Republic Home Builders offer Custom Cape Cod style homes plans to be built on Lake Anna in Spotsylvania. Louisa and Orange County Virginia. Cape Cod style homes began modestly in the 17th century with a revival in the 20th century. Originally designed to withstand the harsh weather of New England, the classic Cape Cod home has spread across the United States and is now one of the most recognizable home styles. With its practical and symmetrical design and spacious interior, there’s a lot to love in a Cape Cod. Not sure if a Cape Cod is the right style for your Lake Anna home? Here’s what you should know about the Cape Cod home and why it’s such a popular choice in Spotsylvania and Louisa, Virginia.
Key Features of a Cape Cod
The Cape Cod has a distinctive style that’s easy to recognize and appreciate. The following are the main features of a Cape Cod style home:
- 1 or 1-1/2 stories
- Symmetrical and simple design with the front entry in the center
- Steep roof and side gables with little overhang. This roofline is designed to be practical to shed water and snow quickly.
- Central chimney in an original Cape Cod or chimney on the side with Revival Cape Cod homes
- Double-hung, multi-paned windows
- Decorative Shutters
- Clapboard or shake siding. Cape Cod homes traditionally have clapboard siding which was designed to protect the home in the winter, although these shingles are still a popular low maintenance alternative to siding.
- Gabled dormers. Most Cape Cods have two dormers to maintain symmetry. This is not an original feature of the Cape Cod but it became common after the 1920s.
- Little ornamentation aside from pilasters on either side of the front door.
- Living space on the main floor. A true Cape Cod home has the living room, dining room, and kitchen on the main floor with a master bedroom on the first floor and additional bedrooms on the second floor.
History of Cape Cod Homes
The Cape Cod home originated in colonial New England when early English settlers adapted the thatched cottages of Britain to withstand their new harsh environment. The original Cape Cod had very little ornamentation on the outside with a design made for the cold, stormy weather of the New England coastline. The steep roofline allowed the Cape Cod home to shed snow and rain while the cedar shingles took advantage of the abundant timber in the area. The original Cape Cod also had a central chimney to keep the home warm, shutters to protect windows during storms, and multi-pane windows that withstood high winds better than large panes of glass.
Originally, Cape Cod homes were really half or three-quarter Capes with an interior designed around the kitchen. As funds allowed, the home could be made larger with additions to create a three-quarter or full Cape.
By the early 20th century, the Cape Cod style had begun to spread across the United States. It gained much of its favor during the Great Depression of the 1930s as it allowed for affordable starter homes that couples could upgrade and make larger over time.
Cape Cod homes continued to grow in popularity after World War II when soldiers returning from war needed affordable housing. The affordable homes were mass produced in suburbs across the country with an average square footage of 1,000 square feet.
Types of Cape Cods
The quintessential Cape Cod home has been adapted in many ways over the years. What was once a small, humble home can now be quite large and complex. Most variations of the Cape refer to its size.
Original Cape Cod
Original Cape Cods were usually half or three-quarter Capes with an interior designed around a hearth and kitchen. Originals date from 1690 to 1850 and have a small footprint with very minimal exterior decoration. One of the hallmarks of the original Cape Cod design is a central chimney. Revival Cape Cods, by comparison, have a chimney to one side of the roof.
Colonial Revival Cape Cod
Revival Cape Cods gained in popularity starting in the 1920s and they are still popular today. Cape Cods built during the Colonial Revival of the 1930s feature a larger footprint and different framing methods, details, and floor plans.
A half Cape home has two bays with a door on one side and two windows on the side of the door. The original half Cape or single Cape homes were starter homes and evolved into three-quarter and full Cape homes with additions.
Three-quarter Capes are rarely copied in Revival Cape Cod homes but they were common during the 18th and early 19th centuries in New England. A three-quarter Cape has an entry that is offset from the chimney with two windows on one side of the entry and a single window on the other side of the door.
A full Cape is considered the quintessential Cape Cod home but this style was rare in the 1700s. Cape Cod homes began as small single or half Capes and grew in size as the homeowners could afford additions which meant only wealthy settlers could afford a full Cape. Also known as a Double Cape, this style of home has a steep pitched roof with a five-bay facade, a large entrance, and a massive central chimney. Most Revival Cape Cod homes and modern Capes are large full Capes.
Most Cape Cods in the Lake Anna area and elsewhere in Louisa and Spotsylvania are full Capes. This adaptable home style can be further updated or expanded with additional wings on the sides or rear and screened-in porches.