Project Spotlight: Enlightened Exterior

Jackson & LeRoy, Highland Group invigorate curb appeal and functionality of outdated Salt Lake City home.

May 27, 2014
Jackson & LeRoy increased the pitch of the roof, which allowed them to incorporate gables and additional fascia and soffit details.

Jackson & LeRoy increased the pitch of the roof, which allowed them to incorporate gables and additional fascia and soffit details.

The extensive renovation of this 1940s home presented an ample opportunity to refurbish its outdated exterior. Although the owners anticipated enhancing the curb appeal of their ranch-style house, they remained sensitive about how the finished product would blend in with the existing economic and social fabric of the neighborhood.

Jackson & LeRoy, a local remodeling company, explored options with the clients and brought in designers Tim Furner and Tim Wyatt of Highland Group, also based in Salt Lake City, to assist with the exterior facelift as well as the whole-house renovation. The home’s dimensions already pushed up against property lines, so any major alterations would have to be made within the existing footprint of the residence.

“It was a red-brick rambler with a single-car garage—it had no personality,” says Furner, who has worked on many other homes in the neighborhood. The primary objective for Furner and the rest of the team became how to create visual interest on the outside of the home while keeping the architecture as traditional and timeless as possible.

Room within

Because the existing house provided shelter for only one vehicle, the owners prioritized adding a second stall to the garage. In fact, increasing the garage space dictated the design vision from the very beginning of the remodel. “If we couldn’t have done that, we probably wouldn’t have done the project,” says Jeremy Jackson, who founded Jackson & LeRoy Remodeling in 2005 with college friend Brandon LeRoy.

Company Snapshot

Company: Jackson & LeRoy Remodeling
Owner:  Jeremy Jackson, Brandon LeRoy
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
2013 sales volume: $12 million
Projected 2014 sales volume: $14 million

In most other cases, the firm would have just added onto the garage by expanding the structure into the side yard; however, the minimal space between this home and its neighbor precluded any kind of setback. As a result, Jackson and Furner decided to move the kitchen—which had been adjacent to the garage—to the rear of the house. This relocation afforded them enough area to construct a second stall for the garage within the home’s existing footprint and also allowed them to open up the floor plan by blending the kitchen with the dining and family rooms.

“Like a lot of older homes, the floor plan was very compartmentalized,” Jackson says. “They wanted to create a larger kitchen where everyone could gather and be part of the kitchen environment.”

The old kitchen sat directly above a family room in the basement, which presented Jackson and Furner with the project’s most pressing challenge. They had to find a way to establish a second stall in the garage while keeping the lower-level living space intact. The team installed two large steel beams in the basement at a 90-degree angle for support, effectively transferring the weight load of the garage addition onto a new interior spot footing.

During the demolition, the clients suggested excavating underneath the existing garage stall and utilizing that space as a bonus exercise room. In order to accommodate their request, the team had to incorporate a steel deck—not a typical residential application—below the entire garage and pour concrete over it to form the new floor. While not on the original wish list, the extra basement area now serves as a place where the owners hone their cycling skills.

Changing face

With the garage expansion in hand, Jackson and Furner turned their attention to the front elevation of the house. The roof had a relatively flat pitch—Jackson estimates 4:12—so the team opted for a new roof with a steeper pitch to give the home a more dynamic look. The greater slope also allowed the firms to leave the existing roof on the house and engineer new trusses to fit overtop, saving time and money because they did not have to remove the old roof and existing ceiling.

“It also was able to keep the living spaces protected during construction throughout the winter,” says Jackson, who extended the chimney with new brick and topped it with a new cap.

The updated roofline permitted Jackson and Furner to fashion gables on the home’s façade and heighten its visual appeal. They instituted the smallest one above the approach to the front door and used white, classical columns on each side for support. Brick, courtyard-type walls surrounded by a landscaped yard help create a sense of entry from the driveway up to the front porch.

Jackson and Furner placed one of the larger gables above the main window in the front of the house. During construction they advocated boxing out that window to generate more visual contrast with the gable end. The clients approved the alteration to the window, which formed a cozy seat just inside the unit and extended the home office by a couple of extra feet. “It makes the office space feel much larger than it actually is,” Jackson says.

White fascia and soffit detail complements the three gables and integrates them seamlessly with the soft-blue fiber-cement siding used on the majority of the house. The clients sought a home that felt comfortable to everyone who entered, and the upgrades to the front elevation ensured the most literal interpretation of that goal.

Outdoor revival

The only addition to the house occurred at the rear where Jackson and Furner designed the new kitchen. The existing home had a deck but the space remained uncovered and exposed to the west, so the area received an abundance of sunshine and heat. French doors on the back of the house opened up to this deck, but the clients sought a more comfortable space with a better relationship between indoor and outdoor living.

“They wanted us to create a nice outdoor space that felt connected to the home but also would be an area they could actually spend time,” Jackson says.

He and Jackson made sure the new deck—whose surface is bluestone—tucked neatly underneath a new overhang but still offered enough room for the owners to sit, grill, eat, and entertain guests. The firms even incorporated the space below the deck as waterproof storage area accessible only from the backyard, which still includes a locust tree the companies resolved to preserve.

“They weren’t using the yard because it wasn’t accessible [and] it wasn’t covered,” Furner says.

The new kitchen can access the deck via existing French doors, which now form a fluid opening with the updated entrance to the back of the house. Jackson and Furner specified new French doors for this primary entryway but repurposed the old set; they installed them on the lower level of the rear addition—below the kitchen—so that the owners can get into the basement from the backyard and vice versa.

Solid contributions

Effective communication and full cooperation among the owners, contractors, and designers ensured a successful renovation of this home. The clients wanted to increase the functionality of their house yet also sharpen its appearance without alienating the rest of the neighborhood. Jackson & LeRoy joined with Highland Group to devise a plan that would expand the garage, extend the kitchen, and rejuvenate the home’s exterior all while staying within the existing footprint and the surrounding context.

Along the way, the team discovered the means to build a near-walk-out lower level, carve out an intimate niche in a front window, and include a bonus exercise room for cycling. They worked within site constraints to produce a reengineered house that adds charm to the original form and boosts curb appeal for the foreseeable future.

“The end product is essentially a brand-new home in the shell of an existing one,” Furner says. PR


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