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Is it worth all the time, money and work to add on to my home?

​Now is a very good time to add on to one’s home. The bank interest rates are low and if there is enough equity for financing, the advantage in adding on to your home instead of purchasing a new one for example, is you know what you have in the home you are in.

Chances are you know all of the out points and plus points of the home you are in. Familiarity is valuable. There is no familiarity in purchasing a new home since there is no experience with it. Anything done to an existing structure with architectural design will make it better, larger, and more valuable for the future.

​How long does it take to complete an Addition?

​The evolution of an Addition is indeed a step by step fun and creative adventure. If you like adventure and you are a creative individual, go for it. Additions can be various sizes. Some can take as long as 3 months, and some can take 6 weeks depending on the size and extent of the addition. If the Addition is a 2nd story addition it can take up to 6 months.

​How do I know my Addition will look right with the rest of the house?

A designer who is familiar with the different periods of structures can design an addition and an architect can draw the plans.  These will include structure as per code and the exact materials and measurements of the structure.  A picture of the plan can be made.A few popular periods in the Northwest are Tudor, Mission, the endearing Early 20th Century Bungalow, Arts and Crafts and of course Victorian architecture.

The Arts and Crafts Movement started in the late 19th Century and extended into the 20th Century.  This emphasis on high standard architectural details, and superlative craftsmanship started in London by William Morris and his group of artisan craftsmen and architects.

The low-pitched roofs and widely overhanging eaves were the main characteristics of this style and as noted in the Prairie style and Craftsman style.

​Arts and Crafts, or Craftsman, houses have many of these features:

  1. Wood, stone, or stucco siding
  2. Low-pitched roof
  3. Wide eaves with triangular brackets
  4. Exposed roof rafters
  5. Porch with thick square or round columns
  6. Stone porch supports
  7. Exterior chimney made with stone
  8. Open floor plans; few hallways
  9. Numerous windows
  10. Some windows with stained or leaded glass
  11. Beamed ceilings
  12. Dark wood wainscoting and moldings
  13. Built-in cabinets, shelves, and seating

In particular, excellent craftsmanship and superior detailing was embraced in the designs of the architects Charles Sumner Green (1868-1957) and his brother Henry Mather Greene (1870-1954) of Pasadena, California, whose work exemplified architectural details carried to a high art. A beautiful example of their work is seen in the Gamble House

Victorian Era Homes

The Victorian era dates from about 1840 to 1900. During this time, industrialization brought many innovations in architecture. There are a variety of Victorian styles, each with its own distinctive features.

Beginning in the 1830s, the flexibility of balloon framing freed buildings from the timber-framed box forms of the past. Houses were now built with bays, turrets, overhangs, odd corners, and irregular floor plans.  The perfection of the scroll saw allowed for highly complex architectural details, made in mass. Pattern books and magazines published house plans that provided inspirations for new varieties of trim and decoration.  Millwork factories cranked out spindles, moldings, turned columns, decorative brackets; paint companies offered ready-mixed paints in many colors.

​The most popular Victorian styles spread quickly through widely published pattern books. Builders often borrowed characteristics from several different styles, creating unique, and sometimes quirky, mixes. Buildings constructed during the Victorian times usually have characteristics of one or more these styles:


The Goths were a Scandinavian tribe that was only one of several tribes who invaded the crumbling Roman Empire. They were prodigious wood workers who made trade routes from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

​The British High Victorian style grew out of revivals of the past. Fashionable Victorian town-dwellers were bored by the monotonous classical terraces/rows of plain Georgian houses, by now encrusted in soot and grime. They wanted color and animation. Many favored the mock Gothic style as a romantic fantasy that implied ancient lineage. High towers and pointed arches, large narrow windows, and ornate décor are prevalent. Polychromatic brickwork is the hallmarks of this era. (Australia’s recent remarkable successes at the bricklaying section of Workskill Olympics suggests that the potential for excellence in bricklaying is at hand, and pride and real performance may emerge.)


​ Victorians who could not afford the elaborate trim of the Gothic Revival often build a more modest form which was called Folk Victorian. Folk Victorian was very popular and was still being built as late as the 1940’s. The most important characteristics making a house Folk Victorian are: Wood Clapboard SidingSimple Rectangular or L ShapeDecorative Brackets Under the EavesPorches with Spindles or Other Machine-Made DecorationsFlat, Jigsaw Cut Trim During the mid-1800s, industrialization and the growth of railroads meant that decorative architectural trim could be mass produced and sent to remote corners of the USA. Also, smaller towns could obtain sophisticated woodworking machinery. Builders began to apply machine-made decorative details to simple farmhouses (sometimes called National Style houses).


Italianate houses have many of these features:

Low-Pitched or Flat Roof

  1. Balanced, Symmetrical Rectangular Shape
  2. Tall Appearance, with 2, 3, or 4 Stories
  3. Wide, Overhanging Eaves with Brackets and Cornices
  4. Square Cupola
  5. Porch Topped with Balustraded Balconies
  6. Tall, Narrow, Double-Paned Windows with Hood Moldings
  7. Side Bay Window
  8. Heavily Molded Double Doors
  9. Roman or Segmented Arches Above Windows and Doors

​Italianate style homes and buildings drew from the style of country villas in the Old World. Such houses were first introduced in England as a reaction to the formal classical styles which had dominated the landscape of architecture. It was popularized in America by Andrew Jackson Downing, and quickly became so popular that it overshadowed other styles of its day. It was particularly stylish in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast.

Second Empire

The mansard is prevalent in the Second Empire Era.  A mansard or mansard roof (also called a French roof) is a four-sided gambrel-style hip roof characterized by two slopes on each of its sides with the lower slope at a steeper angle and more vertical than the upper, punctured by dormer windows to create additional habitable space, such as a garret. The upper slope of the roof may not be visible from street level when viewed from close proximity to the building.

Styled after the Napoleonic style, the Second Empire is regal, ornate, and has Dormer windows projecting from the roof, rounded cornices at top and base of roof, and brackets beneath the eaves, balconies, and bay windows.

The Queen Anne Victorian

The beautiful Queen Anne Homes came into being during 1880 and 1910.  They were stunning Victorians with all the Folk ornate trim, but also large wrap around porches, bay windows, and sometimes towers and turrets.

Not all Queen Annes were as ornate with their trim as others.  Some are made of brick and some are made of wood.  However they all have one thing in common to be a Queen Anne. There is an element of surprise to the typical Queen Anne home. The roof is steeply pitched and irregular. The overall shape of the house is asymmetrical.


Eastlake is named after Charles L. Eastlake (1833-1906), an English architect who wrote “Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details,” published in 1868. It denotes the type of ornate trim of that period, which was angular, notched and carved as opposed to the curved trim.

Richardsonian Romanesque

Wow the Richardsonian Romanesque makes a powerful statement!  Derived during the Victorian Era, this type of architecture is rugged-stone constructed with round towers, cone-shaped roofs, columns and pilasters with spirals and leaf designs, low broad “Roman” arches over arcades and doorways, and patterned masonry arches over windows.

Because the average person could not afford a home of stone most of the Richardsonian Romanesque homes were public buildings or homes for the wealthy.