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Behind the Scenes: Transforming a Westerly ranch

This little house will grow a whole story and assume a new style

Work is under way for the 41st season of This Old House, with TOH home builder Jeff Sweenor’s crew tackling a ranch in Westerly, RI.

The original one-story house will expand into a two-story Dutch Colonial for a family with young children.

Lori Foley, architectural designer for Sweenor Builders, says: “The original ranch design is a perfect starting point to create a Colonial-style layout. Our homeowner prefers the look of a Dutch Colonial with the gambrel roof style. The main portion of this house will be raised to have nine-foot ceilings. The gambrel roofline has dormers to accommodate the rooms on the second floor. The large soffit overhangs, the upper gable build-out details, and the wall sweeps on the gable ends of the main house are all traits of the Dutch Colonial.

"Other typical features of this style are the landings for both the front door and the side entrance, which are located under the eaves of the house using columns, along with the columned pergola over the back porch. Many Dutch Colonials had additions to the side or the back. In our house renovation, we are leaving the existing roofline on one side of the house, which creates the look of an added wing to the main house. The goal is that the transformation from ranch to Dutch Colonial will be seamless and the new house will look as if it has always been this way.”