Long before ever visiting Cape Cod Massachusetts, I have admired the Cape Cod-Style Homes. These cover quite a range of similar but unique designs. Whenever we visit Cape Cod, I make of point of observing the numerous examples of these dwellings.
Some remaining Cape Cod homes are quite old, others are old but so well restored as to not look it, and many are new but true to the form in many ways.
Capes can usually be categorized by size and shape, such as: Quarter Cape, Half Cape, Three Quarter Cape and Full Capes.
The earliest Cape-Style homes were built in the post and beam method, starting in about 1630 and lasting for about 100 years. These are the traditional 1, 1 1/2, and 2 story types with roof pitches of about 45 degrees.
Originally, the Cape cottages were a single structure with a basic 1 to 4 room floor plan, often with the chimney in the center. They were durable and practical like the earliest Cape Cod residents.
These early homes were often symmetrical, at least across the front, in that the small-pane windows were placed equidistant whether 2 or 4. Notice how closely the basic shape mimics the stone cottages of Britain and the British Isles where many of the early builders haled from, but using materials more readily available in this new land.
The houses were designed well for efficient use of space and heat distribution. Eventually, these sturdy little homes evolved with the saltbox roof shape or had extensions added or floor plans redesigned. Chimneys can now be seen at either end or off-center. On Cape Cod itself, most homes were and still are, cedar-shingled. It is not unusual however to see Cape houses that are clapboarded or a combination of the two.
Roof styles vary from a standard pitch, to saltbox-style to gambrel or ship’s hull shape. These subtleties help to give the otherwise basic cape-styles additional character. Standard pitch roofs are the simplest to build, saltbox-style roofs protect more of the house from inclement weather and save on window glass; important in a time when initially, all glass was imported from Europe and windows were taxed. Note the economic use of windows in the photo at the very top.
Another popular modifications often includes porches, as in the Victorian Era. And sometimes, one cape was joined with another, one usually gable end out. I hope reading this has you noticing more Cape Cod-Style homes in your travels!
Gambrel and ship’s hull roofs afforded additional headroom in the upstairs and often standard pitch roofs were modified over time to incorporate these designs. There is very little that says COZY as effectively as a Cape Cod Cottage with a garden in front surrounded by a picket fence, whether by the sea or far inland!