If you are like many people in Mt. Lebanon, you love the character of your home and neighborhood. You probably recognize that it’s unique, and want to retain that charm as you bring much needed updates to keep the house in good repair. As you plan projects for the new year’s budget, here are a few pointers to help you get started:
Know what makes the style of your home special. If you understand the role that a particular type of gutter or window plays in the design of your home, you might be more willing to put in the extra expense and time to replicate the original. Not only will this help retain the historic character of your home, it increases the chance you won’t look at your design decision and gasp: “What was I thinking?!” Even worse than compromising its historic integrity is destroying what you loved about your home in the first place.
Focus on the front. This doesn’t mean that you work on the front of the home first. It means that if you must compromise on replication due to expense or inability to secure necessary materials, whether it comes to installing new windows or replacing slate roofs, make it a priority to preserve the historic appearance of the front of the home first. Can’t finding matching slate tile? Move good tiles from the back to the front, and replace the back with new.
Additions on back. Many homes in Mt. Lebanon were built in a time when McMansions weren’t all the rage. It goes to reason that your little post-war ranch won’t accommodate your modern family. Want to expand? Don’t enclose that groovy porch on the front of your four-square, or stick another floor on top of your ranch. Keep in mind point number two, and add to the back.
To learn more about the styles of historic homes in Mt. Lebanon, and how to identify and renovate them, check out the Living with Styles articles posted here: http://ebooks.mtlebanon.org/lws/mtl-lws/. These articles were written by John Conti, current architecture writer for the Tribune-Review.