clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Before renovating, know home's style

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: the fairy-tale Tudor Revival, classic Craftsman bungalow, charming Cape Cod and California ranch.

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

Throughout September, our columns will focus on each of these styles individually in an effort to help you identify the style of your home, so when it's time to renovate, you'll know where to begin. We'll start with the oldest, the Tudor Revival.

Tudor Revivals had their heyday between 1890 and 1940. Hearkening back to royal England in the early 16th century, these homes are the dreamiest of the dream homes. In their purest form, they feel like miniature castles with their towers, dormers and steeply pitched roofs. The windows are tall and narrow with multi-paned glass, and the massive chimneys are commonly crowned with decorative chimney pots.

The style is accented on the outside with decorative half-timbering, patterned brick work, stucco or stone. Inside you'll find stained oak paneling and fine interior woodwork. The doorways are often arched and the ceilings beamed with exposed structural timber.

The Tudor style was brought back into favor by industrial magnates who aspired to aristocratic pretensions. Developers eventually helped the style spread to middle-class neighborhoods, with the Great Depression essentially ending the movement.

In 2005, these homes are aging, and renovation is almost inevitable — and always tricky. With the dramatic style elements of a Tudor home, it is easy to make design errors. One of the most prominent features of a Tudor is the steep roof. When renovating, that roof has to be accounted for in the new design or the style will be compromised.

We recently added a second story to a Tudor home by tucking the front of the addition into the existing steep roof, raising the ridge only three feet. In the back we had more leeway to subtly expand without calling too much attention to the addition. In the end, both the streetscape and overall Tudor style were preserved.

The Tudor Revival is an expensive style to execute properly due to costly roof design and more expensive wall materials and detailing. However, if done well, a renovation will preserve and enhance the charming, romantic character of the Tudor Revival style.


Architects Ann Robinson, AIA, and Annie Vernon, AIA, welcome your design questions at Ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com. Robinson and Vernon are founding principals of Renovation Design Group, www.RenovationDesignGroup.com, a local architectural firm specializing in residential remodeling design. To register for "Remodeling a Home with Character & Class" or another free seminar, call 533-5331.