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The Lexington Colonial House: Bridging the Exterior Design Gap

As a young Colonial gets additional space for TOH TV, it also receives a face-lift that feels both contemporary and true to its roots

Curb Appeal True to Colonial Style: After

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

It might sound funny to worry about the architectural integrity of a house that's younger than the entire Baby Boomer generation, but for homeowners Jody and Jeremy Kieval, preserving the overall identity of their 1966 Garrison Colonial, the project house on this season of This Old House TV, was important. "We saw the renovation as an opportunity to improve the curb appeal while staying true to the Colonial style," says Jody.

Shown: The house in the Boston suburb of Lexington, Massachusetts, was remodeled for the current season of TOH TV to add space for the family of five.

Architect: Bill Hubner, Incite Architecture, Lexington, MA

Architectural color consultant: Bonnie Krims Color Studio; 508-751-1141

Paint: Benjamin Moore's 2134-60 Whitestone (walls), OC-37 Glacier White (trim) and 2135-20 Stonecutter (door, shutters, and lattice)

Landscape designer: Timothy Lee Landscape Design, Lexington, MA; 781-862-8889

Exterior Design Afterthoughts: Before

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

When the couple bought the home back in 2011, they knew they'd need to expand in order to create separate bedrooms for their three girls. Adding on above the attached two-car garage seemed like the logical—and economical—way to do that. They signed up principal architect Bill Hubner of Incite Architecture, in Lexington, to design it. "Rather than trying to make this addition look like an extension of the main house, or even like it was built at the same time, we focused on making sure elements looked like they belonged together visually," Hubner says.

Shown: The secondary entry and two-car garage looked like afterthoughts.

Carriage House-Style Garage Doors

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Following that strategy, Hubner designed a contemporary asymmetrical front-gabled roof over the garage addition, but, in a nod to the home's style, flanked it with a shed dormer, a common feature of early Colonials. A side-gabled roof over the mudroom on the first floor mirrors the house's roofline and connects the addition to the main house.

Shown: Board-and-batten-style galvanized-steel doors from Garaga dress up the two-car garage, evoking an attached carriage house.

Garage doors: Eastman Estate Carriage Doors; garaga.com

PVC trimboard: Kleer; thetapcogroup.com

Farmer's Porch With Doric Columns

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

The changes to the other half of the facade make the house even more Colonial than it was originally. TOH TV general contractor Tom Silva and his crew built a farmer's porch, meaning one that occupies a single story and spans the width of the house. It conceals the Garrison Colonial's telltale cantilever, where the second story overhung the first, but it also creates an inviting gathering space. The Doric columns further reinforce the Colonial style, as do divided-light windows, simple louvered shutters, and clapboard siding.

Shown: Simple Doric columns evoke early Colonial Revivals, but the porch floor forgoes the classic painted look; the floorboards, milled from ipe, a Brazilian hardwood, can be left untreated.

Columns: Turncraft

Bluestone Walkway and Ornamental Shrubs

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

With the facade fixed up, the yard needed attention too. A towering cluster of gnarled pines in front shaded a large swath of roof, creating an ideal breeding ground for moss—and rot. "And when you've got a tight grouping of trees like that, they prevent other plants from growing," says TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook, who removed the trees. In their place, the Kievals chose a variety of ornamental shrubs, including hydrangeas and a privacy hedge of inkberry (Ilex glabra); Kousa dogwood trees will fill the yard with beautiful white blossoms in spring.

The finishing touch is a new bluestone walkway, with pavers set in a classic running-bond pattern, that connects the porch to the street. Visitors no longer have to walk up the driveway. As for the Kievals, they couldn't be more pleased. "We moved to Lexington because it's such a tight-knit community, the kind of place where you can have a spontaneous gathering of friends and neighbors," says Jody. "We finally feel like our house is inviting enough that people will want to stop by!"

Shown: The inviting new porch sets the tone for the renovation, while a new bluestone walk leads the way from the sidewalk.