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FAQ

How much do Cape Cod style houses cost per square foot (approximately)?

Reef Builders, a builder of Cape Cods on Cape Cod, offers the following rules of thumb for building costs:

  • A basic site-built Cape Cod with simple design and basic finishes will cost $275-325 per square foot of finished space.
  • Detailed mill work will run up the price to $325 to $400 per square foot.
  • Luxury homes start at $400 per square foot.
  • Restorations run between $200 and $1000 per square foot depending on the complexity of the job.

There are substantial regional differences in the costs of building a Cape Cod style home. Design, engineering, and permitting costs for building near wetlands, flood zones, and environmentally sensitive areas are substantial. Changes in energy standards can add insulation costs. On the other hand, a walkout basement or a bonus room may reduce your cost per square foot.

Are there Cape Cod style floor plans with a detached garage?  Is it possible?

Any Cape Cod can be built with a detached garage.  There are detailed plans for building garages in Cape Cod style.

Does a  Cape Cod style house usually come with a garage?  

Cape Cod style houses usually have a detached garage. A livery for the horses was never attached to the house in colonial Cape Cod, so house plans with an attached garage are not purely traditional.

Is the Cape Cod style considered a grand or luxury style of home?  Is the style used for mansions or normally regular-sized homes?

Luxury finishes in a Cape Cod focus on the beauty of the millwork, the quality of the appliances, and the coziness of the basement. A luxurious Cape Cod home is extraordinarily comfortable. There are mansions built in the Cape Cod style, as one might imagine, on Cape Cod. A 9.6-acre estate with frontage on Buzzards Bay and Great Harbor was offered by the estate of Wall Street financier Jim Clark in 2019 for $25 million.

Is Cape Cod style ever built as a “small” home?  Can it be built economically?

The traditional design for a Cape Cod home called for a central fireplace and only as much space as could be heated by one fireplace in the depths of winter. Innovations in heating technology made larger Cape Cod style homes possible. There are houses in the Cape Cod style as small as 350 square feet on Cape Cod. Whether or not a Cape Cod this small can be built economically depends on factors including cost of the lot, any design or engineering fees required to get a permit, local energy standards, and cost of connection to water, sewage, and power. And because building a Cape Cod requires skilled building professionals, it may not be easy to entice a contractor to do a small Cape Cod.

Tiny house makers usually cannot incorporate the gables and slanted roofs that give a house a Cape Cod look.

Can Cape Cod style floor plans be open concept?

A Cape Cod is a natural for an open floor plan. A tall foyer will make the living area seem even more spacious. The space under the gables can be converted to two small children’s bedrooms or office space even with an open floor plan.

What are popular Cape Cod style exterior colors?

A Cape Cod is not a home you are likely to see painted shocking pink or psychedelic purple. This style is associated with alabaster, light blue, or gray siding, or brown shingles. Cape Cod homes are not given stone or brick facades.

Can you build a Cape Cod style house on a narrow lot?  

It is possible to build a Cape Cod on a narrow lot but this requires building up instead of building out. A Cape Cod on a narrow lot will need a finished basement and/or finished second floor, not just additional bedroom space under the gables. There are commercially available building plans for Cape Cods up to three stories tall that retain the proportionality of the traditional steep-pitched roofs and entrance in the center of the front facade.

Can this style be built on a wide lot?

A Cape Cod is a natural fit for a wide lot. Modern Cape Cods have amenities unimagined in colonial times, such as private bedrooms and bathrooms, which take advantage of the additional space possible by giving the house “wings.”

Can Cape Cod style homes be built on a sloping lot?

The most common solution for the challenges posed by building a Cape Cod on a sloping lot is creating a basement with windows and a door or doors to the outside. It may not be possible to place the entrance in the middle of the house, but it may be easier to build an attached garage discreetly behind the house. On a lot sloping away from the street, it is possible to preserve the curb appeal of a Cape Cod with a basement garage tucked under the house at basement level.

How many floors/stories does Cape Cod style usually have?

Cape Cods were traditionally a single story with extra space under the roof line. But two-, three-, and even four-story Cape Cods can be built for special situations.

Do Cape Cod style houses have a basement?

Basements are both possible and desirable with a Cape Cod style house, especially when minimal excavation is required.

Does this style of house ever come with a bonus room?

On wider lots, most homeowners will opt for a bonus room in their Cape Cod design. The additional space can be architecturally harmonious — and add substantially to resale value.

Do Cape Cod style floor plans come with energy-efficient options?

Many Cape Cod floor plans come with energy-efficient options.

Is a porch a common design feature with Cape Cod style houses?

Porches are not a common design feature with Cape Cod style houses, although they make work as wrap-arounds when a Cape Cod has to be built on a sloping lot.

What types of roof does a Cape Cod style house typically have?

Cape Cod houses were traditionally roofed with cedar shingles. Wood shingles will add to the resale value of your Cape Cod, but they must be fireproofed, and they are expensive to install, maintain, and replace. Wood shingles last about 25 years.

Slate has an expected lifespan of 100 years. It is even better for the resale value of your house. But it has to be installed and maintained by a specialist.

Metals such as aluminum, copper, steel, tin, and zinc are fireproof, hail resistant, lightweight, excellent at shedding snow, and reflective of the sun’s rays during the summer. But they may be noisy during rainstorms.

Asphalt and rubber are not recommended.

Does a Cape Cod style work well with a rustic interior decor?  Or is it more suited to a contemporary interior?

Almost any interior design scheme will work with a Cape Cod home, although some will be more compatible than others. A “full cape” design with a front door flanked by two windows on either side will have enough natural light to support a variety of interior design choices. A “quarter cape” with just one exterior window on the front of the house will limit choices in rustic interiors.