Armchair Builder

A New Home Addition That Looks…Old

Photo by Jeremy Levine

Photo by Jeremy Levine

Have you ever driven by a home and thought to yourself…what were they thinking?  There’s nothing worse than looking at a home and being able to distinguish each addition that was built.  The best renovations blend the new in with the old so that everything appears to have been built at the same time.  So how do you accomplish this with your new addition?

First and foremost, make sure your new architectural design matches the old.  Meaning, if your home is a traditional colonial, don’t put a modern addition onto your home.  Or if you have an english tudor, don’t design your new project with a craftsman styling.  If you really want your home to change style altogether, you should change the look of the old to match the new.

If we are going to create an addition that looks like it has always been there, we also need to carefully consider the materials we use.  This is easier said than done.  One of the biggest challenges on any renovation or addition is making the new materials match the old.  Even if the existing material type is still available, the fading caused by the sun on the existing material can make color matching impossible.   The other issue we contend with on new additions are differing dye lots. Manufacturers have production runs of a given product before they switch over to another color or product type.  In different production runs there can be significant differences in color.  If you want all of the colors and materials to blend exactly, the easiest way is to replace the entire roof (if it’s asphalt).  Wall cladding should be chosen carefully to avoid mismatch.  Sometimes a different material can be used (like stone for example) that will look good with the old design and will avoid the color differences associated with using the same material.  If you have a painted siding, take a piece of the existing siding down to the hardware store to scan the color in for a computer match.  Even with the computer match, don’t expect the colors to be exact.

If you want to see some additions that went wrong, check out the bottom of this article at OldHouseOnline titled What Not to Do.

For more great photos of cool design…check out Jeremy Levine’s pictures here.


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