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It’s a common sight. As we drive down a tree-lined street in an older neighborhood, there’s a house with an addition or obvious remodel that doesn’t look quite right. Maybe the materials don’t match the original house or the addition looks stuck on. Perhaps the style of the new section is out of character or out of proportion to the rest of the home’s architectural elements. Whatever the reason or cause, a remodeling job that looks like a remodeling job does little for the value of the house and may degrade the aesthetic appeal of the home.
Matching and maintaining the architectural character of a house is one of the most important measures of success and lasting value in a major remodeling project, such as a room addition. Homeowners who decide to modernize or add to their living space naturally desire to see a return on that investment when they are ready to sell. An addition that is thoughtfully and seamlessly integrated into the home’s original architectural character — as opposed to a tacked-on home office, kitchen expansion, or second floor — will not only serve the homeowners’ current lifestyle needs, but reap greater benefits in resale.
Adding more space to an existing home is an American tradition. Old farmhouses, for instance, are famous for their multiple room additions. Alterations responded to the needs of a growing family or new technology, such as indoor plumbing or central heating. In common with today’s remodeling, those projects were driven by practical considerations. However, in an earlier time the owners often did the work themselves, using traditional techniques, materials and forms consistent with the original craftsmanship. Today we instinctively respond to the simple integrity of these forms and proportions (even though we do not want to live with their plumbing). We perceive the comfort to be derived from properly proportioned space and the harmonious character of a house.
Today, few people acquire modern building skills as a part of growing up. Rural or urban, most homeowners have neither the time nor the experience to undertake major remodeling project themselves, much less to consider what would be architecturally appropriate. They simply know they need a bigger kitchen or more bedrooms and seek out designers and contractors to help them achieve their goals.
Professional remodelers offer skilled, in-house residential designers, or have trusted contacts with residential designers, who can solve both the aesthetic and practical challenges of a room addition or remodeling project. In this “design-build” collaboration, the remodeler and design professional confer on all aspects of the project. The “design-build” model helps to ensure that a new or expanded space delivers value on several levels and, more important, does not detract from the character and inherent value of the existing home.
A key element in the success of a remodeling project is understanding that each house — and the proposed remodeling job — is unique. At the same time, there are basic architectural truisms regarding proportion, scale, and forms that apply to every building. Whether the house is a Cape Cod or a Ranch, there are tried-and-true ways to add space and design elements (e.g., dormers) that are appropriate to that style.
There is no guaranteed financial analysis that can prove whether a well-done room addition or remodeling job will have the same value to the resale market as it does to the homeowners. It is common knowledge, however, that a remodeling project designed and executed without regard for basic architectural principles is destined to be a white elephant rather than a valuable asset.
Here at QMA we have a long history of creating beautiful and sensitive additions to homes. Sometimes our renovations are designed to blend harmoniously with an existing home and other times our goal is to transform a modest or unattractive home into a wonderful jewel. Regardless of the approach you can be assured that your QMA home will be beautiful. To see examples of some of the “Amazing Transformations” we have recently completed please click here.
Todd Allen Miller, AIA
QMA Design+Build, LLC
5000 Boardwalk, Suite 2
Ventnor, NJ 08406
NJ New Home Builder License #037561
NJ Home Improvement Contractor #13VH01107300
(609) 822-4949 – phone
(609) 822-4429 – fax
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