Wood, stucco give bungalow facelift

Couple worked with architect to create exterior that reflected their personal style

After 28 years and two interior renovations, Lynda and Ron Roth decided it was time to address the exterior of their sprawling brick bungalow in North York .

A big motivation was the water, which poured over their front door, creating ice build-ups in the winter.

Not only would a new façade fix this problem, but their home would better reflect their personal style, offer improved aesthetics and value.

A simple stucco treatment was their first thought, but when they approached a stucco company, they found that a design would be essential.

After spreading the word to family and friends about their need for an architect, they met Richard Librach, a Toronto architect who is seeing a growing interest from empty nesters looking to improve their curb appeal. They were impressed by his work.

But when Ron told Librach that they were looking for “conventional stucco,” Librach, who by this time had gained a sense of the Roth’s style, told them “it wasn’t what they wanted. It would be too cold and they would be unhappy.”

Instead, Librach brought out materials such as stone, cedar and stucco for the Roths to look at.

“We looked at other projects to see possibilities to create warmth without reaching to the traditional, which made no sense with the Roth’s housing type.”

After seeing Librach’s work, particularly his mix of materials and the sense of space he creates, the Roths had a sense of what they were looking for.

“We knew we weren’t looking for a modern look that would lose its appeal; we wanted something that would be timeless,” recalls Lynda.

Librach created some sketches that responded to the bungalow’s low-lying, horizontal shape. One of the biggest challenges (facing many of today’s homeowners) was the large garage door.

Librach’s solution was to use the existing lines and create a horizontal canopy that extended out from the roof line from the far left side of the home to the start of the garage. This, along with the use of mahogany wood siding on the left and stucco on the right, helped to break the façade into two sections.

The soffits are made out of clear cedar, which works well with the mahogany colour. And to give the sense of movement, a portion of wood framing, which resembles a fence, extends past the actual house. Librach says this is meant to suggest there is not a beginning or an end.

Librach wasn’t about to ignore the garage door. He wanted to give it sculptural qualities to add interest.

Painted the same mahogany colour as the siding, the new door features a section of vertical louvres that contrast with the horizontal portion. It is then framed in brushed aluminum, which looks like stainless steel, tying it to the windows and doors, which are also framed this way. Lynda loves having all the windows accentuated with brushed aluminum. Before, they were all framed with different materials so they did not match.

To bring the front door out visually, a vertical column was added, which was finished on the top and bottom with brushed aluminum, giving a hint of the contemporary decor inside.

This is a very small piece of the renovation, but it adds interest and makes it unique, says Lynda.

When the project was finished at the end of the summer, both the Roths and Librach were pleased, and attribute their success to the collaborative effort. The Roths say that through Librach, they were able to articulate their feelings into reality.

“We have no horror stories and we came in at budget,” says Lynda. “We were even able to work with some existing things like the front door, which was painted to match the siding and the side gate, which was spray painted to match the aluminum.”

Librach says there is a demand from people for this type of exterior renovation, because not everyone has the budget for a new home, some people love their house and want to update it, and the elements take their toll on the exterior.

About Shelly Sanders

Shelly (represented by Amy Tipton, Signature Literary Agency) is the author of THE RACHEL TRILOGY--Rachel's Secret, Rachel's Promise & Rachel's Hope (Second Story Press).Rachel's Secret received a Starred Review in Booklist and was named a Notable Read from the Association of Jewish Libraries. Rachel's Hope was shortlisted for the Vine Awards for Canadian Literature in 2016. Before turning to fiction, Shelly was a freelance journalist for the Toronto Star, National Post, Maclean's, and Canadian Living.
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