I have nothing against remodeling homes; I spent a big part of my life doing just that to people’s homes--even my own. My own house was built in 1930. I would not consider it a Northwest Craftsman Style—but perhaps closer to that than anything else. The long range remodeling plans for the home was to bring it a little closer to the craftsman style.
In the 1960s someone rather tragically altered the home in a “60s” direction, which I have been ruthlessly working to correct over the years. Perhaps the most egregious of the errors was taking out the original front door and its side lights and moving the door to one side. A large piece of wavy glass, 34” x 80,” was installed in the space next to the door. The door was no longer the wood door that most likely matched the side-lights, but was instead a solid wood flat panel door. Neither the glass nor the door fit the style of the house as can be seen in the following picture.
I have no real issue with morphing a house in an entirely new direction from where it started, but remodelers should keep in mind the commitment that this new direction entails. If significant design changes are made, it is a good idea to carry those design changes throughout the structure—if we are to make the home “believable.” More “eclectic” styles are more forgiving, while more rigid styles are less forgiving. Flat panel, hollow core doors in a “colonial” is just plain wrong for example.
Changing this front entryway door back to a center door with side-lights was the last step in transforming this home both closer to a craftsman style and away from the 60’s. It was prompted by coming home one day and finding the door jamb in the middle of the living room floor and three laptops having escaped through the open door.
The project is now complete and door is an out-swing type door—which is quite difficult to kick in. Needless to say we have waved good bye to the large sheet of wavy glass.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board