What is a Cape Cod Home?

Today, the Cape Cod architectural style is synonymous with waterfront property, windy beaches, and vacation getaways. Known for its distinct exterior features and cozy interior spaces, the Cape Cod home has become an American classic.

History of the Cade Cod Home

The original idea behind the Cape Cod home was to bring a bit of across-the-pond familiarity to the early English settlers in New England. The design of the home was conceptually similar to an English cottage, except with certain modifications to fit the harsher Northeast climate. These homes were built throughout the region during the 19th century, then experienced a surge in popularity in the early-to-mid twentieth century, due to a renewed interest in colonial-era architecture and their affordability in a post-World War II economy.

 

Image Source: Getty Images – Credit: OlegAlbinsky

What is a Cape Cod Home?

The Cape Cod style uses simple lines and shapes that recall the English cottages they’re inspired by. They are typically one or two stories, square or rectangle in shape, with steeply pitched roofs, shingled exteriors, window shutters, and a central chimney. The steepness of the roofs was designed to reduce snow buildup, thereby reducing the risk of a roof collapse from bearing too much weight. The characteristically low ceilings were meant to prevent heat from escaping, while the shutters served as a wind block against the cold New England breeze.

There are multiple styles of Cape Cod homes. The easiest way to tell the difference between styles is to count the number of windows on either side of the front door. If there are two windows on one side of the door, it is what is known as a “half cape.” A home with two windows on each side of the front door is known as a “full cape.”  Regardless of which sub-category a particular Cape Cod home falls under, they all share a flat front façade, which creates their square or rectangular shape. Over time, designers have updated the Cape Cod design to accommodate the needs of modern life, but their unmistakable aesthetic remains timeless.

 

Visit our Architectural Styles page to learn more about the history behind certain styles of home design, from A-Frame to Victorian. For more information on home design, remodeling, and decorating, visit the Design page on our blog.

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What is a Rambler?

The distinct “rambler” architectural style is known by several names—rambler, ranch house, California ranch. Whatever you call it, the rambler has played an important role in the evolution of the American home. From its spacious interior to its welcoming layout, the rambler is tailor made for a comfortable home life.

 

History of the Rambler

Originally conceived in the 1920s, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that the rambler became a staple of domestic American life as the suburban boom reached new heights. The intention behind the architecture was simple: design the perfect post-war American home. The term “rambler” was a reference to the way the single-story design sprawled—or rambled—across the landscape, opting for horizontal expanse rather than vertical. One can imagine how fitting a portrayal this was of the American West—a home that allowed for expansive views of the surrounding landscape on a level plain. The rambler style was one of the first architectural styles to incorporate an attached garage into the home design. Over time, the rambler style began to take on elements of modern design and eventually evolved into split-level homes, creating rambler variants such as “raised ranch style,” “suburban ranch style,” and “storybook rambler.”  Even with these developments, the rambler has always stayed true to the theme behind its inception: a home designed to accommodate the needs of the modern American family. To this day, rambler homes are found in great numbers across the country.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Characteristics of a Rambler

Ramblers are known for the flow of their interiors that allow for easy movement throughout the home’s horizontal spaces. The spacious layout, often times anchored by a central area, creates a feeling a continuity between rooms, a concept that was influenced by modern architecture. The wide layouts also resulted in large footprints, even though the majority of the homes in this style were constructed as one-story structures.

In another nod to modernist homes, ramblers often prioritized outdoor spaces for entertaining and gathering. This connection to the outdoors is reinforced by large windows and easy access to back patios to create a harmony between nature and the home itself. Similar to its distant relative, the Craftsman style home, it’s common for rambler to have low-pitched roofs and overhanging eaves.

For more information on home design, check out the Design Page on our blog.

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What Is a Craftsman Home?

The Craftsman home has a distinct look and definitive features, whose origins date back to nineteenth-century Britain. Their popularity can be attributed to the simple ideas behind their design and their focus on functional living.

 

Types of Craftsman Homes

Craftsman Bungalow

For many people, the type of Craftsman home that immediately comes to mind is the Craftsman Bungalow. Bungalows are of modest size, with a covered porch and tapered columns supporting a low-pitched roof. Often, you’ll see these homes with double gable roofs, where the front porch will extend beyond the house. Bungalows are typically one or one-and-a-half stories.

Four Square Craftsman

The Four Square Craftsman is a larger, two-story version of the Bungalow, meant for bigger families. Accordingly, their construction saw a significant increase as soldiers returned from World War I. Their name comes from their design of four rooms on the first and second floors, one in each corner.

Prairie Craftsman

The Prairie Craftsman style can be traced back to renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Known for their low profile and powerful horizontal lines, Prairie Craftsman homes typically have an open floor plan and harmonize with their surrounding landscape.

Mission Revival

Borrowing greatly from the style of the Prairie Craftsman, the Spanish influences of the Mission Revival make it a unique Craftsman home. Typical features include a stucco exterior, arches, and open interior spaces with terracotta detailing. If someone points out a house as a “Spanish Bungalow,” you’re looking at a Mission Revival Craftsman.

 

Characteristics of Craftsman homes

Exterior

Highly identifiable, Craftsman homes share many commonalities, but seemingly, no two are identical. A covered porch with tapered columns is the first indicator you’re looking at a Craftsman. The roofs are low-pitched with overhanging eaves, giving way to exposed rafters underneath. It’s common for the windows to be double-paned, while the front doors will typically contain their panes in the upper section.

Interior

Known for their open floor plans, ample seating, and plenty of built-in shelving, the inside of a Craftsman home is a comfortable place to be. Reflecting the hard-working nature of their style, you’ll find plenty of handcrafted woodwork, stonemasonry, and brickwork throughout the interior. Fireplaces are often the central feature of Craftsman living rooms.

 

Now that you know a bit more about the Craftsman home and how to identify it, look for examples of these characteristics in your neighborhood. Due to the widespread popularity of the Craftsman style, chances are you won’t have to look too far.

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