The Best-Laid Plans

At the end of the last exciting episode, we had worked out our renovation plans thoroughly, and were just starting to look for an architect to whip them into shape for presentation to the Cultural Heritage Commission. Getting that done, and getting our plans successfully through the approval process, proved to be far more difficult and time-consuming than we had reason to expect. Nevertheless, all's well that ends well; the Commission approved our plan with only a few minor changes.

We did make one major change of our own from our original plans as described in the chapter "The New Old Farm House" in the last volume: we added a full-height basement under the rear addition in order to gain needed room for utilities, storage and general use. Also, while I didn't discuss the garage design in detail, we did find it necessary to abandon our original idea to build a standard gable-front structure, because with the roof pitch necessary to match that of the house the garage would have been higher than local zoning codes allow. While at first this appeared to be a serious impediment, it proved ultimately to be quite fortunate, for our architect came up with a far superior design (which you will see in the next chapter).

None of the changes ultimately required by the Commission had a significant impact. The only change involving the existing structure had to do with the faux-masonry beveled wood panels cladding the foundation. Our plan called for casting the design of these panels directly into the new concrete foundation, which would have been visually equivalent to the original but more durable and easier to maintain. The Commission vetoed this, requiring us to reattach the original panels over the new concrete, replacing those too damaged to reuse with new panels made to match the original. This is a reasonable requirement, for the Bungalow Heaven rules specify that original building materials must be preserved and reused wherever possible.

The Commission also raised a number of objections concerning the ornamentation on the new construction, a critical element considering that the Queen Anne architectural style is largely defined by its ornamentation. The rules state that new construction must be differentiated from existing structures in order to avoid creating the false impression that the new construction was part of the existing structure. While we took great pains to comply with this rule, the Commission at first wanted drastically increased differentiation over our plan as submitted. Fortunately, they listened to our arguments, and rescinded most of the changes. We are quite happy with the plan as approved.

Next: Worth A Thousand Words

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