What type of architectural style catches your eye? Do you lean toward the sleek lines of Modern and Contemporary homes? Are you drawn to the details of a Craftsman home? Many people favor the Cape Cod and Modern Farmhouse, two styles that keep gaining popularity and are definitely worth a closer look.
The Cape Cod: Not just beachy
Although the name refers to the peninsula that juts off the east coast of Massachusetts, the Cape Cod house has made its way across the United States, and brings with it a long history.
The Cape Cod architectural style dates back about three centuries, to the early 1700s when settlers arrived from England and formed colonies. The cozy gabled cottages reflected the no-frills lifestyle of those early days. The charm of these homes experienced a boost in popularity in the post-World War II era, emerging like a symbol of the rebirth of Americana.
They’re easily recognizable by such details as the sharply pitched roof and shingle siding. Traditional Capes have left this clapboard siding unpainted, which allows for the classic weathered appearance over time, to a natural gray.
There’s a symmetry to a Cape Cod home style, too. The door is often centered and the windows are evenly and equally placed on either side. A single chimney rises from the center of the home, from the fireplace in the heart of the home that was used for heat. Dormers are a common architectural detail. This option creates a nook to the upstairs rooms (usually bedrooms), which have a slanted ceiling.
Inside, Cape style homes are often built as 1½ stories, due largely to the pitched roof that limits the upstairs space. The second story is usually bedrooms and shared bathrooms.
The first floor of the Cape house is centered around the front entry and staircase. The kitchen and dining room are on one side and the living room is on the other side of the stairway.
The contemporary revival of the Cape Cod architectural style accommodates the desires of today’s homeowners. The open concept, for example, can easily replace the closed rooms that are characteristic of earlier Cape homes. Reducing the steep pitch of the roof is another adaptation, which provides more space on the upper floor.
The Cape Cod’s cottage chic appeals to a wide range of homeowners, and also pairs very well with the architectural detail of the Modern Farmhouse.
Modern Farmhouse homes
There’s a comfortable familiarity that comes with the classic Farmhouse architectural style, like a trip back to simpler times. The front porch is the gathering place for families and friends, or just to relax while watching the activity passing by.
HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines, propelled the current passion for Modern Farmhouse interior decor, transforming rustic to chic, reviving a love for handmade treasures (or those that look like it). The underlying statement is simple comforts. The exterior features the all-important covered porch, along with board-and-batten and/or lap siding. Like the Cape Cod house, the Modern Farmhouse has a steeply pitched roof and can include dormers. Wood accents on the exterior enhance the curb appeal.
Inside the Modern Farmhouse, expect to see wood floors, with wide planks offering an homage to the original style. Wooden beams on the ceiling are a popular detail, too. The kitchen will include a center island, reflecting the workspace that was essential for the busy cook (and still is). The farmhouse sink, one that offers more space than conventional kitchen sinks, is another must-have for a Modern Farmhouse home.
The early farmers were limited to building and furnishing their homes with whatever they had on hand. The constraints sparked their ingenuity, and you’d often see light fixtures made from farm tools and furniture crafted from reclaimed wood. Today’s sliding barn doors are a popular interior detail. From the type and style of barn door to the hardware it slides across, there are so many ways to achieve the appeal of a barn door without compromising your design style.
Both the Cape Cod and the Modern Farmhouse offer the charm of cozy comforts. With their complementary styles, you can combine your favorite details from each home to create the hybrid design you’ve been looking for. If you’re in the Houston or DFW metro area, reach out to us at HistoryMaker Homes to see how we’re crafting homes in this style (and more).
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