Timeless Cape Cod-Style Home Design

When it comes to quintessential New England charm, the Cape Cod-style home stands as a timeless embodiment of coziness and simplicity.

Locally referred to as The Cape, this home style is an example of how the harsh New England climate influences design- creating iconic, recognizable forms.

History of The Cape

The Cape’s humble and functional beginnings date back to the early settlers of the 17th Century. Looking to keep the cold winter’s chill out, and the warmth from the centrally located fireplace in, the iconic style was born.

The Cape-style home design surged in popularity during the Colonial Revival of the 1930s and continued until after WWII.

Since then, the style and its many variations, quickly became the most popular and recognizable home style in America, surpassing even Victorian-era designs.

What makes a Cape, a Cape?

There are a number of trademark features Capes are known for: the simple, uncomplicated facade, central chimney, and shingle-sided exterior are synonymous with the early colonial style. 

A roof designed for easy snow removal

The iconic steep roofline of the Cape is first and foremost a practical choice, considering the New England climate.

Intended to make snow removal simpler and allow for rain to shed the building quickly, the style was adapted to the region by early Puritan settlers based on the thatched roofs of Great Britain.


The heart of the home: the central fireplace

A traditional Cape would have the fireplace central to the interior of the home, with 4-6 rooms immediately surrounding it. Since several variations of The Cape now exist, the high adaptability of the design has allowed for flexibility to suit modern families' needs. Later versions of The Cape include a chimney slightly off-center to the front door, often to accommodate a staircase.

Shingle-sided facade for the rainy season

The shingle siding is yet another practical design choice that became an icon of the style. Often made of unpainted cedar shake, the shingle siding of The Cape gets its charming, weather-worn patina over time.

Modern adaptations to a less high-maintenance material aren’t uncommon as many Mid-Century Capes are being renovated.

The Cape is an enduring testimonial to the resilience of the people of New England. The marriage of form and function has created a timeless American architectural emblem that will continue to stand the test of time.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.