Wednesday, March 24, 2010


 Image Courtesy Southern Living

Ok, well let’s start with my inspiration for Cape Cod Designs ...and...why ‘Cape Cod Designs Pty Ltd’ in sunny Brisbane, Australia?

Firstly..... big lesson I have learnt in my business life... your business name should sort of state what you do - give a hint of your business nature, focus, mission. The number of times I was asked (in my pink days with Armchair Trader) “do you sell armchairs?" I didn’t at first but then I sort of had to!

My inspirations? I love many architectural elements found in the early New England/Cape Cod style homes - steep roof with gables, timber covered in board or shingles, chimney, central hall and parlour, symmetrical in appearance, multi-paned, double hung windows (be still heart), shutters, timber floors.

A typical Queenslander Courtesy Flickr

I live in a city where our traditional homes were essentially timber. Pre war, our timber homes were built to suit our hot humid climate, to allow maximum air flow and minimize flood risk. They were built on timber stumps, had eaves, a central hall or breezeway, verandahs/porches around the whole house for living and sleeping (e.g., the characteristic sleepout). They had decorative gables and fretwork inside and out.

Over the years I have been mentally consolidating home designs that combine all the elements of what I love in both the Traditional Queenslander Home and the Cape Cod/New England Style Home.

Originally Cape Cod style homes were built by the English settlers in New England, America, in the late 17th century. They were modelled on the timbered houses of England and adapted to survive the stormy New England weather. Later in the late 1800’s, more ornate features were added, such as side porches, dormer windows, symmetrical front facades, accented doorways with overhead fanlights and evenly spaced windows either side (usually hung in adjacent pairs or in triple combinations (love these) rather than as single windows).

It’s these early New England/Cape Cod style architectural elements that I wish to combine with the traditional timber Queenslander home features -  panelled entrance doors with side lights, moulded frames, gable panels, ornate architraving and skirting, wall panelling, timber batons, porches, tin roofs... when designing a home. Some Queenslander architectural features I am not so fussed on?..... ornate hallway and ceiling arches, window hoods, the done to death 5 light casement windows, ornate finials, overly ornate turnery/balustrades, external cross braced exposed framing..... so I wish to take what I love from both the New England style home and the Queensland Colonial and create a ‘sympathetic merger’ of the two!

Image Courtesy Verandah

Interior wise, I am drawn to neutrals and whites, maybe a touch of blue or a sliver of gold.....lots of space, simple floor plans with a mix of separate cosy living areas and also open plan living areas, bedrooms upstairs, living downstairs, a mixture of textures with casual coastal accents. Throw in a little bit of rustic ‘French country’, a beautiful chandelier here and there, pewter, silver, white cabinetry, timber floors, natural fibre rugs, a light, bright timber staircase, and a bit of stone and that pretty much sums up my 'look' in a nutshell.

I am going to take you on a little tour soon, of my inner city neighbourhood, to show you some of the Queensland Style homes (around where I live and where I wish to build more homes) from the Colonial Victorians, Federation Style, Inter-War period and then the Post War styles (that’s where they lost me with Queensland residential architecture. I’m trapped between 1850 – 1918 with what I love about colonial architecture here in Queensland and then drawn to the New England style from the late 1800’s in the US).

I am also considering a Wednesday post titled, ‘WWYDW', i.e., 'What Would You Do Wednesday’? ... where I will post a picture of a house in my local area and you can comment on what would be the one thing you would change to improve the external aesthetic, street appeal of the home. I do this mentally every day on my morning walks so why not share our ideas!

Goodness, I have waffled. So that’s the design aesthetic of Cape Cod Designs. Haven’t started on the the shop side of things yet.... that's  another post entirely! Must let you get on with your day! Have a great one.

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