Ideas for Shingle Style construction?

mjtx2October 15, 2011

We're building a shingle style house in an area of nice new homes of varying architecture and on a golf course. We'd love for our house to look like they built the course up around it instead of just like another new home, so I'm looking for ideas to make a new house look old, both on the exterior as well as the interior. For example, one idea was to get the old was to transplant Vanhoutte spirea for the front like this one:

The house will have an open floor plan, however, so I guess I'm looking for it to look like an old house that was redone while keeping with the original architectural feel of the house. As I say that, it sounds confusing. Am I on the right track here and does this make any sense?

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Hubby and I are in the midst of planning a shingle style "beach" home and I've found several helpful resources so far. One is the website - lots of wonderful photographs, with the ability to create ideabooks for personal future reference. (I've created nearly a dozen "idea books" - bathrooms, kitchens, flooring, fireplaces, landscaping, shingle homes, etc..) You might take a look at the book "Creating a New Old House" by Russell Versaci which explores why old homes are so appealing and how to incorporate those elements into a new home. Another book which features a lot of shingle style homes is "Nice House" by Samuel White - lots of good exterior and interior photos, which is helpful when looking for landscaping ideas as well as architectural features. "New Old House" magazine, which comes out every other month, is dedicated to homes which have the rich look and character of older homes, but done with modern lifestyles in mind. (You might try to check these out at your local library before buying them, to see if you really find them useful for you.) You might also check out the website - they are a company that specializes in creating authentic, historical New England style homes - they have lots of photographs of their homes which can give you some ideas as to what makes an older, traditional home look so appealing.

In doing our research we're finding the main factors that will help make our home look "established" is the quality of the trim work and windows; we're realizing we can't scrimp on these things. In regards to the landscaping, choosing "old-fashioned" plants like hydrangea, lilacs, boxwood, etc. should go a long way to give your home an established look.

Best wishes on your new home! :-)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 6:48PM
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Carpecattus that was an extremely helpful response. Gracias.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 7:07AM
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We are currently building a shingle style house and ditto to all Carpecattus said. We are contracting this house ourselves and have to make all the design decisions we are debating between cedar shingles and fiber cement shingles. Our previous house was done with certainteed vinyl shingles. What are your thoughts on this?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 9:29PM
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Thank you for mentioning -- I've now fallen in love with that site. We are in the process of picking shingles also so I would also be interested in ppbenn's question.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 11:33AM
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In response to the shingles questions, in researching shingle siding for our future beach cottage we've decided we will be using Alaskan yellow cypress (also called Alaskan yellow cedar). It's a slower growing wood, so it's denser, and is very rot resistant. It naturally weathers to a silvery grey (but doesn't turn black like red cedar); paints or stains are not recommended, so it's fairly maintenance free. When installed correctly they should last 40 to 50 years. My husband and I built an arbor 20 years ago using Alaskan yellow cypress and it's held up beautifully, despite lots of rain and shade - no signs of rot. Check out for some great information regarding the differences between red, white and yellow cedar, as well as detailed instruction manuals regarding the proper installation of shingles.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 12:27AM
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The Shingle Style was very popular in New England especially in Maine where the summer houses were called "cottages" even when they were huge. Many of them had open plans so a modern plan would not be much of a departure from the original style.

Old versions can be found in:
"Shingle Styles", by Morgan/Roth
"The Houses of McKim Meade & White" by Samuel White
"Maine Cottages" by Savage

New versions can be found in:
"The American Houses of Robert A M Stern"
"Creating a New Old House" by Versaci

These are interesting web sites:

Maine Home + Design Magazine has many feature articles about shingle style houses and the resources pages will connect you to architect and builder websites and they all do Shingle Style houses:

Other sites:

From "American Shelter" by Walker:

Here is a link that might be useful: stern

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 10:18AM
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I'm loving this post! We are hopefully going to start building a shingle style home in the spring but we are still working on a floorplan with our architect. One of our problems has been scaling things down. Most shingle style floorplans I've see are HUGE. I'm hoping we can still get the look we want for around 3000sqft.

another site that has great inspiration photos is . It's an online pinboard basically, but you can type in anything to search on.

I also love the Boston Design Guide's directory of architects, builders, etc... That's the holy grail for eye candy imo :)

Would any of you who have already started building care to share your floor plans? I'd love to see them! Thanks & good luck to everyone!

Here is a link that might be useful: Boston Design Guide

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 2:18PM
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our new build is a shingle style. materials selection is extremely important. unstained or unpainted shingles is a better choice as the stain or paint will start to fade immediately. if you are considering cement, i can't recommend nichiha highly enough. it's beautiful with a much thicker (and more realistic) reveal than you'll get with any other fiber cement product. this is our house with nichiha weathered gray siding.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 7:51PM
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kateskouros I just love the pic of your house. We were all set to go with Nichiha in July however we could not find enough supply of the Sierra Premium stained in any color. We had several distributors searching and when the distributors had a meeting with nichiha reps about the new Frontier line the remaining Sierra line was pulled.Nichiha wanted to keep remaining inventory in case of warrenty issues.
We could still get the Sierra in a primed but you lose the black line definition between shingles. We would then have to paint. Price has been a consideration as the Nichiha has been highest per square of the fiber cement. Same as real cedar. and more expensive to install.
DH is favoring real cedar

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 8:15PM
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I ditto kateskouros. Anyone building with shingles needs to be aware of the constant maintenance that ANY wood based shingles require. They generally require extensive attention every four years or so.

For those on the East Coast, consider Poplar Bark. Extremely low maintenance and long lasting. No pressure washing or restaining required with a much lower environmental impact.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 8:20PM
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We used Nichiha primed shakes on the central portion of our home. I'm attaching a photo and I think this was taken before the shakes were painted with 2 coats. Our paint color was only slightly different from the primed color!

We have combined the shakes with board & batten, stone with brick accents and brick at the foundation.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:05AM
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My photo was in my preview and now its gone! Let me try again

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:09AM
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    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:12AM
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The Shingle Style was, among other influences, a reaction against the Stick Style that had a lot of vertical trim, separating walls into panels, many independent massing elements, projecting rakes with decorative braces and juxtaposition of different materials and finishes.

In contrast, the most common characteristics of the Shingle Style are continuous unbroken shingle siding that "wraps" the building like a blanket (no corner boards but window trim), rustic field stone below the first floor line or at he lower portions of chimneys, brick chimneys, ganged double-hung or fixed windows with multiple rectangular panes in the upper half, classical elements like decorated panels and columns, thin eave detailing, close rakes, prominent gabled and hipped dormers, decorative shingle shapes, and flared shingles at belt lines and tops of foundations.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 11:47AM
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This is the classic Shingle Style Hamptons beach house used for the film "Something's Gotta Give" with Nicholson & Keaton.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shingle Style photos

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 1:35PM
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