Renovations can increase a home’s value, but upgrading a historic home has its own set of challenges. It can be tough to balance modern and traditional elements, which makes the process of historic home renovation confusing for many homeowners. Here are a few tips for preserving a house’s unique charm without sacrificing building performance.

Do Background Research and Work With the Right Team 

Before starting, renovators must understand the history behind the property. First, they should check out the local library or historical society for resources. The Historic American Buildings Survey is another excellent source. It is a database featuring a collection of images and records from the 20th century. Designers can even look into census records or old newspapers for more inspiration.

Knowing the home’s history helps architects match design elements with past trends. Besides researching, builders should work with contractors who have experience with older homes. Look for ones who specialize in historic preservation. 

Beware of Any Limitations 

Besides just researching the property’s history, developers should also understand any building restrictions. Some districts have limitations on the amount of square footage that can be added.

Contractors may also encounter window or roofing material restrictions. They need to ensure supplies match the original style. They should check with the National Register of Historic Places for specific guidelines before moving forward. 

Decide What Features to Preserve

Maintaining some of the property’s unique details when remodeling, such as original hardwood flooring is essential. Contractors will just need to clean and seal the boards, as well as remove and replace any damaged ones. In addition, consider preserving the original woodwork and trimming, such as crown molding. 

Plaster walls are also commonly found in older homes. Contractors should focus on repairing them as much as possible to maintain the house’s original style. They can also search for hues that were popular during that time. Some brands offer a historic paint collection

When inspecting structural elements, consider which ones need to be replaced. Preserve original doors and windows, which give the home its character. Contractors can add weatherstripping and use epoxy to stabilize wood material. They can also visit architectural salvage stores to find replacement parts. Older staircases near casements can usually be saved. 

Renovators should strive to keep some of the antique kitchen hardware. Designers may want to replace cabinets for better functionality, but saving the originals can preserve a home’s charm. Architects can even use hardware from other areas. For example, latches from an upstairs cupboard can create inspiration and save material costs. 

Protect the Historical Elements 

Once contractors determine what to preserve, they should clearly mark these features and install protective coverings around them during the renovation process. 

Lay down film or specialized cardboard to maintain the original flooring, and place heavy canvas or plastic sheets over decorative finishes. Covering these materials keeps them protected from dust and structural damage. 

Increase the Property’s Safety

Many older homes have foundational issues, like uneven flooring or cracked drywall. Before the renovation, it’s crucial to have a professional examine the residence. Any issues should be addressed and fixed immediately. 

Also, a home’s electrical or plumbing system may be outdated. Making these adjustments during the remodeling process can save homeowners time and money. Plus, it is easier to install new wiring with open walls. 

Faulty wiring can even become a safety concern since it can lead to fires. Outdated systems can also raise homeowners’ insurance rates. Contractors should consider updating the HVAC system for better energy efficiency. 

Update for Function and Comfort 

Replace appliances that are no longer functioning. It’s an important remodeling project that still preserves the historical style. For example, a designer may want to remove the original oven or stovetop. Also, upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can increase functionality and save homeowners money on their utility bills. 

Increasing storage space can also make a home more efficient. With many people now working remotely, homeowners need more room for their belongings. Adding walk-in closets can be an attractive feature for buyers. 

Upgrading the bathroom is another renovation project increasing a home’s value. Make minor updates to maintain the house’s original style, such as new fixtures or plumbing. For example, a contractor could install a low-flow showerhead to conserve water. 

Insulated attics can create a comfortable temperature for homeowners. They can even conserve energy and lower their maintenance bills. Plus, this project doesn’t involve taking down historical elements.

Maintaining the Past in Historic Home Renovation

Historical homes provide unique charm add value. However, they can be tricky and costly to renovate. Architects should keep these tips in mind during their next project in order to balance the old and the new with historic home renovation.


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Autor’s Bio:

Evelyn is the founder and editor-in-chief of Renovated. Her passion project is writing about building and design innovations that can transform housing. Her other passion project is trying every crab cake in her home city, Baltimore.