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What Makes It Cape Cod
Element: Cedar shake shingles for the roof and siding. These unpainted shingles turn from a warm tan to a gray color over time. Clapboard siding is also common on Cape Cod cottages.
How to make it your own: Cedar shake shingles require less maintenance than painted siding, making them an ideal choice in harsh climates, such as that of the New England coast.
Element: A steeply pitched roof with side gables. This is one of the most consistent characteristics of this style.
How to make it your own: Originally designed to prevent the buildup of snow and ice, these steeply pitched roofs are very practical in cold climates, regardless of the style of home.
Element: Double dormers. They punctuate the steep rooflines of many Cape Cod homes. The most common type of dormer used is a gabled one, which features a simple pitched roof with two sloping sides.
How to make it your own: In addition to boosting curb appeal, dormers create additional floor space in the area tucked under the roofs, helping convert once unused attics into livable space.
Element: Pilasters. They surround the front door and are the decorative highlight of simple Cape Cod cottages. This white-painted pilaster and lintel combination is most common.
How to make it your own: Painting heavy trim surrounding entries white is one way to get a similar effect without calling in a carpenter. Another simple way to highlight the entry is to paint the door itself a bright color.
Element: Sidelights. Flanking the front door, they dress up the entry slightly more than the pilaster-lintel combo. Sidelights can be found on either side of paneled or French doors.
How to make it your own: For the same effect without reconfiguring your entry space, try swapping out a solid door for one with windows.
Element: Shutters and window boxes. The overall simplicity of the structures makes them ripe for exterior enhancements like operable shutters and window boxes.
How to make it your own: Shutters and window boxes cheer up the facade of any home, regardless of its style. Both are simple improvements to curb appeal.
Element: A wide front porch. Colonial versions of the style did not have front porches, due to climate and construction concerns, but they are common in revival incarnations of the look.
How to make it your own: Porches are a great way to help smaller homes live larger by extending the living space outdoors.
Element: Rear and side additions. When adding on to a Cape Cod home, architects and builders tend to try to maintain the modest facade of the original structure and make more drastic changes or enlargements to the back or sides.
How to make it your own: Preserving the integrity of original architecture is a good practice, regardless of the style.
What do you think of Cape Cod houses? Are you ready to import the New England style to your hometown, or is it better left for history books?
A Coastal Cottage on Cape Cod