Copper Roof Highlights This Old House Building Project With "Timeless" Qualities

February 8, 2002


ATLANTA, GA— When This Old House magazine began designing their showcase home for the 2002 International Builders' Show, two themes quickly became apparent. First and foremost, the editors wanted a house that could be used to exhibit new products and trends in home design and construction. But they also recognized a strong desire among homebuyers for the traditional qualities and values that generations of Americans have come to love in older homes.

The result is the "Timeless House," a thoroughly up-to-date architectural statement that also speaks in the historical design language of residential construction. This unique fusion of old and new is aptly described by TOH Building Editor Alex Gant as "contemporary design tempered by a sympathy for tradition."

The house is open Feb. 8-11 for walking tours by many of the estimated 70,000 Builders' Show attendees. Sponsored by This Old House, the project included Jeremiah Eck Architects of Boston, and interior designer Kay Douglass of Atlanta. Many leading building product manufacturers also participated, including the Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA), which supplied solid copper sheets for a barrel-vault copper porch roof, roof flashing and drip edges, as well as copper plumbing tube. Copper was also the choice for leaders, gutters and decorative accents throughout the home.

Faced with a challenging situation from the start, the architects capitalized on a narrow building lot by creating a three-level plan. Nestled into its steep hillside in a centrally located Atlanta neighborhood, the Timeless Home includes window-filled walls on its exposed foundation side for maximum daylighting, while a state-of-the-art Home theater system and storage areas occupy the windowless opposite half of the lower level. Despite the foundation's relatively small "footprint," the house contains five bedrooms and bathrooms with a total living area of 4,200 square feet. The home is valued at $935,000.

The exterior features many low-maintenance products, such as its brick foundation and off-white vinyl siding, both of which require minimal upkeep. Gant says the project coordinators chose copper for the low-slope porch roof and gutters because both areas are prone to rot in the humid Atlanta environment, and copper is renowned for its all-around durability and quality.

Despite weathering with age, copper building materials are widely recognized for lasting 100 years or more and being virtually maintenance-free. "Not only is copper a practical choice because of its longevity," Gant adds. "It's also very pretty."