Tiny attic window... want to enlarge... Historic district.
Christina Brine
April 16, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Help! The backside of my house is visible from a cross-street... so any changes I make must be spproved by the historic committee
The rules are based on what a homeowner most likely would have done at the time it was built. My bungalow was built in 1929. The only window I like for my attic is from tje 2nd floor of a yacht club circa 1909. Problem... the Historic board might comment on the fact that I don't own a boat house and that it isn't on the water! Plus, the window I like.
. Is for the front... and also has pillars below... which I don't. Do you have ideas on an attractive window shape that is historically acccurate? Or... even better... have you seen a bungalow with a window like the 2nd floor of the yacht club? P.S. the 3rd photo is of a house down the street from me... I am hoping this might sway the board!
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
flair lighting
what yacht club?
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 3:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Edgartown, Ma. EYC
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
flair lighting
is there a bedroom up there or just attic?
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
It's unfinished and completely open. I'd like to add a bath and make it a master bedroom suite. Nothing fancy. Ceilings are all wide triangles. Plan to keep open feel... board & batten wood... like a tree fort.
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
flair lighting
make it a vent, or slat style.
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Patricia Colwell
This is a 1929 cottage, could you get away with this
1 Like   April 16, 2014 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
flair lighting
why change it at all, seems look great.
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Pretty. Dark attic though. The back faces South. I am hoping for larger. Also, must be big enough for a fireman to enter as per building code.
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 4:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
I do like the look of my tiny window, and of the windows that you have all suggested... if only my attic weren't so gloomy! Also, the historic committee dislikes skylights... and my house is visible from the street on all sides!
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brickln
Can you add windows to the other gables? What about skylight tubes and a false chimney to block the look?
There are ways to install skylights to make them less noticeable, especially if you use film on the glass to match the roof color.
If nothing else, you should be able to replicate the window you have and add one on each side. If you can bump it out, you'll et even more light.

Seattle, WA: Lisa Hebner
Renovations & Remodels
Attic bedroom
0 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 16, 2014 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
The windows in your photo of the white attic are fabulous... love the interior too! I have a chimney on one side of my house... so the historic committee might laugh hysterically at that idea ;) Film on the glass to hide the skylight... will it hide interior light at nighttime too? Skylight tubes... I so love the concept... but my roof would look like it has acne... dag nabbit! Bump out the existing window for side lights... hmmm... interesting... will need to play with that idea... thanks!
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Oooh... the cabinets on the left side of the wbite attic... hmmm... I once copied a similar photo... that had open shelves instead of cabinets. It made my boring staircase a journey versus the means to an end.
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sstarr
Here are a couple of options for you, using Kolbe windows:
6 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 16, 2014 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bungalowmo
First off...what an adorable bungalow!!

Second...I like the 3 long windows from bricklin's attic bedroom pic best. sstarr's photoshop is pretty spot-on, but as far as the scale, just a tad smaller.

I live in a 1916 home just outside an Historic district, so I'm fairly familiar with the kinds of things they like & dislike.

I don't think a bump out is anything they'd easily approve, but I think I could see them approving the 3 window idea. They won't go for vinyl, trust me.

Are you in MA? I know this woman: http://www.heartwoodrestoration.com/contact.html

She is amazing & may be able to find an Historic window for you for that space. This is her life...window restoration. I'm sure they have "foundlings" at their shop that they fix & sell.

Call her & tell her that Mo from old house web told you to contact her. She will be ecstatic to find you exactly what you need! The committee will also be happy to know that what you're putting in is also approx 90-100 years old. (she makes them look like NEW!!)
2 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 16, 2014 at 6:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Sstarr... thank you for your digital windows! I have been using scissors, felt tips and scotch tape... which is easier than messy Elmers glue... so not tech saavy! Your images are very helpful.
0 Likes   April 16, 2014 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Bungalowmo.... thank you, thank you, thank you! I live in Connecticut & will definitely contact her... she sounds like a treasure! BTW... this might be great for your website... have you ever heard of Green Demolition? It is a non profit... used high end kitchens... entire kitchens... http://greendemolitions.com/
1 Like   April 16, 2014 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brickln
Well, I've got a 20's home with 2 chimneys- one for the heating system and a fireplace.
Good luck Christina! The neighbor's home looks extremely modified, so hopefully you won't get too much trouble from the Commision.
0 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 17, 2014 at 5:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
victorianbungalowranch
Did you post this twice? I put my answer here:
http://www.houzz.com/discussions/944722/Tiny-attic-window-faces-South--Historic-rules-

Just because a house down the street has what looks like might be modern oversized windows doesn't mean they will approve it for your house, especially since it is a totally different style of home with a full second story.

