I have done a few smaller additions and exterior renovations on older homes, some close to 100 years old while others were perhaps 25 years old.
From both a design and structural perspective, it can be a challenge to blend old and new and come up with a happy compromise that both looks good and works well.
I did renovations on a century-old farmhouse in Langley [see pictures online at www.mrtimes.com, search Jensen] and the job also included a large, modern deck and stairs.
I wanted the addition to blend in with the original exterior, with matching wood siding, trim, windows and so on. But, I needed to satisfy current building code requirements and keep everything sound and secure.
Although the homeowner hired a designer to provide the right look and a structural engineer to produce the needed engineered drawings, we made some modifications along the way to ensure things blended well and didn’t look too “added on.”
When I do these types of additions the last thing I want is for someone to walk up and immediately say “Oh, well that was added recently.”
In the Langley case, the new deck is certainly an obvious renovation, in other words, not an original structure, but the small extension at the back looks and feels as though it has always been there.
Once the siding was painted and things were completed the homeowner and I were very happy with the result.
Whether you’re adding a garage, closing in a carport, or building up above an existing structure, it’s always best to take time during the design process to make sure the end result will be a happy one for all – for you, of course, but also for any future buyers, and for those who live in your neighbourhood.
We did a third garage addition last year in Pitt Meadows, and the original design drawings had one roof line at an awkward angle, and that one feature made the whole thing look like an add-on. So, we made some changes before starting the job. In the end we were able to add a gable to the new addition that matched an existing gable on the house.
Over several weeks we spent building that addition, neighbours walked by and pondered whether they liked the look or whether it would make the house look too big and overbearing. But in the end they all agreed that it looked like it had always been there.
Homeowners can also change exterior features on the front of their homes that will mimic the brand new designs seen in the array of new neighbourhoods being built locally. Siding, windows, gutters, fascia trim, and even roofing, can be redesigned and changed to update a 20- or 30-year-old home. New materials are available today that weren’t around 20 years ago, or were costly and hard to find. New colours abound as well and, of course, local paint stores now carry a wide range of better exterior paints and stains than ever before.
The bottomline is to always keep looking and planning, and dreaming, and never give up on at least doing a facelift on that older, maybe a bit drab, exterior. I do mean your home of course, your own exterior is as beautiful as always!
Please send along your questions and comments, and, as always, I am happy to help whenever I can.