Restoring History: Five Keys to Renovating Your Historic Home

Restoring History, Five Keys to Renovating Your Historic Home

It’s often said that they just don’t make things like they used to. This is apparent in homes where elegant wood trim has given way to thin molding and the ornate finishing touches have been abandoned in favor of quick finishes that don’t require an artist’s touch. If you’ve been drawn to a historic home because you want that old-world craftsmanship and attention to detail, then you may have to put some extra work into the home to make up for the ravages of age and neglect. Before you start working on a historic home, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.

Get a Full Inspection

Before you start working on the home, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Projects like this have a way of snowballing because you find one problem after another. You may start out upgrading the electrical panel only to discover that the wiring throughout the home needs to be replaced. With a full inspection, you can learn about these problems ahead of time and make smart changes. Rather than addressing something one challenge at a time, it may prove more cost-effective to do a larger renovation and take care of everything at once.

Remodeling and Restoration are Two Different Things

When you remodel something, you are essentially changing it to make it better in some way. When a home is restored, you will take steps to make it like it once was. However, you can combine the methods to create the home of your dreams. Electrical and plumbing systems should be remodeled to bring them up to current standards. However, you may want the wood trim and other decorative elements restored to bring historic feel of the home to life.

Watch the Red Tape

The idea of owning a home on the National Register of Historic Places may appeal to you, but have you considered what’s really involved with this? If this is the case, you’ll be limited on what renovations you can do. You may have people driving by just to look at your home. This can be more than you bargained for, so find exactly what’s involved in living in such a home.

Know Your Personal Limits

You may have a talented hand when it comes to stripping and refinishing the gorgeous wood trim, but the electrical system and plumbing should be left to professionals. Other projects, like removing wallpaper and making other decorative changes, are ideally suited to homeowners and can help you save money.

Be Patient

Restoring a historic home is going to take time. You’ll want to pace yourself to protect your sanity and your wallet. Start with the most pressing matters first, such as replacing a rotting roof, and then do a few projects each year to gradually restore the home.

Your efforts will be worth the hard work, and professionals are available to help. With people who know their way around historic homes working with you, the process won’t seem so overwhelming.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. This article was cowritten by the brick and concrete experts at D&G Cement Co. Visit us here to learn more about bringing your historic home back to life.

Image Source: Oracio

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  • Jordyn @ Almost Supermom February 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Wow! What a beautiful house!! I would love to restore a house, but, holy cow, that would be so intimidating!!
    Jordyn @ Almost Supermom recently posted..Kissimmee, Florida Rock Your Vacation ContestMy Profile

  • Suzi Satterfield February 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

    As much as I would LOVE to live in a historic home, I know my limitations. I am not a DIY type of person. That means that I live in something modern, pay someone else to do it, or buy it after someone else has remodeled and renovated!
    Suzi Satterfield recently posted..How a Paternity Test is Determined With Genetic MarkersMy Profile

  • heather February 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

    great tips! But, wow, some of those old homes have to be a lot of work! there is one in my city that has been vacant for years, which is too bad, because once fixed up, it would be beautiful!
    heather recently posted..5 Reasons to Keep Chickens and 4 Reasons Not ToMy Profile

  • Erin S. February 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Oh I want that house! I love old houses and would love to restore one, but with 9 kids we’d need a big one and then we have to live on a farm for our animals. So, so far we haven’t found an old one to restore. Great tips though!
    Erin S. recently posted..Why Having a Fire Plan is ImportantMy Profile

  • Kara T February 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Great post! I LOVE old houses. Our house was built in 1902 and renovated in the 1950s (definitely reflects 50s style). I would love to rip out our wood paneling and dropped ceilings and see what was originally there. I’m sure it needs a lot of work but I love the character of an old home. Thanks for the tips!
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  • Joie February 24, 2014 at 11:10 am

    We restored a house and never again. Although it was rewarding it was hard work. It cost us a small fortune and then we didn’t want to live in it after we finished it. Restoring a house is a huge committiment.
    Joie recently posted..February Networking Witches WinnersMy Profile

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