What I Do:

Helen F. Sides, Architect, LLC is me, a sole practitioner specializing in old house transformations on Boston’s North Shore. Not restoration (usually reserved for historically significant houses more likely in the public realm), or simply renovation. But transformations of old houses which bring them functionally and aesthetically into the 21st c. Taking all the cues the old house has to give me, the transformation will be hard to distinguish from the original.

One buys an old house because it speaks to our inner sense of comfort, familiarity, and security, it says home. This is what home really is; not a “home” in a real estate listing, but a sense of belonging that we hope to find in a house.

An architect is called because the old house needs to be updated and better function for you and your family in your daily life. More light, less drafts, more heat, more storage, more bathrooms!, larger communal spaces — all are needed.

Houses tell me how to add on appropriately; what details to emulate, what scale, even which pieces to demolish. Once your program is fine tuned, there generally are not a lot of solutions to choose from, but more likely one master plan with modifications to exterior detail and smaller spaces within.

Not as often, but sometimes I am hired to design a new house. I love doing this too. I have done renovations to 20th c. houses, and have designed new houses, some modern but most are more traditional. Living in New England most calls are for old houses or a “new old house.”

No project is too small. A kitchen, a new entry, a screened porch, a garage, a new bath are all worthy of my architectural attention.