Architecture 101- Spotlight on Cape Cod

Published September 24, 2012 by Julie Provenzano

The Cape Cod style home is a symbol of traditional American values, a reflection of days gone by and a tribute to the colonial roots of our nation.  Idyllic, cozy, functional and practical, the Cape Cod is truly an American icon.

Pioneered by practical, forward thinking colonists in 17th century New England, and perfected by architects such as Royal Barry Wills, the Cape Cod has withstood the test of time, remaining true to its roots as one of the first home styles unique to North America.  Wills took the traditional Cape design and built upon it, adding bathrooms for comfort and garages for convenience.  The affordability of his designs made the Cape Cod the home of choice for many young families of the 1940s and 50s.  The traditional comfort of the Cape stood in stark contrast to the early modernist movement that was occurring at the same time, and continues to remain an attractive option for new home builders from coast to coast. 

Early colonial Cape Cod houses were built with the intention of maximizing space while minimizing the effects of harsh New England winters.  Traditional homes usually contained one and a half stories, central fireplaces designed to service multiple rooms, low ceilings for heat conservation, steeply pitched roofs, and quaint entryways.  Cape Cod homes are symmetrical in design, typically featuring a centrally located front door with one or two shutter-flanked windows  on each side.  Front steps take the place of porches, and larger homes may feature dormer windows on the second story.  Detached garages, screened in side porches and additional side and rear facing windows can often be found in Cape Cod style homes constructed post World War II, when demand for affordable housing increased as soldiers returned home and settled their families. 

Cape Cod cottages tend to swing on the smaller side of the square footage pendulum, most often in the 1,000 to 2,000 square foot range.  However, the style optimizes every inch of floor space, with centrally located staircases leading to second story sleeping quarters for children and guests.  First floors typically feature quaint living quarters, kitchens and conservative master bedrooms- although these conventions continue to be tested as new home designs become available and owners remodel and redesign their existing properties.

Dallas is home to several neighborhoods that feature multiple properties in the Cape Cod style.  Although modest in square footage by North Texas standards many updated Cape homes are available.  Especially in the East Dallas neighborhoods of Lake Highlands and White Rock Lake- and North of the city in the Preston Hollow and M Streets areas.   Several options can also be found in the more established suburbs of Richardson, Addison, Garland and Plano.  Dallas’ Cape Cod properties offer attractive options at multiple price points for those wishing to be close to the city while enjoying the quiet comfort of a traditional home in an established neighborhood. 

The classic comfort, cozy curb appeal and timeless value of the Cape Cod secure its position as a style that will continue to breathe life into the American Dream well into the 21st century. 

Classic Cape Code Style