the colonists who came from England. They adapted the style of an English thatched cottage to fit the climate and weather in New England. They worked with local materials that would be best suited to shield them against the region’s stormy weather.
While the second stories were originally left unfinished, they are now often used as second floors featuring beautifully pitched ceilings.
The low ceilings and a central chimney with back-to-back fireplaces helped fight the cold, while steep roofs kept off rain and prevented snow from building up too much in the home. The outside of a Cape Cod home features very little ornamentation, again, following that simple, symmetrical style.
There are four different categories of Cape Cod homes, and it all has to do with the front windows and door. A quarter Cape has one door and one window while a half Cape has one door with two windows on one side of the door. The three-quarter Cape has two windows on one side of the door and one on the other, and the full Cape (sometimes called a double Cape) has two windows on either side of the front door.
Over time, some exterior features were added to new homes. Eventually, more additions were made to the home style, as well as dormers to increase space. Some people added screened-in porches to the side of the home (rarely the front).
Why is it called “Cape Cod?” This draws up images of the sea, right? Well, one of the most iconic characteristics of this home style is the naturally worn cedar shingles. These thrive in salt air conditions where they oxidize, so you won’t get the same effect off the coast as you would on the coast.
With the architectural style comes interior design. Personally, I associate a nautical theme to reflect the beach-y feel of certain parts New England.
If you’re looking to bring some sea life into your Cape Cod, stick with a blue and cream color pallet. Sandy tones can warm up rooms and plenty of knotted accessories—pillows and throw rugs—really add to the theme.
The farmhouse design theme works really well in a Cape Cod home, too. Think lots of natural, exposed wood and the same light base colors seen in the nautical style.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to decorate the interior of a Cape Cod home. No matter which you choose, these cozy homes are perfect for first-time home buyers or anyone looking to live a simple, cozy life.
Are Cape Cods your favorite type of home? Tell us why, below.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.