You would think that it is an easy decision whether to renovate or to take an existing home down to the foundation. Many times, that decision is complex as well as difficult. It is not uncommon for a homeowner to come to us with a list of changes to a home they have just purchased that are very extensive. We as architects are asked if it would be better to demolish the home or work around what is left after we make the changes. Most of the time we manage to work around the existing home.
The circumstances which can tip the scale toward a complete redo are numerous and cumulative. Some of those problems with an existing home can include the following: Original 2×4 walls that need enlarging to accommodate current insulation to meet code, old and dangerous wiring system that needs to be changed, the need to rearrange the existing layout completely to make it work for the current family, all of the windows and doors must be replaced, roofing and roof structure needs to be replaced, mechanical and plumbing systems need to be replaced, and if the homeowner wants to change the entire look of the home. As you might imagine, if all the previous items were changed on a home, almost nothing would be left and a new build would be better and almost certainly cheaper.
If a home has historic or sentimental value, the calculation can change completely.
In this case, we saved and renovated most of the first floor but added new brick and a second story. A deciding factor was the extensive landscaping and patios that would have been destroyed if the original home had been taken down.
Even though we designed the new home around the existing home when construction began the contractor convinced everyone that a better home could be built if we took the existing home down to the foundation and built the new home at no extra charge.
There wasn’t much left of this home after all the changes were made.
After Photos by Rob Karosis