When Mark and I were house hunting, I was fixated on buying a Cape. The symmetry, clean lines, and inherent humbleness of these houses — whose low rooflines remind me of someone peeking out coyly from a wide-brimmed hat — are so appealing to me. And the style is, of course, quintessentially New England. At least I thought “Cape” was a style until a few months ago, when I learned from the folks at Maine Preservation that these houses are actually a cottage form dating back to the 1600s. They became popular because they were practical and easy to construct. The oldest examples — a couple of which you’ll see below — are very simple with gabled roofs, few windows (glass was expensive), and one large central chimney. Fun fact: If you see a Cape with two chimneys, it was likely built after 1800.
Alas, we did not end up purchasing a Cape — but you can! Here are a few of my favorites currently on the market.
Setting: 1750 farm. 3,450 sq. ft., 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, fireplaces, sunroom, barn. 19.6 acres.
Asking Price: $925,000
Photos courtesy of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
Setting: 1790 home. 2,680 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, woodstove. .39 acre.
Asking Price: $885,000
Photos courtesy of RE/MAX By the Bay
Setting: 1870 cottage on the Piscataqua River. 1,249 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, guest cottage, pier with dock, patio, fire pit. .18 acre.
Asking Price: $564,900
Photos courtesy of Bean Group
Setting: 1972 cottage. 1,037 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, fireplace. .2 acre.
Asking Price: $429,000
Photos courtesy of First Maine Real Estate
Setting: 1960 cottage. 1,015 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, deck. 9.5 acres.
Asking Price: $289,000
Photos courtesy of Vitalius Real Estate Group