The houses of Cape May are BEAUTIFUL, and there’s a lot to learn from them too! You can take a little bit of their historic charm and make it work on your own home – I’ll show you how.
I recently went to Cape May, and fell in love with the stunning old houses all over again. We went two summers ago, and were shocked by the beauty around us. I have grown up going to the Jersey shore, but for some reason, we only discovered Cape May when I was in my 30’s. But now we want to go back often!
It’s easy to walk down the tree-lined streets and gawk at the incredible old houses that have been kept up so well over the years. They’re truly incredible! BUT I encourage you not to stop there! I find some of my greatest inspiration when I’m in new places, and then I work to bring that inspiration back into my own home.
Here’s some great curb appeal pointers that the houses of Cape May can teach us:
Curb appeal ideas from the houses of Cape May:
Add a little haint blue to your exterior ceilings.
Do you know the story behind the haint blue ceilings? So many old houses have this color on the top of their porches, and the thought behind it originates back in the 1850’s in the south. It’s said to scare away “haints”, or evil spirits, from the house. Some people also believe that it discourages insects from nesting on the ceiling because the blue looks like the sky.
Whether you believe in those theories or not is irrelevant – many people love the haint blue for the history it brings. I personally love it, whether on a whole porch ceiling or just on a little entryway covering – it adds a perfect little touch of charm!
In here, the blue is a beautiful addition because it’s pretty neutral otherwise – they kept other colors away and let the blue be the pop of color…it looks amazing with the white and warm wood tones!
And on this home there’s a very similar color scheme, so the blue works very well! Also – can we talk about how adorable those little benches are??
Wood screen doors:
This is one of the things that I NEED in my life. My husband promises me that we will have this someday, and I’m holding him to it! If you can’t have a beautiful old wood front door, then you can at least add a charming wood screen door to the entrance of your home. It adds the perfect amount of warmth and charm to the exterior of any home.
If you’re able to have a wood front door AND wood screen doors, you win! This was one of my favorite doors I saw this whole week:
Hanging ferns are LIFE:
Probably the simplest tip you can take from the exteriors on Cape May – everything looks better with a fern! Add a few ferns to your porch, take care of the during the summer, and you’ll have stunning HUGE fluffy ferns outside of your home by the end of the season. Seriously – every single home needs at least two ferns outside!
Add some black:
OK, this is a big one, and one that you may not think of right away. Black can seem scary to some people, but if it’s done the right way, it can look really sharp on your exterior. It adds some needed contrast on the outside of these houses, and elevates the whole look!
Take this house for example – it would not have the same impact if they would have gone with a more subtle color on the shutters and the door. It truly makes the look complete! Also…notice that haint blue ceiling?
So many things are RIGHT about this house – but dark color around the windows and on the door just make it that much more beautiful. I also love how they chose some black planters to contrast against the white exterior – beautiful!
This gorgeous white exterior is stunning, but the small amounts of black trim truly complete it! I love that the gutters are black too – just a pretty contrasting edge to the house.
Don’t be afraid of color:
So obviously you can get away with a little more color at the beach! BUT you can also spruce up your exterior with some well placed color as well! Use some of these for inspiration:
One more thing…brick!
If you scroll back up through these pictures, you can see that while none of them are brick houses, so many of them have brick walkways or steps! I love the classic addition of brick so much! Putting it as a walkway or stoop into your house is an easier way to incorporate this classic element.
This was the cute house we stayed in for the week – built in 1850!!
I hope seeing these beautiful exteriors from the houses of Cape May can help spark some ideas for how you can spruce up your exterior this summer!
If you still want some more ideas – here’s what we’ve done in our home..budget friendly curb appeal for the win!
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How to refinish a porch (we’re currently doing this to our BIG wraparound porch and I’m so excited to share!!)