There are subtle ways of respecting the neighborhood while securing your property value and being as original as your heart desires.
Respecting the neighborhood does not mean you have to copy everything about your neighbors' houses. It may mean you introduce a new style and new materials, but the proportions are similar to your neighbors.
Only in the last few decades have we reconnected the suburbs to greenspace and connected to schools and shops, but we don't talk about architecture like we own it anymore. It's no longer part of our dialogue even though it underlies the decisions made about how wide your street is, the type of trim a developer puts on your new house, and the style in which the bank down the street is being built.
What does this have to do with your problem property?
An architect can take generations of architectural history and help you determine if that porch rail you pick up in Home Depot is actually appropriate for the style of your house. Buying cheap redwood on sale at your hardware store may backfire and cheapen your entire property. Not kidding.
It's like Kurt Cobain said, "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are." This house could only be traditional if the home mostly rebuilt. That roofline will never say "traditional" and that is an expensive decision. Where the poor remodel decisions didn't live up to the soul of its modern roots, the proposal sketch shows some remedies that are true to what this home is. Not only is this a well sized home near a park and close to a walk-able main street, the mid-century style fits the eclecticism of an older part of a small town.
Enthusiastically embracing the original style pays off.
The garden could turn out to be the best part of the remodel. A corner lot always has the potential to be a showcase garden simply due to the vehicle and foot traffic.
The historic nature of the original house should be preserved and enhanced. The railings and all built-out details need to be true to the late 1800s. There are many brick homes in the area that have been very successfully renovated from this era and it is valued in the community. That will prove to strengthen this investment when remodeled.
For the best use of your space and maintaining your investment, all property owners need a master plan. Few of us are financially able to throw down the cash to fully install the dream landscape or complete a renter-proof investment property up front. We have to do things in stages as money becomes available. Phasing your interior projects, building additions, and landscape with an overall goal in mind will always save you time and money. A few hours invested in designing a master plan today will set you up for a smoother road as long-term owner or investor of any property.