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Historic Curb Apeal: Taking Care of Your Tudor

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Tall gabled roofs, charming round top doors, leaded and beveled glass windows…. a Tudor style home is just bursting with inviting charm and curb appeal. The eclectic asymmetrical facades often feature brick or stucco and have winding approaches to their front doors that evoke the English country homes that inspire the style.

What does a Tudor home need to keep looking its best?

Here are 5 tips from Arciform Senior Designer Anne De Wolf for sprucing up your Tudor.

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1. Safeguard your Stucco. The shallow overhangs and stucco exterior of many Tudors can lead to opportunities for the northwest’s rain to seep behind your facade. Keep a close eye out for weather damage on the stucco portions of your exterior and tackle any problems quickly before they get out of hand.

The good news: stucco can be repaired in small sections without needing to resurface your entire facade, making regular maintenance more affordable on Tudor homes.

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2.  Mix in Some Metal. Updating the entryway of a Tudor can be tricky- the style tends towards very small entry spaces with unusually shaped doors and very little covering from the elements. In order to add a bit of shelter without marring the traditional style, consider adding copper awnings over your doors and ground floor windows.

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Wrought iron railings, sconces, lamp posts and edging can add additional design elements that will fit with the gothic inspirations of the Tudor style.

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3. Dormer Delights. The high gabled roof of a Tudor home was originally designed to encourage the snow to slide off in northern climates. In the temperate northwest they have another advantage: plenty of space to add a dormer bedroom or office.

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Just two things to be aware of before you contemplate a dormer addition:

  • Your floor joists may be twisted. Because Tudors are often built as a series of small compartmentalized spaces, you may discover that the orientation of the floor joists can change from from floor to floor. The direction of the joists has a big impact on how the house will carry the weight of a new addition, so it is important to be sure you know which direction they run before your dormer addition is designed.
  • Framing designed for a ceiling may not be strong enough for a floor. Many Tudors have tall vaulted ceilings in their living rooms, with plenty of attic space above. However, ceiling joists are usually not built to withstand the same load as a floor, so creating a dormer above that vaulted living room may require more structural updates than your budget will allow.

Your designer will work with a structural engineer to be sure that the design of your new addition will take these important structural considerations into account.

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4. Many Lites Make Lovely Windows. Thin, unusually shaped windows with many small panes of glass (called lites) are a hallmark feature of Tudor style. Beveled or leaded glass and diamond patterns are common.

What should you do when one of these iconic windows starts to leak or fail?

Our colleagues at Versatile Wood Products, a company that specializes in the restoration and historically accurate replacement of traditional windows and doors, recommend that you have a window expert do a site evaluation before you make any decisions about restoration or replacement. Options for restoration can include repairing broken lead elements, replacing rotting wood sash elements with new sash, or replacing the entire window with an exact replica. In some cases, adding an exterior custom storm window can lengthen the life of the window and increase its insulation value.

Be sure to explore all your options before you decide to rip out and replace with a modern window. A Tudor’s unusual window shapes can be a major factor in its curb appeal and resale value.

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4. Instead of a Porch, Consider a Pavilion.

The shallow overhangs and high roof lines of a Tudor home don’t create many opportunities for integrated indoor/outdoor spaces like porches. Instead, consider creating a detached carport or pavilion that can double as an entertaining space when the weather is nice. A detached pavilion allows you a bit of flexibility on design to coordinate with the home without needing to exactly match design details. Just keep the framing simple and rustic to fit with the english country style of the home.

Want more good ideas for making your classic home the envy of the neighborhood?

Join us July 16th for a Historic Home How To Workshop at Old Portland and Architectural. Get the details and RSVP here.

Explore the Arciform Project Galleries | About Arciform | Schedule a Design Consultation

Guest Post: Invite Architectural Salvage Into Your Home

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We are so grateful to our friends at Old Portland Hardware & Architectural for hosting our July Historic Home How To Workshop (Have you RSVP’d yet? You can do so here). While you are at the workshop, you’ll have a chance to peruse their deep and wild architectural salvage collection at their shop. There’s all kinds of intriguing artifacts, from 100 year old stain glass windows to chandeliers reclaimed from now defunct hotels and theaters.

Since Bret at Old Portland has deep experience in the best ways to find and integrate salvage pieces into your home, we asked him to share some of his insights for making the most of a salvage shopping trip. Take a look:

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Using architectural salvage to decorate homes has been done for a VERY long time. In my opinion, the term “architectural salvage” is a bit of a misnomer. The word “salvage” tends to imply “somebody else’s saved trash.” In most cases, architectural salvage is the bits and pieces of a building that were too beautiful, too well made, too unique, and/or to reusable to throw away. These wonderful items will often find their way back into the market place where they await their opportunity to be reused. These pieces of recovered architecture defy the word “salvage” and evoke the words “treasure”, “find”, “artifact”, etc.

Recovered architecture is an excellent way to bring old world character to a contemporary remodel. If you have made the decision to include architectural pieces in your project, be sure to invite them to the party early! Your design and construction team will need to know what pieces you will be wanting to use where, very early in the process.

If you go hunting for that perfect antique leaded glass window before you’re your project starts, depending on your needs, you may have a few hundred to choose from. Waiting until the last minute, when the contractor gives you a window opening size that they came up with in the course of the project, may limit your choices to as little one or two windows… and those may not even be windows that you like!

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Speaking of old windows…

Old beveled and/or leaded glass windows often present a challenge in new remodels because they are a single pane thick and have very little in the way of R-Value (insulation quality). On the other hand, stained glass windows can add bright color and privacy, while beveled windows can bring in great light while casting refracted rainbows around a room.

At Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, we say, “Be creative with your window use!” We are strong advocates of installing old windows into interior walls of homes and businesses. Doing so is a great way to bring color and natural light to areas of your live/work space that seem to be perpetually dark. Having both sides of the window trimmed with a full shelf sill will also give you a space to display small items in the light.

If you wish to have one (or many) old windows on the exterior of your home, have no fear, it CAN be done! Again, if your architect/contractor know which windows you wish to use, they can plan ahead accordingly. In most cases they can order a double glazed window to match your old window. The new double pane window will be installed as the actual window in the project (to meet code requirements). Your beautiful old window will then be fit up against the inside surface of the new window with all the edges being covered with a thin trim treatment.

When done properly, the only time you should see the new exterior window, is from the outside during the day time. At night, your jewel of an old window will always shine through – back lit from inside. From the interior, you will always see the old window, but, have all the insulation benefits of the new window.

Although reclaimed windows are covered extensively here, they are just one choice in the aesthetic world of recovered architecture!

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Other character pieces can include old door hardware, columns, light fixtures, millwork, industrial pieces, cabinetry, reclaimed lumber, and more. Want ideas? Dive into Pinterest, follow your favorite shops online, talk to your designer, ask your local salvage shop, start a bulletin board with clippings from magazines and catalogs…

One more piece of advice for those using recovered architecture in a home remodel…

Pick the pieces you love and want to live with. Then, plan to leave them when (and if) you sell your house. The love and care you took to create your living space will often be what sells your house for you (often faster and for more money than it would otherwise). I can’t tell you how often we hear new home owners saying how they fell in love with one beautiful character piece, an old mantle, dining room built ins, beveled windows, antique doorknobs…

So, whether continuing the character of an old house into a new remodel, or bringing the character of age into a contemporary house, recovered architectural salvage is aesthetically a good bet. Be creative, seek out the pieces you love, ask the advice of your designer and construction team, and have fun with your project!

Bret will be available after the Arciform workshop to answer questions and provide advice on everything from old hardware options to light fixture selection. Whether you are in the planning stages or at the tail end of your remodel he can help you find the easiest ways to infuse your project with a little old world charm.

 

Find out more and RSVP for the July 16th Historic Homes How To Workshop here.

 

 Explore the Arciform Project Galleries | About Arciform | Schedule a Design Consultation

Historic Curb Appeal: Maintaining Your Craftsman

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A craftsman bungalow is many a homeowner’s dream.Their deep eaves, broad front porches, simple lines and cozy, lantern-like interior spaces create a casual living environment well suited to NW living.

What details should you pay attention to when your bungalow needs a bit of love and care?

Here are 5 important considerations for restoring the exterior of your bungalow:

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1. Respect your Rafter Tails. If you are lucky, your craftsman comes complete with decoratively detailed rafter tails (the ends of the beams that hold your roof up). These showcase a core craftman virtue: architectural elements that are both functional and beautiful.

When the time comes to repair or replace your roof or update your gutter system, be sure to take care to protect your rafter tails from being shorn off in the process. Once sawn off they cannot be easily replaced it is wise to work with a company that will identify roofing and gutter solutions that will protect your home’s original tails and architectural beams.

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2. Protect your Stained Glass with Storms. Craftsman homes are designed with long low horizontal surfaces, double hung windows and dark woods which create a lantern-like glow on the interior. You may be tempted to lighten up the home by adding additional picture or clerestory windows but resist the urge.

The cozy glow is part of the point.

The lower light of a craftsman also serves to highlight the beautiful stained glass windows that are frequently a key decorative feature. Protect your stained glass (and your other original windows) by installing historically accurate wooden storm windows.

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3. Make an Entrance. One of the simplest ways to update the curb appeal of your bungalow is by creating a dramatic front entrance. Because Craftsman front doors typically open directly into the main living space, a beautiful entry door will have the benefit of adding curb appeal and adding to the charm of your home’s interior. Typical Craftsman front doors feature little wooden blocks called dentals that project out from the door in a horizontal pattern and sidelights that often feature etched or stained glass.

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4.  Get Creative with Column Designs. One place where you have some aesthetic leeway on a Craftsman is in the design of your porch columns and railings. Though it is most common to see square, strongly horizontal shapes and patterns in a craftsman porch you and your designer should feel free to play with proportions and details to find something you like.

Just be sure to avoid unnecessary ornamentation. In a craftsman, the design of the architectural elements themselves should hold the aesthetic appeal rather than filigrees, additions, or architecturally unnecessary ornamentation.

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5. Go Bigger… In the Basement.The long, low horizontal lines of a Craftsman can offer few vertical surfaces to connect to a ground floor addition. Dormer additions are often impeded by the relatively shallow pitch of the bungalow roof.

So if extra space is needed to accommodate a growing family, explore the potential of a basement addition. By the time the Arts and Crafts style became popular, the basement and foundation technology was vastly improved over the Victorian era, giving you more space, (usually) a more watertight footprint and some flexibility to carve out finished space in your basement.

The most important basement considerations?

Do you have the ceiling height for officially permitted finished spaces? And do you have an appropriately located window or door that will work for fire safety egress?

Your Arciform designer can help you identify the renovation potential of your bungalow basement. With some smart design solutions, it can be a great way to add guest space and play space without marring the exterior design of your home.

Want more good ideas for making your classic home the envy of the neighborhood?

Join us July 16th for a Historic Home How To Workshop at Old Portland and Architectural. Get the details and RSVP here.

Explore the Arciform Project Galleries | About Arciform | Schedule a Design Consultation