Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 6:14 PM EDT
This Indian Summer in Ontario is keeping me swathed in the outdoors. And Carson Arthur has no problem with it! Today on Outdoor Design Dilemma, Green Force host and landscape expert Carson Arthur helps a Toronto home owner make a decision upon the facade of his traditional Victorian, that underwent some 80s modernizing. See what Carson has to say!
From Alec M:
"We live in north Toronto in a house that was built in 1915. The façade has some modern elements that are a result of a renovation (likely from the 80’s). We actually don’t mind the finished product but most of the finishes are now rotting and so it’s time for a change.
"Now that we’re taking a closer look at the front we’re struggling with whether we should simply put some more traditional materials (stone and wood) on the existing setup or pull it off and go right back to what we feel would be a truly traditional look. There are weird angles, skylights and poor insulation.
"We could really use your help and guidance on what changes to make:
Thanks in advance!
- either epic changes by shearing the whole porch off and starting over, or
- refacing the existing façade with more traditional materials and taking a modern setup back in time using stone veneers, cedar shakes, etc.
" Carson Suggests:
This is the classic urban question. Can I make a traditional house look modern while not making it stick
out on the street like a sore thumb! Having something that is slightly different isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I’d personally keep the modern elements with a few tweaks...
I’ve found that people who use natural toned materials to create unusual structures on traditional homes get it right. Depending on your budget, both repairing the existing or completely replacing the finishes are valid options, but I would still go with the same materials in either situation:
Modern cedar siding treatment (left) via Denver Modern's Flickr stream; traditional shingles (right) via ArchiExpo.com
- The blue, while a nice colour, doesn’t work that well with the red brick. They play off each other too much making the pillars jump off the photograph. I would go with the warmth of natural toned cedar – it’s a fantastic pairing with red brick.
- You can definitely go with shingles, but you can also use the cedar in horizontal patterns which complement the rows on the wall exceptionally well. Just make sure that you seal the cedar. My favourite is Thompson ‘Honey Gold’ sealant which keeps that amazing grains of the natural wood.
- Another colour that most people completely over look is the mortar. The mortar in the joints on your house is a great sandy-grey shade that can be used as an accent tone but that will blend in beautifully with your home. Consider it for the pillars and anything that you currently have painted as an alternative to stripping everything back to the raw wood.
Got your own Design Dilemma, outdoor on indoor? Take a photo, and send it (in jpeg format) along with your question to stylesheet(@)hgtv(.)ca. (Don’t forget to take out the brackets when typing out email address.)
Previously on Design Dilemma: Optimum Backyard Flow