Riha Manor

Riha Manor | Cresco, Iowa | Completed 2013
We grew up on a small acreage in rural Iowa where we played, learned to tend to the gardens, helped maintain the house, and began designing what became our first project, Riha Manor. When it was decided it was time to update the 1914 farmhouse by adding modern conveniences (first floor bathroom, full size laundry room, formal entry, and attached garage) we kept in mind the simple structure, interior details and keeping the scale appropriate to the existing footprint.
Inspiration: Sarah Richardson’s farmhouse on HGTV which was a similar brick farmhouse where she added additional living room and entry.  We also looked to pinterest to find farmhouse exteriors with a similar simple style.  We chose vertical siding that mimics  traditional barnboards.  Grey was a nice complement to the red brick of the original house.
Design Development: We took our our pens and pencils to sketch up our initial ideas of how the addition should look.  After a few alterations the dormer over the garage became the main architectural interest to the addition.  Also, we brought the entry forward to add a third dimension from the garage and brick house.  We added a peaked roof to the well room to tie it back into the garage design.  We further developed the floor plan and scaled the garage after the size of the original brick house.  The Sketchup model became a great tool to visualize the form in relation to the original house.  Finally, a little photoshopping of the model with finishes and colors brought our concept to reality.  Using these tools helped sell our parents on the design as well as inform the contractors.  Being from Iowa we had quite a crew, an Amish team from up the road and our uncle Steve to complete the interior details.
Before: The original brick structure had a laundry and well room added onto it, both lacking character and clad in basic white plastic siding. The adjacent garage was looking more shabby than chic with peeling paint and structural issues. The front exterior of the house had faux shutters that diverted attention away from the classic brick, and the roof was due for an overhaul.


After: We demolished the garage and laundry room addition. We reworked the well room because moving or replacing the it would have blown the budget.
Finishes Chosen:
  • Metal roof was selected in a charcoal grey for its ease of maintenance. It has become a trend in modern farmhouse style but still is reminiscent of historic roofs.
  • Vertical siding in a warm grey which is a nice accent to the warm brick vs. the original stark white siding.  It also reminded us of barn boards and felt appropriate on our farmhouse.
  • Dormer shingle siding in a lighter shade of grey which was selected as an accent to break up the strong vertical siding and highlight the dormer.
  • Red painted door pops against the 50 shades of gray we have going and repeats the red of the original barn on the property.
We are so excited to share this with you!  Please follow us to see upcoming posts on the interior reveal.

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