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This is an 18th century, Mid-Atlantic version of the Cape Cod style home in Colonial Williamsburg. The simple rectangular shape of the main level and steeply pitched roof gable that starts at the first floor ceiling line are features of the style. So are the three doghouse dormers that add ceiling height and light to the second-floor rooms.
Unlike the New England version with its central fireplace and chimney, this Cape has the fireplace and chimney placed at the side, a true response to the milder Tidewater climate.
In New England, Cape Cod houses were often built quite small, just two or three rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. These houses would then be expanded to the sides and back with small and large additions to accommodate the owner's needs. Growing over time in this way infused these houses with a sense of history, with walls and roofs and floors telling the story of their inhabitants.
Here, the back of the same house reveals the explosion of additions and changes this house has undergone. It's as if the house grew organically over time to accommodate some pressing need of its inhabitants. Maybe a new screened porch to enjoy the summer weather. Maybe a new kitchen and family room wing to accommodate a contemporary lifestyle. And a shed dormer to create more bedrooms upstairs.
All proof that a Cape Cod style house is flexible, with the ability to accept and accommodate changes over time.
In response to the hot and humid climate, the variation of the Cape Cod style for the Southeastern part of the country includes a large porch to shade the interiors from the sun, and large windows to capture cooling breezes.
This variation also includes lifting the house a few feet above the ground to avoid the often wet surroundings while providing an opportunity for a grander entrance. And often the chimneys were placed at the sides of the house to keep heat out of the interior.
A Cape Cod in the Upper Midwest shares the form and details of its Colonial-era heritage but is often built of Chicago common brick, an inexpensive and mass-produced building material of the early- to mid-20th century.
A Bay Area Cape Cod house with doghouse dormers and side wings has much in common with the Capes of New England. Whether built all at once or not, the Cape appears to have grown organically over time to suit each owner's needs.
This home in the Pacific Northwest is a contemporary update of the Cape Cod style. All the characteristics of the Cape Cod house are here while the material palette, such as the metal roof, has been updated. It's proof that the Cape can be adapted to today's technology and building techniques.
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