Cape Cod Homes: Great Remodeling Design Ideas
There is nothing more Americana and more beautiful than a Cape-Cod-style home. I love the charm and character. The style first began on the shores of New England on the rugged, stony shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Its lure may be a subliminal yearning for the water.
This was the first area to be settled by Americans and it was the port of call from Europe in homes that dotted the pristine waterfronts. To me, the Cape Cod is the ultimate in frugality and conservatism with a slight amount embellishment with the shutters and wide clapboards or wide shingles.
The architectural standards for a Cape Cod home:
- A steep roof and either 1 or 1/2 stories in height (for me, I define a Cape Cod as always having 1 1/2 stories and making the best use of the attic, but technically this not true).
- Symmetrical in appearance, with the door in the center and dormer for utilitarian purposes of light, added space, and ventilation.
- Limited roof overhang (protruding eaves from the roof).
Frugality aside, the Cape Cod is an architectural delight.
Unlike many other styles of homes, the Cape Cod does not have a large roof overhang—remember my feeling the focus was upon utilitarian and frugality—that is a fundamental quality of the style for me.
When we throw the frugality out the window, we end up with "mega-mansions." Interesting, this is a common choice among the very wealthy from the eastern shores of the United States to resort communities in the heart of the Midwest. Geneva Lake in southern Wisconsin showcases a number of these amazing estates and architectural delights.
Cape Cods Need Shutters
While not a requirement, a Cape Cod without shutters often looks very bare. The exception is the first photo below—very rare to have all the charm without the shutters—but yet it works and it works well.
Divided Light Window Panes—Mullion
The architectural term for the divided light window pane is "mullion." A mullion is a structural element which divides the glass within the windows. While again not a stated element, it is a common element that adds a tremendous amount of charm.
My Favorite Aspects of a Cape-Cod-Style Home
Efficient Use of Space
Growing up poor, I still need efficiency. The Cape Cod, I feel is the ultimate in the efficient use of space. Having living space in the attic makes sense (assuming you have great insulation—mind your insulation and your check book will mind you!).
The landscape is always charming because the home does not impose upon the yard. The yard frames the home. This limited footprint helps with space for garages and much-loved gardens and swimming pools.
Charm in the Details
The definition of the style is simplicity in adornment, yet just a small amount of detail makes the Cape Cod just shout personality! The divided window panes are a must. A picket fence and adjoining garden compliment this architecture exceptionally well.
The History of the Cape
The original foothold of the style was a section of the United States on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The "Cape Cod" as a location is a sandy peninsula which archaeologists say formed during the Ice Age. Yes, the cape does jut out into the Atlantic like a crooked arm. What fascinates the geologists is the fact that it was formed by glaciers relatively recently. The location is a very popular vacation spot.
Asymetrical Cape Cod Breaks the Rules
The photo above showcases how charming the style can be even when it breaks the rule of a center entrance. The bay window, I feel, adds to the charm. The dormers are adorned with the divided window panes, breaking the other rule of "little adornment," and the roofing material has also been upgraded along with the brick pathway.
Breaking the rules and juxtaposing this classical and frugal home style with some of the best architectural adornments (wood roof, brick sidewalks, and bay windows) is an electrifying combination that still remains true to frugality—the square footage is still efficient, with the attic space being fully usable, and the footprint of home remains considerate of the environment.
Mega Cape Cods
I dream of Cape Cod homes but I never dream of the mega ones. If your dreams are large, here are a couple that are more mansion than Cape Cod.
I imagine this grandness is beyond the imagination of any of the original builders and designers of the style. The fundamentals of the dormer roof and the full use of the attic are still present, only the scale is massive (one room is the size of one whole original house?) and the added arched and round windows and the numerous columns, not to mention the massive porches and high end roofing materials, make the following example beyond my dreams.
Elaborate Cape-Cod-Style Home
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.