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Copper Envelops Addition To 100-Year-Old Cambridge Home

Copper has a way of standing out, especially when first installed. And it does on the addition to a renovated home in Cambridge, MA. The 1,600 sq. ft. of metal was manufactured by Revere Copper of Rome, NY; supplied by Sheet Metal Supply (SMS) of Grayslake, IL; and installed by Natural Metal Associates (NMA) of Mont Vernon, NH.

Because of a demanding schedule, it took NMA's Lou Rondeau a few months to get on the jobsite. By that time, the copper gutters and several standing seam copper eyebrows had been installed. At that point, the homeowners decided to also put copper panels on the walls of the addition.

“The addition adds three rooms at the back of the house,” says homeowner Doug Brown, who along with his wife Dee Elms, purchased the home about 11 years ago. “It’s basically a set of stacked boxes.”

The couple first had the home lifted up to replace the original foundation built with concrete block and field stones in 1925. The new basement includes a 300 sq. ft. addition at the back to serve as a workout room. The main floor of the addition is a new family room and the second floor above that is the new primary bedroom. The top floor addition is smaller than the main floor addition below it, allowing for a small balcony outside the primary bedroom.

“We wanted to keep the traditional Victorian look at the front of the house,” Brown says. “We discussed other metals for the addition but decided on copper because it is distinctive and it’s a living metal. Painted composite panels are very popular today, but they are the same color forever. Copper changes, it patinas, so the look of the home evolves with time.”

Rondeau, who specializes in working with natural metals, including copper, zinc and stainless steel, focused on lining up the vertical metal panel seams with window lines. He had jobsite assistance from Thiago DeSouza and all panels are mechanically double-locked.

“Every panel is a custom size,” Rondeau says. “The variety of widths gives it a contemporary look. Initially, we talked about installing flat-lock tiles on the walls, but decided it would look too busy. I’m happy with the way it turned out.

“The biggest challenge was getting materials into a tight urban neighborhood. Other houses are pretty close.”

Sheet Metal Supply custom-crated the panels for this job to accommodate the tight jobsite spaces. SMS and NMA both deal mostly in natural metals because they are sustainable: high recycled content, long life cycle and recycled at the end of that life cycle.

“If you ask Lou what he does, he’ll tell you he’s a roofer,” Brown says. “In truth, he’s an artist. He did a fantastic job.”

Rondeau is quick to offer up appreciation for Sheet Metal Supply. “Sheet Metal Supply is not just a supplier to me,” Rondeau says. “They treat me like family. They take an interest in every project, they’re invested in my success. They know how to get it done. My business would not be what it is today if it weren’t for SMS.”

About Sheet Metal Supply Ltd.

Sheet-Metal-Supply-LogoFounded in 1991, Sheet Metal Supply Ltd. is a leading fabricator/supplier of custom-formed perimeter edge systems, wall facades, flat lock tiles, substructural components, ES-1-rated products, architectural zinc, glazed-in panels, standing seam and much more. The company ships internationally and is regarded for its high-quality products and quick turn-around. For more information, visit

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