Building a Cape Cod Roof by Adjusting Ceiling Heights

Reference Number: KB-00772
Last Modified: March 23, 2018

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I want to create a Cape Cod style house, sometimes called a story and a half or attic loft. How can I do this automatically? 

Cape Cod house roof raised off first floor plates.


There are a number of ways that a Cape Cod style house can be created automatically.  One way is by controlling ceiling heights. 

To build an automatic Cape Cod roof

  1. Open the Chief Architect plan in which you want to build a Cape Cod roof. Using the Straight Exterior Wall tool , draw the exterior perimeter walls of the first floor.

  2. Select Build> Floor> Build New Floor from the menu to build a 2nd floor. 

    Note: In Chief Architect, living areas cannot be created on the Attic floor. To build a loft, you must do so on a numbered floor - in this example, Floor 2.

  3. When the New Floor dialog pops up, click on Derive new 2nd floor plan from the 1st floor plan and click OK.

  4. In the Floor 2 Defaults dialog that appears next, set the 2nd floor Rough Ceiling (E) height to a fairly low value and click OK.

    In this example, 24" is used.

  5. Remaining on the second floor, click on the Select Objects tool and select one of the walls that we want to make a gable wall. With the desired wall now selected, click on the Open Object tool on the Edit toolbar.

  6. On the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog, check the box next to Full Gable Wall, then click OK to close the dialog and apply your change.

    Do this same procedure for any additional walls that you want to make gable ends.

  7. Once your gable walls are defined, select Build> Roof> Build Roof from the menu to open the Build Roof dialog. 

  • Check the box beside Build Roof Planes.

  • Specify the desired Pitch (In this example, a 12:12 pitch is used - Cape Cod roofs typically have pitches of 8:12 or greater).

  • Specify the desired overhang (In this example 5" is used for both Gable and Eave Overhang).

    Do not use Auto Rebuild Roofs here as this will prevent step 8 from working correctly. 

  • Click OK to close the dialog and automatically generate a roof.

  • Next, select Edit> Default Settings to open the Default Settings dialog. Expand for the Floors and Rooms section and select Current Floor and then click Edit.

    *In X8 and prior select the Floor category, and then click the Edit button. 

  • In the Floor 2 Defaults dialog that opens next, under the Relative Heights category, change the Rough Ceiling (E) value back to the default of 97 1/8" and click OK.

    The roof is bearing on the 24" Floor 2 exterior walls, but the ceiling will now extend up to the ridge. If you decide to rebuild the roof, you will lose your Cape Cod Roof Style so be sure to set the higher ceiling default aside as one of your final tasks.