Homeowners take pride in preserving the historic look and feel of their homes. For Jill Danly, owner of a more than 120-year-old summer cottage in Lake Bluff, Illinois, capturing the charm of the past without sacrificing performance was key for her re-side project. “The home has simple lines and was one of the original cottages in Lake Bluff,” Jill says. The village was a popular summer getaway destination for Chicago’s elite during the latter half of the 19th century.

Originally intending to tear down the house and build a new one in its place, Jill and her husband decided to re-side and renovate their historic home, selecting James Hardie® lap siding and trim for the exterior. “Thank goodness we were able to turn this neglected home into a treasure,” Jill says, “I’ve had people from the community ask me if this was new construction – our 1887 home now appears new!”

Selecting the right products for the project
Keeping on top of product innovations helps a contractor know which products will ideally suit their customers’ projects. For the Danly's re-side, Jill and her husband worked with a contractor to select exterior products that would help preserve the historic nature of their cottage while offering lower maintenance than traditional wood. “Our goal was to live and grow old in a modern cottage that requires less maintenance,” Jill says. “I wanted a clean look with horizontal lap siding, and we achieved that with our selection of James Hardie products.”

Historic look of wood with the performance of fiber cement
Jill says they also chose the leading fiber cement manufacturer because of the product’s attractive look of wood. “We were able to see local applications of James Hardie products, and I appreciated that I had to get up close to determine that it wasn’t wood,” she says. Compared to wood and wood composite siding, fiber cement siding is resistant to swelling and warping from weather stress, helping homeowners save time spent on upkeep.

Jill’s background as an architect and her family legacy in the industry (her father was the late Chicago architect Gerald Horn) helped steer the design of the re-side. Having trained under her father, Jill wanted to carry on the “less is more” aspect of his Miesian design style. “We created a soft, modern look with an ethereal quality. It’s clean and has a special nod to the historical nature of the home,” she says.

Turning a teardown into a lasting classic
Jill particularly loves how the re-side transformed her house from a teardown into a classic cottage. “We were living in a home that needed a lot of love, or the wrecking ball,” she says, “but we did not settle for a patch job and we did not walk away from a home that has given us so many great memories.” With the much needed re-side and renovation complete, the Danly's historic home is not only revived but ready to take on the future.

More Information