Cape Cod style houses are generally cottage-style structures that stemmed from Cape Cod, New England in the 1600s.
Traditional Cape Cod houses are characterized by many different features: low yet large frame building, steep pitched roofs with end gables, and a broad chimney- all with very little ornamental architecture. They are generally about one and a half stories. They were designed to withstand stormy winds and the stark weather of Massachusettss coastlines. The modern architecture of this style still draws from colonial characteristics.
Cape Cod cottages evolved from a simple English house with a hall and parlor to a more adapted version using materials found in the colonies that would best protect the structure from stormy weather. Over more generations it slowly emerged into the Cape Cod architecture we see today with wooden shutters and shingle/clapboard exteriors.
Paired with the frigid weather of the Eastern coastline, pilgrims also had to protect themselves from some extreme colds. This is why we see central chimneys and rooms with low ceilings, in order to create and conserve heat. Many Cape Cod homes face the south, allowing the sunlight to come in and allow additional heat as early as possible. The steep roofs helped prevent the accumulation of snow on the house. Shutters were used to help with winds, and are still used aesthetically in modern architecture, but many are not functional or even useful.