5 Classic Cape Cod Architecture Design Ideas

January 13, 2022

When designing your custom home, it might be a bit overwhelming to decide where to begin style-wise. There are many design styles out there and you can use those to narrow down what you want. The classic Cape Cod Style can be a good place to start. Here are some classic Cape Cod architecture design ideas to help you determine if this could be the right look for your custom home:

What is a Cape Cod-Style Home?

Cape Cod homes can be fairly similar to the traditional American Colonial homes that were built at the same time period in the colonies farther south, like Virginia. There are a few elements specific to the homes on the Cape, however.

Cape Cods were modest, wood-framed houses that were typically one-room deep. They had shingles or clapboard exteriors that turned that classic light gray color as they weathered over time. The roof is often steep with gabled dormer windows. They are also known for their low profile and flat front facade.

5 Classic Cape Cod Architecture Design Ideas

Here are a few classic Cape Cod architecture design ideas to consider if this is the look you want for your custom home:

1. Use Natural Shingles

Because Cape Cods are known for their shingled exterior, consider using natural shingles to reflect that classic feature. Using cedar shake shingles will give you a warm, tan look at first, but as they weather over time, they become the familiar gray color. Not only are these common roofing materials, but cedar shingles also require less maintenance over time, which is good for harsher weather climates.

2. Double (or Triple) the Dormers

A classic feature of Cape Cod homes is dormers. The smaller homes typically have only two dormers, but if you’re going to be building a larger home, consider adding more dormers. Keep in mind that a key element of Cape Cod homes is symmetry, so make sure you have an even number of dormers added. Dormers also maximize floor space on the second story.

3. Go With a Steep Roof

Considering the style you want for your custom home can help you narrow down options with your builder and choose the right roofing. With this style, the traditional Cape Cod roof had two sloping sides that meet in a ridge.

Steep roofs were a practical choice in climates with a lot of snow because they prevented snow buildup. Even if you don’t live in a snowy climate, the steep roof with side gables is a classic look of Cape Cod-style homes. 

4. Keep the Front Facade Symmetrical

Symmetry is a traditional element of Cape Cod homes. To keep symmetry, make sure you have the same number of elements on each side of your home. Adding a column or light sconce to each side of the door adds some character, but also adds symmetry. Symmetry like this is also one fo the Georgian architecture design ideas

5. Add a Wide Front Porch

Even though the Colonial Cape Cods did not have porches, they are a common addition to current Cape Cod homes. Adding a porch onto your Cape Cod can expand your living area, which is great for smaller homes. Plus, there are several front porch styles that can fit any size or style of home.

These are just a few classic Cape Cod architecture design ideas that may inspire you as you design your custom home. If you’re ready to get started designing and building your own custom home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090. We’ll help bring your dream home to life!