Historical properties are those that are at least 50 years old, although it’s worth noting that there are some exceptions to this rule. Living in an old house is a beautiful experience as you can get a sense of the many lives that have previously enjoyed the property and the memories that were made in the home.
Although many historic homes may be in need of some more modern upgrades, there are a few things you should consider before starting any renovations. You should strive to keep the most beautiful details intact and pay homage to the original design of the home, all whilst putting your unique twist on things.
To help guide you through this process, we’ve curated a list of our top tips and tricks when it comes to restoring a historic property. Keep reading to find out what they are…
Evaluate the History
Before you get started with planning your renovation, you should evaluate the history of your home. You can ask the local council to see if they have any records that you can access. Other ways to gather information include asking the former owners, searching online, and enquiring at local libraries. Historical homes can be classified across many different categories, although the most popular types are Colonial, Neoclassical, Victorian, American Craftsman, and Bungalow-style properties.
Stay True to Its Character
It’s only natural that you want to add some personal touches to your new home. However, it’s equally as important to remain true to the property’s character. You can research what design elements were popular during the home’s creation and try to incorporate this style within your renovations. The trick is to focus on restoring the home rather than renovating it in its entirety. For example, if your home has original fireplaces, don’t knock them down and add unfitting modern ones. Instead, try to repair and elevate the one you already have.
Speak to an Expert
Historic homes are a very specific type of real estate, so you could benefit from bringing in an expert to help you with the restoration process. Hiring an underqualified team of contractors for this job could seriously damage the property. Make sure to interview several different teams and ask them if they have experience in this field. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals before you sign any contracts.
Watch out For Water Damage
As with any old home, it’s important to look out for some signs of water damage. Although remediation and restoration are still possible despite water damage, it may make things a tad more complicated. Look out for signs of this around the ceilings, floors, and windows of the home. Living in a home with minimal small signs of mould and water damage can lead to serious health issues such as chronic migraines, respiratory issues, and allergies.
Renovate Slowly but Surely
Understandably, an older home will be in need of many more renovations than a modern one, especially if it has not been maintained properly over the last few decades. Although renovations can be expensive, they are essential to the proper upkeep of a historical home. If you’re working with a tight budget, we recommend you renovate the property slowly but surely. Remember to include things such as taxes, utilities, and permits as part of your budget.
Clean and Polish Your Hardware
If you’re lucky enough to have the original hardware of your home, you should do your best to preserve it. Although some pieces may seem rusty and dull, we’re sure they just need a good old polish. Carefully remove the pieces and restore them to their former glory.
If you’re polishing items such as doorknobs, handles, and hinges, we have a great DIY technique for you. Create a mixture using equal parts of vinegar, salt, and flour. Add a dollop of this paste onto your hardware and let it sit for a few minutes before you begin the buffing process. Simply rinse the remaining paste and revel in your new shiny hardware.
At the end of the day, you’ll need to accept the fact that you are living in a very old home. With this, comes a set of maintenance responsibilities and commitments. If you don’t think you’re up for the task, it may be better to search for a newer build that is more modern. Remember to expect the unexpected when you undergo the restoration process and, most importantly, enjoy every step of the way.