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Addition to Landmark 1860s Italianate Home Respects the Past

Home Renewal, Architectural Resource


  • General Contractor: Donald Huff
  • Michael Klement

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Project Description

The design challenge for this landmark 1860s-era Italianate home in Dexter, Mich., was to provide the clients — a growing young family — with a significant addition that would respect the historic home. Specifically, the clients wanted a better entry experience, more storage, and an attached garage. And, says project architect Michael Klement, “the owner clearly understood the concept of stewardship and sensitivity to the home’s historical character. He said he didn’t want to be known as ‘the guy who screwed up this beautiful old home.’”

The solution, Klement says, “was to provide a ‘hyphen’ — a daily entry/mud room breezeway connector linking the main house with a new garage and in-law suite above.

When considering scale, massing, and proportion, Klement took into account the home’s curbside view. Detailing in trim, ornament, and form was taken from the existing home and incorporated into the new addition, creating almost a mirror image. The judges singled out the garage addition, appreciating how it looks more like a carriage house than a garage.

“The whole project is sensitively done,” the judges said. “The massing is good, the proportions great. It’s very true to the original historic house.”

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