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Craftsman bungalow remodel in Salt Lake City

Front_porch_entry_after Renovation Design Group, a residential architecturel firm with offices in Seattle and Salt Lake City, transformed a very bland, ho-hum 1924 bungalow in Salt Lake City into a beautiful piece of livable art. This Craftsman-style bungalow remodel involved the entire house, from the landscaping and exterior finish to the addition of Craftsman detailing in every interior room. Some modern touches are a bit anti-Craftsman (odd inset ceilings, can lights, ceiling vents, non-Arts and Crafts cabinet detailing in the kitchen and a few other places, but they don't ruin it by any means.

Aaron and Carolyn weren’t in a rush to get started. They had lived in their 1924 Craftsman-style bungalow for about a decade and had made several small changes that kept the space livable. But while they knew they should probably do a major remodel, they were content to spend lots of time thinking about it but not much time working toward it.

“We knew from the time we moved in that we were going to remodel, but it was just the two of us, and it was hard to get motivated,” Carolyn says.

But when their daughter came along, they needed more room and they wanted to make the home safer for their child. So they knew the time had come to move from dreaming about a remodel to getting the work done. Their home was built by Carolyn’s grandfather, and it was the home in which her mother was raised. So there were plenty of sentimental reasons to keep the house while modernizing it for a growing family.

They engaged Renovation Design Group to help them figure out how to do that. Architect Annie Vernon, using her own ideas and those brought by the couple, took them through several options for updating their home. The couple decided on a plan they loved and moved forward. But after engineering evaluations, they could see that the original masonry walls would not meet code and would require extensive reengineering to make the remodel work. It would be an expensive process with no guarantees. So they had to make the painful decision to teardown grandpa’s house—an option they had not entertained. “It was a hard decision,” remembers Carolyn. But since reinforcing the old walls “just didn’t make sense” in the end, they went back to the drawing board and began planning for a tear-down and rebuild.

If they couldn’t keep the original house, they were definitely committed to keeping grandpa’s spirit. “We liked the style of the house, and if we were going to have to rebuild it, we wanted to keep the style,” says Carolyn. So with Annie’s help, they designed another craftsman bungalow. The original home had once had a large front porch, so they brought it back in the new design. They also kept thematic elements from the previous design and incorporated them into the new house, such as a half wall and pillars separating their living, dining room, and new craftsman bungalow kitchen, as well as lower ceilings in portions of the house to maintain the cozy cottage feel.

Aaron and Carolyn also salvaged materials from the old house and reused them in the new house. The moldings around the windows are either the exact wood used in the previous home or an exact replica. They also reused glass block for a living room window, adorned new doors with old knobs, and kept the fireplace mantel. And the exterior brick was meticulously preserved, cleaned, and re-laid.

photo courtesy of Renovation Design Group