You really need to get a designer involved to get the details right, if only to do a professional rendering to scale for the board and full specs. There may be structural and egress and space planning issues as well.

Pics of the front would be helpful. Do all 4 sides face a street? If not, the side that doesn't is usually the place to make the greatest change.

ALSO, set a meeting with the board's support staff, probably in the Planning Dept., to hash out your ideas and get a feel of the board's expectations. Some boards are more lenient than others. This could save you a lot of time, and grief, in the long run.
1 Like   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 17, 2014 at 6:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
The Maine Building Company
There are a few things that are an important part of this conversation.
The first is obviously the aesthetic, and whether you honor the intent and architecture of the original structure. That is somewhat subjective.
Another major item to consider that I haven't seen addressed here, is Egress. There are a multitude of codes and requirements addressing the Egress requirements, or means of exit, in the event of an emergency such as a fire. This is particularly important if this is going to be bedroom space.
0 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 17, 2014 at 6:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
victorianbungalowranch
Here are a couple of craftsmans with appropriately scaled dormer additions: Hamptons Cottage
(So well done I thought it was original)

Columbia Street Residence (rear addition, can tell not original, but nicely scaled)

Technically speaking, additions should be differentiated from the original. This is the most controversial part of historic preservation guidelines, because it is really difficult to make an addition fit in scale and materials, yet not be so close that most people would think it is original. I think this example does it well. It is also on the back, where there is a lot more flexibility in design. Breaking a shed dormer in two minimizes its size--most shed dormer additions are too wide and too close to the sides of the house to look right. But around the time your house was built, they started doing bigger side shed style dormers to give houses a more Cotswold cottage effect, and to break down the mass of the second story. Also common on Dutch Colonials.

Summer's Garden
Gable dormer might be an option--can't tell from picture, but do you have a cross-gable roof? If not, you could do a dormer with a tiny inset porch or balustrade or just a sort of cut out like seen here on the other side. Would be pretty pricey though. This one is roughly even with the face of the house, but the roof wraps around it. This sort of detail is quite common in Craftsman houses, mostly for the front though in side-gabled houses.

Gracious front porch

This is a complete remodeling of the front of a modest craftsman that had a bad porch extension. Very nicely detailed and scaled, but clearly modern because of the open lattice in the front, steeper than normal roof pitch, somewhat exaggerated tapered pillars. The railing is a nice way to handle the taller (36") than typical historic (around 30") railing height, with horizontals and staggered spacing. I noticed your porch has been altered to have a side stairway and a railing across the porch. Some landscaping, maybe even some vines, could help soften this area and ease the transition.
1 Like   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 17, 2014 at 6:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Thank you all for your comments and ideas! 1) Yes, all four sides are visible from streets. 2) I made historically accurate updates to the front and one side of the house... adding an open porch for each. The front entry is now being built. Those changes were made... because the street light was beaming into my front and for the side... I had no place to hide my trash bins... they now have a hiding place. 3) Yes, I didn't know the earlier post went through... and since there were comments... I didn't want to lose the information gained. 4) I have an antique metal chain link fire escape... that I was planning to put in a built-in box under the window... would this be OK as an egress? I do love the look of the back... yet the windows are too small for egress or light!
0 Likes   April 17, 2014 at 6:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
butlera
You might just invite the historic committee members over for coffee and a visit. Explain your dilemma to them and show them the attic. If you ask their advice, they might prove to be a help rather than a hindrance. Good luck with this. You have a cute home! :)
2 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 17, 2014 at 7:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
victorianbungalowranch
Sorry, the board members can't legally meet with you for coffee. They are a legal public body and all meetings have to be advertised and open to the public and board business should not be discussed, except maybe in the most general way, outside of these meetings. . It could also create a conflict of interest situation. BUT you can set a meeting with the board's professional support staff and get a feel for what will fly and some feedback on your ideas.

I don't know if the existing fire escape will meet modern egress standards. What you are proposing is a major change to the existing building, and a change of use of the upper floor will not likely grandfather in inadequate egress. Usually a change of use triggers compliance with current building code, and if the renovation is equal to more than 1/2 of the building's value or adjusted basis, that could trigger it too. In most states, if you are a designated contributing building in a historic district (ask) there is a bit more flexibility with the building code, but not so much as to create a hazard.

