Bringing an historic home back to life while preserving its traditional look can be a challenge for contractors. So when homeowner Jill Danly wanted to re-side her 120-year-old summer cottage in Lake Bluff, Illinois, contractor Greg Bednarski of Siding & Windows Group Ltd. knew that using products that capture the charm of the past without sacrificing performance was key.

Homeowners are doing their re-side homework

Originally intending to tear down the house and build a new one in its place, Jill and her husband decided to re-side and revitalize their historic home instead. “Homeowners are doing their homework before starting the re-side process and calling a contractor,” Greg says. “So when Jill and her husband were ready to re-side, they wanted to know about using James Hardie® siding and trim for their home.”

“Jill’s background research about James Hardie products also made working together very easy because she knew, coming into the project, that James Hardie offered many profiles that could bring her design vision to life,” Greg says. “My team and I went out to the house and took a look at the old wood siding, which had seen better days. We worked with Jill to find the right profiles that fit her vision for the home. She ultimately chose James Hardie lap siding and trim that give you the traditional look of wood, while also being lower maintenance than wood.”

Preserving the historic look with modern materials

Keeping on top of product innovations helps a contractor know which products will ideally suit their customers’ projects. For this summer cottage re-side, Greg recommended products that would help preserve the historic nature of the home while offering lower maintenance than traditional wood.

“As an Elite Preferred member of the James Hardie Contractor Alliance Program, I’ve worked with James Hardie products for about 10 years,” Greg says. “So I know that the fiber cement siding not only creates a clean look that preserves traditional home aesthetics, but it will also stand up to the weather and elements of this northshore Chicago suburb.” Compared to wood and wood composite siding, fiber cement siding is resistant to shrinking, swelling and warping from daily and seasonal changes in heat and humidity, helping homeowners save time and money on upkeep.

Turning a teardown into a lasting classic

The re-side completely transformed the Danly’s Lake Bluff home and gave it new life. “This house was a very neglected house, especially on the outside,” Greg says. “The homes in this neighborhood are historic, older homes, and after completing the re-side, Jill’s house has siding and trim that deliver all the traditional elements of this area, but with the added benefit of performance that will help preserve the look for years to come. Judging from the neighbors’ reaction, I think everybody’s thrilled with the outcome.”

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