Historic homes are usually laden with old and obsolete appliances, furniture, and fittings that put them up for remodeling or modernization.
But the problem with this is that remodeling usually erodes the homes of historic characters and vintage charms. So the major focus in the modernization of a historic home should be the retention of historic characters.
Here are some important tips for the retention of certain unique characters while renovating your historic home.
1. List out the historic features to retain
It is important to list out all the historic features that should be preserved before you map out your modernization plans. Some common features with historic homes are hardwood floors, plaster walls, spiral stairs, unique type of windows, and unique structural architecture.
2. Consider repairs and not replacement
Instead of replacing certain parts of your historic house, it is better to repair. The more you replace the more you erase historic features from your home.
- For instance, instead of replacing your ceiling, it is better to fix it.
- The walls that are made of plaster should not also be replaced with dry wall.
- Same thing is applicable to windows. The windows may have holes in them and they may no longer be energy efficient. So, instead of replacing the windows with modern ones, it is better to fix the windows; new windows will erode your home of some of its character and vintage charm.
3. Don’t change the hardwood floor
Since most historic homes have hardwood floor, there is no point changing yours. People love hardwood floor.
Leaving your hardwood floor is not only for preservation of character; it will also boost the sales potential of your home.
However, it may look a bit worn out since it has seen several decades. You only need to get it sanded down and it will be good to go.
The only time you can consider changing your hardwood floor is when you start seeing the head of some of the nails used in it.
4. Install necessary appliances but preserve the walls
You may have to change your entire plumbing system because some materials used for pipes several decades ago are now deemed hazardous.
Apart from that, it is very likely that you encounter any of low water pressure, slow drain, or discolored water. All of them require total change of your plumbing system.
You also need to change your wiring system and most importantly, you need a modern heating and cooling system for energy efficiency. The major challenge is that these installations require drilling or breaking of walls.
Remember, fixing of damaged or broken plaster walls is difficult. Besides, breaking the wall will erode your home of some historic features.
So, you are better off with ductless appliances because they don’t require the passage of ducts through walls.
5. Outsource the task to an expert
There are several companies that are experienced in modernizing historic homes without erasing their character. So, if cost is not a constraint, you may need to hire one of them to handle the task from the beginning. You will get much better results that way.
Conclusively, while the first 4 tips are very important, the 5th one envelopes them all. So, if you intend to hire an expert, you may not need to bother so much about the others.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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- Used Book in Good Condition
- Department of Interior
- Publisher: Lyons Press
- Scott T. Hanson
- Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
- Edition no. 1 (12/10/2019)
- Larry Millett
- Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
- Edition no. 1 (11/01/2014)
- Roxane Gatling Gilmore
- Publisher: The Dietz Press
- Edition no. 0 (11/15/2011)
- Kay Weeks, Anne E. Grimmer
- Publisher: National Park Service
- Paperback: 196 pages
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