Home Designs: Architectural Styles in New England (Part 2 – Capes)

This short series of posts look at three classic New England home designs, each of which remains popular for new construction as well as remodeling projects.

Using these popular styles still leaves plenty of room to create a unique home, while blending beautifully with older structures in the region.

Cape Style Home Designs

The "Cape" home design draws its name, unsurprisingly, from Cape Cod. Capes were traditionally small houses with steep roofs (for shedding snow).

Often the use of dormers expanded the cramped space to add small bedrooms or storage above the first-floor living area. (For this reason you will often see Capes referred to as "1.5-story" homes.)

Wooden "clapboard" shingles are a popular outside wall protector for Capes old and new, giving a home an elegant vintage look. Window flower boxes, white picket fencing, and big front porch areas are common options for Cape-style houses as well.


A big central fireplace and chimney were often featured in true colonial-era Cape homes; today's versions more commonly move chimneys to anchor one end - or both ends - of the house. You can see how this architectural style originally developed to help deal with the practical challenges of the New England winter weather.