Shingle Transformation: Chatham, NJ

After: the house transformed
After: the house transformed

A book entitled Nice House, by Samuel G. White, FAIA,defines a "nice house" as follows: “It is a house found in a nice place, defined by hospitable climates and communities where people choose to live among other people. In these places a combination of constraints, ranging from zoning ordinances to traditions of civility, have established a social contract that somehow limits how far we can impose on the goodwill of our neighbors, at least in terms of what we can build next door.  Nice Houses reflect these constraints, and they are the better for it.”

White sums up the Nice House by stating “...that these modest and neighborly houses enhance the beauty of their surroundings, that they reflect the highest level of skill on the part of the designers who create them, that they are a constant source of pleasure and satisfaction to the people who live in them.”

With that said, this particular house was lacking in detail and authenticity, but resided within a nice town, with a nice Main Street, and was surrounded by nice people, making the home's location its most redeeming quality.

Before
Before
Rendering of concept for the transformation
Rendering of concept for the transformation

Enter new roof elements, architectural detail and authentic siding materials, and all that has changed: The faux brick façade and composite shingles were removed and the house was clad in authentic cedar shingles and siding. The center gambrel styled dormer roof has become the home's defining architectural feature. It is flanked by two shed dormers with large windows centered on existing box windows below. To bring all the elements together, an extended overhang at the door was created at the gambrel. Brackets reinforce the depth by casting shadows.

 Shingled gambrel detail

Shingled gambrel detail

While the corner lot setback ordinances would require a variance to expand the home's footprint, useable space was increased by redefining the roof framing within allowable regulations. The house now has presence on its stately corner perch. The interiors are more gracious with additional natural light flowing in, as well as expanded usable interior space.

“The end results constantly draw positive feedback from our friends, family and neighbors. Our home is now exactly the way we dreamed it could be.”  — IH

That makes this a “Nice House”.

 Extended gambrel overhang and bracket detail

Extended gambrel overhang and bracket detail

"Our entire experience was exceptional, especially after everyone warned us about how difficult renovations can be-- we even managed to live in during the renovation! The end result constantly draws positive feedback from our friends, family and neighbors. Our home is now exactly the way we dreamed it could be."  IH