Exterior details - All of the siding on this house is new cedar, 3” exposure clapboard on the 1st floor and 7” exposure shake on the 2nd floor. All rafter tails on the main roof are curved to match the original. This is most visible on the gables. There is another curve where the 2nd story shake starts. A band of trim between the floors pulls the first course of shake away from the wall, which then curves back to the wall over the next few courses. The shake corners were weaved as was traditionally done with shake. Douglas fir beaded ceiling was used on both porches with beaded ply for the soffits.
Rear Elevation -
The new poured foundation was covered with mortar, and “blocks” were tooled into it to look like a block foundation. This is the same procedure that was done on the original home and was common 100 years ago.
Custom-made brackets support the cantilever. The new wood windows have an aluminum clad exterior for longevity. Exterior window trim is added to dress them up and mimic the old detailing. Look at any side of this house and you will see extensive trim details, as was done in past times. This adds character, quality, and charm to the entire house.
New kitchen cabinet uppers include 100-year-old glass taken from the old windows that were replaced. Although it is kitchen cabinetry, the furniture look of the cherry hutch also brings back the past.
Painted glazed maple cabinets and brushed granite tops
Furniture style master bath vanity with granite top
Old hall bathroom with new tile floor and trim
New fir front door with leaded glass panels and oil-rubbed bronze hardware
The original American Foursquare home was built in 1905. The whole house renovation included a room addition on the back and side which doubled the square footage of the house, all new siding, roofing, windows, doors, landscaping, and garage. The 1st floor work included all new hardwood flooring, new kitchen, powder room, family room with masonry fireplace, mudroom, breakfast room, and back basement stairway. The 2nd floor work included a new master suite, 2nd hall bathroom, remodeling of the 1st hall bathroom, another bedroom, and a laundry room as well as re-configuring closets and the hallway. New front and rear covered porches, full basement under the new areas, and finishing most of the basement were also part of the project.
This home is a seamless combination of its historic architectural features from 1905 and the modern conveniences of today. I was lucky enough to be the designer for this project. Throughout the process a great deal of care was given to incorporating the Arts and Crafts elements of this home with the interior and exterior selections needed to update the home. Much of the tile work was completed with Sonoma hand-made decorative tiles. The fireplaces, bathrooms and kitchen incorporated geometric and nature-inspired decos reminiscent of the organic nature of the Prairie School of architecture. The woodwork and fireplace mantels reflect the original style of the moldings in the home. The white raised panel kitchen cabinetry combined with the hutch, plate rack, and butcher-block island resembles the simple kitchen style of the period. The classic blue and white Wedgewood dishes popular during this era were the inspiration for the kitchen colors. The light fixtures were chosen to coordinate the simplicity of the architectural lines of the home with the ornamental designs of the tile work. All of the exterior and interior color selections were based on the colors of nature in keeping with the Wright concept of organic architecture.
"This home is truly a wonderful combination of old and new. It is a rare example of what can be achieved by combining our historic roots of architecture with the modern building process."
Ann Cullinane, ASID
Family room masonry fireplace above
All new wood trim was custom made to match the existing.
Master bedroom masonry fireplace and tray wood ceiling
Barrel vault ceiling in master bathroom
Subway tile on the walls and mosaics on the floor are reminiscent of days of old. One improvement over the old days is the heated floor and insulated windows.
The quarter-round bead above was made by a 4th-generation wood turner. The finish used for all the trim was amber shellac. This was probably used on the original trim, since it was very common back then. Shellac is still a good finish to use today and was the best fit to match the tone of the old trim, which still remained in some rooms after the renovation.
Interesting Find – While removing the old hardwood floor in one of the rooms, there was an obvious patch of shorter boards. Underneath the boards was a Chicago Sun newspaper dated December 8th, 1941. The headlines read WAR WITH JAPAN. While working on the house a gentleman who happened to live in the house in the 1940s stopped by to see the work being done. He wasn’t aware of the newspaper or how it might have been placed there. A more recent past homeowner, Mrs. Ahern, also stopped by while we were working. We hadn’t found the newspaper yet to ask her about it.