If you envision a classic American cottage, the Cape Cod house typically comes to mind. The charming homes are closely tied into our American vision of home—and for good reason. Cape Cods are a manageable size, efficient to heat, and perfect for adding additions. Their popularity hasn’t changed since their origins in the 17th century, where they were born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Cape Cod-style homes were built throughout New England into the mid-1800s, when Victorian houses eclipsed them in popularity. No matter the size, the classic Cape Cod cottage had a central front door with two windows on each side of it. Inside, the homes often had a large central chimney that linked to several rooms in the house. The ceilings of the single-story homes were low, which kept things cozy and also helped to keep living quarters warm. The loft space under the roof often wasn’t converted into a livable space until this style of home regained popularity in the early 20th century, so the dormer windows often associated with Cape Cods actually weren’t common in the original homes.
The newer Cape Cod homes were larger; the second story was typically larger, with additional bedrooms and dormer windows projecting out of the roof. There was often more ornamentation on the exterior, like more ornate molding with trim around the front door, windows, and along the eaves under the roof. These additions help give the otherwise simple homes their irresistible charm.