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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Know home style before renovating

By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer

Several predominant home styles have evolved over the past century in the United States. You've seen them as you've driven the streets of Salt Lake City's classic neighborhoods: the fairy-tale Tudor revival, classic craftsman bungalow, charming Cape Cod and California ranch.

This bungalow is a great example of several key craftsman characteristics, including its pronounced front porch featuring exposed timbers.

With each style comes unique renovation challenges and opportunities. The first thing to analyze when considering a home remodeling project is the style of your house. Not every home was designed in a distinct style, and often a home has elements of several styles. Nevertheless, try to determine the predominant style of your home, as the next decision will be whether to revive and enhance it or to change it into something else.

We hope the next few columns can help you determine the predominant style of your home and the challenges you may face renovating that style.

Tudor revival

In their purest form, Tudors feel like miniature castles with towers, dormers and steeply pitched roofs. The windows are tall and narrow, with multipaned glass, and the massive chimneys are commonly crowned with decorative chimney pots.

The style is accented on the outside with decorative half-timbering, patterned brickwork, stucco or stone.

Inside you'll find stained oak paneling and fine interior woodwork. The doorways are often arched and the ceilings accented with exposed structural beams.

The Tudor challenge: If you have a historical Tudor, you will be faced with inevitable challenges in remodeling while maintaining this distinctive style. One of the most prominent features of a Tudor is the steep roof. When renovating, that roof massing has to be accounted for in the new design or the style will be compromised.

Craftsman bungalow

The craftsman bungalow is an easy-to-spot style in the older neighborhoods of Salt Lake City.

You'll recognize these homes by their dominating roofs and single-story appearance. If there is a second story, it is subtly tucked into the roof line.

The craftsman bungalow is low to the ground and centered. They were designed with lots of windows for light and ventilation. You can't miss the pronounced front porch, often with tapered wood columns resting on sturdy masonry bases. You'll also sometimes see exposed roof rafters and open eaves.

Common exterior materials include brick, stone, shingles and stucco.

Inside the craftsman bungalow you'll find a family-oriented living space with a craftsman's attention. You will often find crown moldings, high baseboards, paneled wainscoting and wood floors, as well as a tiled hearth with a brick fireplace, built-in bookshelves and beamed ceilings.

Interior rooms are arranged to encourage family togetherness, with public spaces open to each other, reminiscent of today's popular great-room style. Craftsman bungalows may also include intimate built-in seating areas known as inglenooks.

The craftsman challenge: True craftsman bungalows were well-designed and well-built and therefore tend to have faithful owners who love their beautiful, functional homes.

That means they do not change hands often, so they may need updating when a new owner moves in. If you are lucky enough to have a bungalow or are looking at purchasing one, plan your renovations carefully so you maintain its innate interior functionality and preserve its exterior sense of being centered, solid, and enduring.

Next week we will discuss the characteristics of Cape Cods and California ranches. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2009 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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