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Capes: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Build (Updating Classic America) Hardcover – March 17, 2003

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Capes: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Build (Updating Classic America) + The Evolution of the Cape Cod House: An Architectural History
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Within the architectural syntax of the American homestead, the Cape Cod house stands as one of our most durable and prolific symbols, writes Gitlin, an architect and a Cape-owner herself. With its "simple one-and-a-half story form" and its steeply pitched roof, often capped with a few dormers, the Cape has long been accepted as a fundamental unit of middle-class comfort and modesty, especially since its proliferation in the decades following World War II. This volume, the latest in the Updating Classic America series, illustrates the many ways in which the basic Cape form has been modified and embellished over the years. "Like a dish of vanilla ice cream," Gitlin writes, "a Cape gracefully accepts just about any flavor you might want to add." In a series of nuts and bolts profiles of successful renovations, Gitlin walks the reader through hidden gardens and storage rooms, along swooping rooflines and angular hallways, always with a competent, conversational tone. Authoritative without being coercive, helpful without nagging, this is a graceful, enlightening handbook for the home redecorator.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Jane Gitlin's wisdom and many nifty photos make up the latest book in Taunton Press' series on traditional American housing."
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Product Details

  • Series: Updating Classic America
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; First Edition edition (March 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561584363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561584369
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By New Flash Student on February 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book with the hope of finding a few capes similar in layout to mine, and with ideas on how people have renovated certain rooms or how they may use them differently than me. This book, while very nice, pretty much made me depressed - almost all of the renovations were too large scale for what I was looking to do and seems to focus more on dramatic upgrades such as whole additions, entire floor plan changes, and overall high-budget changes. If you are seeking design ideas for larger-scale cape upgrades, then this book would no doubt be a great resource, but if you are seeking smaller scale ideas for how others have redesigned certain cape-sized rooms, you may want to look elsewhere.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. nishball on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I showed this book to a contractor friend who immediately went out and bought one for his own use. Lots of new ideas, with great illustrations and photos to refer to when discussing options for one's own project. Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ellen on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If the number of reviews seems scant, it's probably because readers of this book are inspired to head for their drawing boards or take sledgehammer to wall, rather than compose a book review. Who has time to write a paragraph or two for Amazon when there are contractors to call and design decisions to make? This book will motivate you Cape owners out there to finally make the updates that you've been thinking about since you moved in -- whether it's just replacing rusty bathroom cabinets or adding that extra bedroom so your two boys don't have to share a room anymore.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mike Barlow on August 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jane Gitlin's book is a pleasure to read -- again and again. My wife and I own a classic Cape. We've spent the past 10 years renovating it, bit by bit. Now we're contemplating a major exterior remodeling project and Jane's book is a treasure trove of excellent ideas. The text and photos offer many creative alternatives to the standard, time-worn designs suggested by many architects and contractors. The book truly renewed our sense of pride in owning a classic Cape. Bravo!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By hcabats on November 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband and i just recently purchase a Cape house and were use to living in less traditional houses....This book gives us so many inspirations on how to make our new house more us! We took it out of the library before we moved in and.....haven't returned it yet! I think it's time to get one of our own! We took out 50+ books but this one was just what we wanted to see sooooo many ideas! Not frumpy - clean lines, open spaces, etc...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sheila McCormick on June 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am in the process of remodeling my 60 year old Cape using ideas from this book. I showed my contractor the book so he would know what I wanted to do & he joked that he almost walked off with it. Great ideas - great detail. Whatever your style.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Springer on January 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. We have a 1950's Cape Cod home. And anyone who has one knows, they can be very difficult to add on to without looking like you have a "moron room" - add a little more on, add a little more on. This book was filled with absolutely beautiful photos and gave me several ideas that we will utilize when we begin our work this summer.

I appreciated that we were able to view some of the pages before purchase. I had an idea what I was getting, and certainly was not disappointed. The book exceeded my expectations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gadgetman on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Both a decorating and an architectural design book, Updating Classic American Capes is a handy reference and idea guide for anyone looking to make changes to an existing cape cod style house. The author shows before-and-after floor plans that illustrate common layout problems and how they can be eliminated. It's easy to apply changes people in this book have made to one's own situation. Issues common to capes--lack of light upstairs, headroom, square footage--are addressed with various solutions, ranging from working within the existing confines of the structure to turning a cape into a colonial, gambrel, etc.

Wait...a colonial isn't a cape, you say! No, the title is Updating..., and sometimes the solution to a lack of space is to expand upward. A few of the houses in the book are expanded into full two-stories; some retain the look of a cape through clever use of gables and dormers, while others are completely transformed.

But there are plenty of examples of remodels that preserve or even improve the sense of "historic old cape" within the universal House shape. (Yes, the triangle-atop-a-rectangle is how children of almost every culture draw a house.) As a remodeler, I fold over the corners of pages that will be of particular value to me for future reference. Generally, I'll have ten or so such corners in a useful book. In my copy of this book, about half of them are folded.

Once you've made structural changes to your cape, you can use this book for the decorating process. It covers the various historical periods of the cape and shows how those styles can be adapted to one's own home.

This is a great picture book, and you don't really need to read any of the text to enjoy the photos in here--but the book is well-written and informative, too. All around, a wonderful book for would-be/will-be remodelers and Coffee Table Book aficionados alike.
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