Cape Cod-style Homes – Coastal, Classic, and Resilient 

July 17, 2023

Cape Cod-style homes have stood as symbols of coastal charm and timeless, understated elegance for centuries. With their weathered shingles, pitched roofs, steep dormers, and distinctive color palettes, it’s hard not to love homes along the Cape and Islands. 

Anyone who has lived or vacationed on Cape Cod or any New England coastline knows that the features of Cape-style architecture were bred of necessity, not fashion. New England’s coastal weather can be unforgiving, fluctuating from one extreme to the next with each passing season. As a result, architects for centuries have designed Cape homes to withstand the punishing elements, and at the same time, embrace the coast’s natural beauty.

Cape Cod-Style Homes – Embracing A Simpler Design

Part of what defines a Cape Cod-style home is the sense of nostalgia it evokes and its connection to the natural beachscape around it. As New England and its coastlines were being settled in the 17th century and beyond, the environmental challenges, along with limited resources, labor, and materials, necessitated a shift towards smaller, symmetrical, and centralized design less concerned with space and luxury and more focused on practicality. While larger Cape Cod-style homes are built today, most of the original Cape Cod-style homes are more modest in size. 

Features of These Classic Homes:

Perhaps the most iconic features of a Cape Cod-style home are naturally weathered cedar shingles and a steep gabled roof. These pitched roofs not only shed snow easily but also create cozy attic spaces, perfect for extra bedrooms or storage. 

The iconic dormers, with windows, allow natural light to flood the interior and cross ventilation (lovely sea breezes) to flow through the home’s hotter, more humid rooms, almost certainly bedrooms. 

A centralized fireplace is another hallmark of Cape-style design. The fireplace is in the middle of the home to most optimally heat the entire house during cold winters. 

These classical elements aren’t just confined to the Cape itself. From coastal Connecticut to the rocky shorelines of Maine, Cape Cod-style homes have found a way to influence design in all parts of New England.

The Balance of Constructing Modern Cape-Style Homes

In today’s design era of sleek lines and wide-open layouts, why do homeowners still gravitate towards the classical, cozier features of Cape Cod-style architecture? The answer is simple: Cape Cod style homes strike the perfect balance between the traditional and the contemporary. When designed by the best Boston architectural firms, they capture the essence of a particular place—its history, landscapes, and culture. 

Slocum Hall Design Group’s residence on Meadow Neck in Falmouth, MA, is the epitome of old-world Cape style and charm blended with the conveniences and luxuries of a modern home. While the residence is perfectly suited for entertaining and hosting guests, it never loses sight of its roots as a Cape Cod home, resilient to the coastal elements and, at the same time, cozy, charming, and understated. 

As one of the premier architecture firms in Boston, Slocum Hall Design Group has worked with clients all over the Cape and Islands, designing homes and renovations that balance older Cape Cod charm and contemporary living.

Please reach out to discuss your Cape Cod-style project.