The Cape Cod Dream Home: Learn the history, influences and features of this popular home plan style.
The Hatfield #1136
History of the Cape Cod
The Cape Cod dream home made its American debut in the early 18th century and is characterized by its sloped roof, symmetrical design, shingles, dormers, and ornate window shutters. Favored in colder climates with lots of snow, this classic New England-style home was modeled after the half-timbered houses of England and over hundreds of years has become known for its modest one-to-one-and-a-half-story floorplan. Former Yale University President Reverend Timothy Dwight is credited with coining the term “Cape Cod.”
Influences on Early Cape Cod Home Plans
These homes were originally built for climate control. Because New England’s winters were known to be brutal, the Cape Cod featured central chimneys and low-ceilinged rooms to conserve heat. Many Cape Cods boasted southern exposure, which allowed additional warmth to penetrate the home. Because the only resources abundantly available were pine, oak, and cedar, these natural homes were made of wood with clapboard and shingles. Because glass could be cost prohibitive, windows were small and patterned to form larger panes.
Features of a Cape Cod Dream Home
The Cape Cod is an extremely versatile floor plan as it lends itself to one or two story home plans with the added advantage of a sloped roof that allows for bonus rooms in the attic space. This rugged architecture which is available in a half, three-quarter, or full Cape all come with similar features, including:
- Large, central chimney
- Double hung windows
- Hardwood floors
- Narrow overhang
- Unpainted shingles or clapboarding