The Cape Cod Home
Many things likely come to mind when you think of Cape Cod. Old New England charm, warm and sunny beach days, and maybe fresh clam chowder. But did you know that not only is Cape Cod the name of an architectural style spearheaded in the area, but it is also a category of interior design? The Cape Cod home is airy, beachy, and on-trend. Read on to find out about where the style came from, and how you can even incorporate it into your own home, whether you live on Cape Cod or across the world.
Architecture of the Cape Cod Home
Traditionally, in architecture, “Cape Cod” refers to a very specific style of house. Modest and geometric, it is a simple silhouette: one story, a steep gabled roof, and a chimney in the center. The roof is gabled to prevent heavy snow from settling and weighing down the roof in harsh New England winters. The front door is generally central as well, and windows tend to feature shutters. The materials are strong and durable to endure the stormy Cape Cod weather. The effects of the weather on shingles or clapboard over time would be what produced the iconic weathered-grey exterior look.
The architectural style has evolved over time from when the style first showed up in late 17th century New England. As the style grew to adapt to changing needs, a second story was added, and now you will often see dormer windows projecting from the roof of a modern Cape Cod home. In some cases you will also see more ornate molding around the door or windows, as well as other ornamentation on the structure, in contrast to the simplistic style of earlier Cape Cod homes.
The interiors of these homes, much like the exteriors, are also simplistic. They usually have rooms centered around one central hall or a large open concept living space. The bedrooms are often under the dormers we discussed earlier, or under the gabled roof so the ceiling would be slanted. Throughout the home, the lines are clean and geometric. In the more traditional style, there is minimal decoration and ornamental detailing, although this may not necessarily be the case in more modernized versions of the style.
Interior Design of Cape Cod Homes
In terms of interior basics, Cape Cod homes typically have natural wood floors. Since ceilings are often low, bright white paint colors on the walls and ceiling reflect light and make the space seem a little bigger than it actually is. Often, these bright white walls have wood paneling or shiplap that give them a rustic look. Cape Cod homes mix New England charm with a traditional beach house look, and use lots of pastel colors for the interiors. Think cornflower blue, light sage green, and subtle butter yellow. It’s important to stay light with these shades, to keep the space looking bigger and reflecting more natural light.
For furnishings, evoke the old New England vibe and consider built in bookshelves. This both maximizes the small space and gives a scholarly, Cape Cod feel. Make sure that if you use built in bookshelves, you use the same bright white paint color as the walls so that it all flows. In terms of lighting, go in layers. While the space should have lots of natural lighting from big windows, choose pendant lighting paired with wall sconces for when it gets dark at night.
When decorating, keep using those same bright whites and pastel colors. For fabrics, consider sheer curtains to let plenty of light in. In the living room, pick white linens for the sofa, and consider natural driftwood furniture like a coffee table. Since bedrooms are often under slanted ceilings or dormers, this is the perfect opportunity to get super cozy. Create a comfy, relaxing nook with plenty of soft pillows and textiles and space to read and relax.
The Cape Cod home is a quintessential American architectural and design style that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. No matter where you live in the world, use these tips to create your own New England style abode.
Here are some American rugs from the Nazmiyal Collection to go with this uniquely American style:
This architecture blog about Cape Cod homes was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs.