Designing Garage Doors for Cape Cod Style Homes

June 28, 2024

Cape Cod homes are typically one or one-and-a-half stories with steep gable roofs and symmetrical facades. Often featuring a central chimney, which was practical for heating purposes in the original designs, these homes have a natural symmetry that makes them stand out from other styles of the period. These homes are usually constructed with wood siding, often painted white or clad in shingles, making them ideal for wood garage doors and matching wood entry doors. They have minimal exterior ornamentation, emphasizing simplicity and practicality, which will also make your custom garage doors stand out even more. 

Looking to design a garage door for a Cape Cod style home? See some of the design elements you should be incorporating into your design. 

The History of Cape Cod Style Homes

Cape Cod style homes originated in the early 17th century in New England, specifically in the coastal regions of Massachusetts. These homes were inspired by the half-timbered houses in England and were designed to withstand the harsh coastal weather. The term “Cape Cod” was coined in the early 19th century, and the design saw a resurgence in popularity during the colonial revival period in the early 20th century, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s. 

The Major Design Features of Cape Cod Style Homes

Cape Cod style homes are largely known for their: 

  • Symmetry and Simplicity: they have a symmetrical design, with evenly spaced windows and a centered front door. The simple rectangular shape and steeply pitched roof are hallmarks of the style, contributing to its clean, uncluttered appearance. 
  • Materials and Colors: traditional Cape Cod homes use natural materials like wood shingles or clapboard siding. The color palette is typically neutral, with white, gray, or natural wood tones dominating. These colors were chosen to blend with the coastal environment and weather the elements gracefully. 
  • Windows and Dormers: windows are usually double hung with shutters and are symmetrically arranged around the front door. Dormers are a common feature in Cape Cod homes, adding light and space to the upper floor while maintaining the aesthetic balance. 
  • Roof and Chimney: steep roofs, often with a central chimney, are very common on Cape Cod style homes. This design was originally intended to help shed snow and provide a central heat source. 

How to Design a Custom Garage Door for a Cape Cod Style Home

When creating your design, choose these types of features to echo the look of traditional Cape Cod architecture: 

  • Panel Styles: the garage door should reflect the home’s traditional and symmetrical design. Classic panel styles like recessed or raised panels can add depth and interest without overwhelming the simplicity of the design. Vertical plank panels are also a good choice, as they mimic the look of traditional wooden doors. 
  • Window Types and Placement: symmetrical, multi-pane windows are ideal, reflecting the style of the home’s existing windows. Placement should be consistent with the home’s overall symmetry, often in the upper third of the door. 
  • Hardware and Accents: adding period-appropriate hardware can enhance the authenticity of the garage door. Wrought iron handles, hinges, and latches can provide a rustic charm. However, these should be used sparingly to maintain the clean lines typical of Cape Cod homes. 
  • Design Features: consider adding subtle design features that mimic the architectural design of the home. You can add crossbuck designs to traditional carriage style garage doors or incorporate decorative trim that matches the home’s window casings or door frames. 

The Right Color and Finish Options for Garage Doors on Cape Cod Style Homes

When thinking of garage door colors, stick to the classic Cape Cod palette. White is a timeless choice that complements the siding and trim of most Cape Cod homes. Other options include soft grays and muted blues, which can look great in coastal environments. 

If the home features natural wood siding or shingles, a garage door with a natural wood finish can blend seamlessly. Stains in cedar, oak, or pine tones can highlight the natural beauty of the wood while providing a durable and weather-resistant finish. 

For a more customized look, consider paints and stains that match or complement the existing exterior colors. Weather-resistant paints and stains are essential to ensure longevity and maintain the look of the door. 


Looking to Design a Custom Wood Garage Door for a Cape Cod Style Home? We Can Help! Get in Touch with us Today for a Free Design Consultation.

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