Making a Cape Cod your “Your Dream Home”

I love driving around Staten Island’s North Shore during this time of year. The streets are adorned with Halloween decorations and beautiful fall foliage. The parks are full of activity and fall harvest events are well underway. Autumn also reminds me of our nation’s heritage; from the celebration of Columbus Day to the remembrance of the Pilgrims and their stories of hardship and thanksgiving.

Our nation’s first European settlers brought many things with them that have become an integral part of our American culture, including this month’s featured type of home: the Cape Cod. Read on to find out why the Cape Cod is the classic American style home and for some tips on how to bring out their maximum potential.

Simple and Efficient

Cape Cod style homes originated in New England during the 17th Century, and were built to withstand the stormy and extreme weather that was characteristic of the Massachusetts coast. Shutters were used to endure stormy winds and the steeply pitched roofs prevented the build-up of snow and ice. These homes were designed and built with efficiency in mind.

Cape Cod homes have low, broad frames and are generally one story and a half high. Their original design consists of a steeply pitched roof with end gables, a large central chimney, and very little exterior ornamentation. The front door is usually located in the center of the home and is surrounded by two multi-paned windows on each side (although some variations feature the door on one side).

100_1834The interior of the Cape Cod home includes a central staircase that leads to two bedrooms, and the lower floor consists of a kitchen area, dining room, living room or parlor, bathroom, and master bedroom. Popular interior features include wainscoting, crown molding and beautiful hardwood floors. Painted trim and cabinets can also be found throughout the home. In original Capes, fireplaces were present in every room and connected to the central chimney.

There are many variations to the original Cape Cod home, including the Colonial Revival Cape Cod, which became popular in the 1930’s and is the most common variation on Staten Island’s North Shore. Although very similar to the original, there are a few key differences, including a finished second floor, large dormers, a chimney placed at one end of the house, single-paned, double-hung or casement windows, decorative shutters, and additional rooms attached on the side or the rear of the home.

A Lot in a Little

I have experienced that when people are looking to buy a home on Staten Island, for some reason, the Cape Cod style home does not fall at the top of their list. In terms of homes, ranch style homes, Victorian era homes and Tudors all seem to be much more appealing to buyers, who might be looking for more space, design features, or practicality within the layout.

However, this type of home has many appealing qualities. There is a lot of potential in a Cape Cod, giving home owners a world of options as to how to “get a lot out of a little.”  I have compiled a few tips that home owners can use to make their Cape Cod their “home, sweet home.”

  • Add Some Curb Appeal: Cheer up the façade of your home by adding shutters and window boxes, which are easy and inexpensive upgrades. The simple exterior design of the Cape Cod also allows other design features such as pedestrian paths and landscaping elements to become a focal point. All of these will bring a personal touch as well as curb appeal to your home.
  • Highlight Sidelights, Pilasters and/or the Front Door: Dress up the entryway of your Cape Cod by adding elements such as sidelights or pilasters, or by painting the front door a drastic color.
  • Cedar Shingles and Clapboard: A feature of the original Cape Cod, these are ideal choices in siding. They not only withstand harsh climates but add texture, class and style to the exterior of the home.
  • Dormers: Adding dormers to the second floor can increase space, light and ventilation. The new layout could accommodate more bedrooms and can easily incorporate a second bathroom into the home.
  • Addition: Expand your living space by adding a room on the side or the rear of the home. This could potentially double the space of the home and will add dramatic features to its otherwise modest and symmetrical design.
  • Wide Front Porch: Either screened in or open, a front porch is also a nice feature that will help your small home live larger by increasing living space and/or expanding your living space to the outdoors.

100_3479Whether you are looking to buy a home on Staten Island, are looking to sell your Cape Cod, or just want to apply some simple upgrades to your current home, the tips above are perfect ways to get the most out of your Cape Cod.

And let’s not forget another appealing factor: price. Cape Cod style homes are a popular, affordable style home, and remain popular due to their compact and inexpensive design. For the budget-conscious first time home-buyer, they are the perfect choice, and can be the perfect starter-home.

No matter what type of home appeals to you, I can help put you in exactly what you’re looking for. Contact me on Facebook or Twitter, also check out my website  for more information on what’s popular on Staten Island’s North Shore.

There are two kinds of Real Estate professionals…those who understand the emotional and financial complexity of selling or buying a home…and those who don’t.  I would love to meet up with you soon!

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