This is something to ask about at city hall, and while you are at it, look into tax credits. Is it just a locally-designated district, hence the local design approval, or is it also a state/national register historic district? If it is listed, and your building is still considered a contributing structure (alterations could have changed this already) It will take longer to get everything approved, but you could get some major tax breaks--in most states 25% of capital improvements to the existing structure (not most additions) could be eligible.
2 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 17, 2014 at 7:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
VictorianBungalowRanch... again, thank you! Next week the Historic committee has it's bi-monthly meeting. I plan to be there and present my request for ideas and input. The responses I've been getting on Houzz have been extremely helpful :) . BTW... love the photo of the "Gracious Front Porch" you sent earlier... lots of subtle details!
0 Likes   April 17, 2014 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
victorianbungalowranch
Good luck! Unless you are on an island surrounded on all four sides by a street, your best bet is to alter the least dominant sides--historically what was in the rear of the building and the side facing another house, even if they are visable from a nearby street.
0 Likes   April 17, 2014 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
All sides are visible... I live near a cross street :(
0 Likes   April 17, 2014 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Windows... as options for my attic... what do you think? BTW, the second window is in the basement of a brick Chicago style bungalow. Yeah, basement... darn!
0 Likes   April 18, 2014 at 6:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Interesting... this photo is of a totally different house... but I'm noticing something... most bungalows have a lower horizontal line than mine. Where the attic wood shingles meet the board & batten of my house. When I change the attic window... would it be a good idea to add a few rows of wood shingles as well? I have board & batten on the rest of the house... and also 3 bump outs that are wood shingled... and the other triangle shapes are wood shingled.
0 Likes   April 18, 2014 at 6:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Other window shapes...
0 Likes   April 18, 2014 at 7:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Maybe too busy a look...
0 Likes   April 18, 2014 at 7:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
Hmmm...
0 Likes   April 18, 2014 at 7:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christina Brine
I did some research... yet still clueless as to a window idea for my attic. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback on theses photos. Some are a bit busy and others are for Spanish style.houses. I live in Connecticut... we do have some Spanish style bungalows here... but mine isn't one of them. Please help!
1 Like   April 18, 2014 at 7:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
victorianbungalowranch
Your house is very simple--don't fancy it up too much. The shingles are fine as they are, but you can get away with lowering the attic window a bit to squeeze in a bigger window. The key is to keep it proportional with the rest of the house, and don't put in a single window--double or triple it to keep the proportions of each window sash similar to what is on the ground floor.

You are looking at bungalows for the most part from the West Coast, which tend to be fairly squat. Chicago bungalows are a style unto themselves. Your house is fairly high above the ground, which gives it a bit different look. Gable-front bungalows except the temple style with a full inset porch ones are fairly uncommon in most places so you will find fewer examples (I have one too).

Again more pictures would be helpful, and I think they will be more inclined to approve if you keep the size moderate and do the biggest changes in the sides farthest away from the cross streets. The key is not just what is on other bungalows, but what looks right for your house.

I think the examples sstar did for you could work, especially if you lowered them just a bit so they don't look cramped.

Please get some design assistance before you invest a lot of money. The right person will save you time and money in the long run, and can untangle egress and structural issues. For example, is your staircase adequate? It should be 3 feet wide to meet code. If it is close, say 32" you might be able to get permission from the building inspector as a historic house. If it is only 24", probably not.
2 Likes   Thanked by Christina Brine    April 18, 2014 at 7:44AM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Tiny attic window faces South. Historic rules.
My attic is completely open... I wish to finish it...
Christina Brine
Historic District Remodel
The challenge here was to transform what was likely...
Boyer Architects LLC
TLC for a 1902 Beauty in the Hawthorne Historic District of Fargo ND
Set among huge oak trees on land originally owned by...
evadnais
Reform Architects
Completely renovated home in the Overbrook Historic District!
After: Completely renovated home in the Overbrook Historic...
Jackie Joy Properties
More Discussions
Please help with my dark living room full of instruments!
I'm trying to come up with the best design and furniture...
inmaryland
Dining room chair placement
When not in use, how far should the back of the dining...
pazzanop
giffc
bjvjccj
mahendrasinh555
Home Designer issue
Hi, I could really use some advice on an issue with...
jk1127
Dark Bedroom that faces the North with no Light.
It looks bright and i have not done any redecorating...
jmk578
© 2014 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™