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 Barndominium?

What is a Barndominium?

A barndominium is a combination of a barn and condominium and is typically custom built from metal pole barns or other similar structures. Due to the metal structuring, barndominiums require less maintenance than a traditional home. They are also less susceptible to deterioration and damage. The popularity of barndominiums has taken off in recent years due to their multi-functionality as a home, a workspace, a shop, etc. Designs can range from one-story steel structures to contemporary barn homes. Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”, aired an episode about barndominiums in which they converted a barn with horse stalls and hay storage into a stunning five-bedroom, two-bath home.

Customizable

When designing a barndominium, the floor plan is very flexible. Due to their uncommon framing and design, you have carte blanche to decide which layout is ultimately best for you. Choose to have an open floor plan with designated spaces for each room, or put-up dividing walls that provide more separation. Some barndominium models include energy-efficient windows, engineered concrete slabs, spray foam insulation, plumbing, high ceilings, and much more. There are several companies that offer custom barn home kits which include both the plans and building materials.

Affordable

Inevitably, the cost of building your barndominium will increase depending on the materials and the complexity of its design. However, most barndominiums are relatively affordable to build. According to metalbuildinghomes.org, many large high-end builds begin at $250,000. Other builders will generally charge around $85 per square foot for a complete build-out. On the other hand, a basic barndominium shell with a living quarters can fetch prices as low as $20 per square foot. A basic shell would include the bones of the structure: the slab, building, plumbing, metal or wood, electrical stub outs, vents, sinks, showers, and washrooms. Due to the simplicity of construction, a barndominium can be finished in a matter of weeks. The initial purchase price and the cost of maintenance are considerably lower than a traditional single-family home. Saving money on the necessities allows you to dedicate more funds toward personalizing the space.

Multi-Purpose

Barn Pros in Monroe, Washington explains the different uses of their customizable barns. As they explain, the uses their clients have found for their barndominiums run the gamut from primary homes to yoga studios, to barns for growing plants, as animal sanctuaries, educational facilities, and wedding venues. According to Barn Pros, roughly 40 percent of clients use them for agricultural purposes. The owners of these structures say that there is something appealing about a design that can be used as a standalone home yet has the flexibility to house something more intricate like a winery or a brewery.

Check out these resources to get inspiration from some popular barndominium floor plans:

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