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Should Change Our
to Back Bay Shades. ;
EVERYONE KNOWS US FOR OUR INSANELY FANATICAL OBSESSION WITH SHUTTERS,
BUT DID YOU KNOW WE CARRY A TORCH FOR SHADES, TOO?
BACK BAY SHUTTER CO. INC.
TOTALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT SHUTTERS®
fences and stately elms, but such things spell
home to most of us.”
For the early Cape builders, “home”
meant an often surprisingly modest building.
Capes are often ranked as half, three-quar-
ters, and full, depicting a house that could
be expanded from a small building with a
door and a pair of windows to its side, to one
with an extra window flanking the door, to a
larger symmetric home with the door in the
middle. But Claire Dempsey, associate profes-
sor of American and New England studies at
Boston University, points out that early descrip-
tions were subtly but tellingly different: house,
house and a half, double. “To me, that means
that the old-timers were happy to call that
smallest building a proper home,” she says.
Growing a Cape from a single to a double along its length is one thing. At some
“Capes are masters of
brevity, and their highly
organized front facades
are resistant to change.
The trick is how to add
to the mass without
sacrificing the tautness
— architect frank shirley
point, though, this compact building form
can’t take any more stretching, and additions
have to be articulated in one way or another.
As Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect Frank
Shirley points out: “Capes are masters of brevity, and their highly organized front facades are
resistant to change. The trick is how to add
to the mass without sacrificing that tautness
of design.” They grow most gracefully with
rear ells, though some houses work well with
smaller side additions set back from the signature front face.
When Wills started designing his revival
versions in the 1930s, he imitated not only the
massing and details of the originals but also the
size. According to architect Stanley Schuler,
author of The Cape Cod House, 250 years ago,
the average Cape was about 1,600 square feet;
Wills’s early Capes were about the same. But