With a few simple improvements, a drab old house can become beautiful. Often clients come to me looking to upgrade an older home, not just aesthetically, but also functionally and structurally. I won’t get into the structural aspects here, and functional improvements usually involve turning a compartmentalized, inefficient floor plan into an open, well flowing layout through the opening up of walls, improving relationships between spaces etc. Or adding on to an existing house to gain square footage, and at the same time making improvements to the existing spaces.

Aesthetic upgrades are the subject of this post. These can range from a major second story addition, which completely changes the look of the house both inside and out, to a very simple and cost-effective “facelift”. Following are some examples, which show before and after photos, and describe the scope.

This project took a boring flat roof box and dramatically updated it. The only addition was a 70 s.f. penthouse, to access the new roof deck. The interior was completely reconfigured, and the exterior was re-designed to draw attention to the new solar array on top. The siding was installed in a rainscreen fashion:

This shows the rear of the same house – as in front, the remodel simplified the structure, and opened up the house to the view:

This very small remodel was strictly an exterior facelift. The owners felt the front façade lacked character, and wanted to cue visitors how to find the side entry. Through the addition of some corner windows, and wrapping the wood siding down and around to the front door, the design successfully improves the entry sequence, in a very cost-effective manner:

This project was a design/build spec project, a case study in green remodeling:

Yet another second story addition, this project minimized the work to the existing portions of the house, to stay within a limited budget:

This late 70’s house, which was comprised of several shed roof volumes competing for attention, was simplified by eliminating all but the main shed. The other elements were reconfigured to become either exterior terraces, or “flat” roofs, and three new siding materials (cedar, cement-board and metal) were introduced to differentiate the parts:

This is a second story addition that, while taking some cues from the existing house (e.g. the stone facing), is a strong modern departure from the original traditional structure: