Topic:Remodel Old Home
Remember when you drove through your neighborhood for the first time? Next door was some amazing Victorian era trim details on the porch - spectacular! Then there was a meticulously restored farmhouse down the road. The real estate photos that drew you to investigate the house you now call home showed a beautiful oak fireplace mantle in the primary bedroom, or maybe it was the honeycomb tile in the upstairs bath. Now you’ve been in this old house for a few years, and realize charm comes at a price. The mantle is still beautiful, but other millwork around the house needs to be replaced. The honeycomb tile can’t fix the tight layout of the bathroom. And then there’s the kitchen, with some incredible cabinetry that needs some upgrading, along with space and a layout made for another era.
It is time for a renovation, but how do you find and install the kinds of materials that make your older home so distinctive? Where do you find professionals with the knowledge and skill to work with these materials? It’s a major challenge you may not have thought about when you first moved in.
If you already love older homes, searching for just the right materials can be a fun aspect of the renovation process. If you don’t know where to look, this can enter needle in a haystack territory very quickly. Here are a few suggestions on specific materials common to older New England homes and where to find them.
Another challenge in remodeling older homes is finding craftspeople with the skills to do this specialized work.
Often, the places you go to source the materials will have recommendations for contractors certified to work with that material. When you work with an experienced design-build company, they should have employees or long relationships with tradespeople with the skills to fabricate and install the materials that make your older home distinctive.
One trade we haven’t mentioned yet is the painter. In older homes, how you paint the interior or exterior of the home requires special skills. For instance, some Queen Anne style homes have many exterior accent colors that require skill and care to be done right. On the interior, older homes often have stencils which make the painted wall look like wallpaper. This in itself is a special skill set. If you’ve seen pineapple stenciled into an entryway, this is a symbol of welcome. But again, that level of detail takes patience and skill.
Some of the real fun of getting the details right on an older home remodel comes down to the fixtures. In the kitchen, for instance, you may want a farm sink and faucet that fits within the period of the home to maintain the character.
Finding period lighting can also be difficult to source. Perhaps you want to replicate the look of a gas lantern in the front entry in an exterior light fixture. In the interior, you want to replace the chandeliers in the foyer and dining room with something more fitting to the old home aesthetic. Often wall sconces in the bathroom are very unique to the style of the home. A good designer can help you source the right fixtures to meet the challenge.
You fell in love with the character of this older home, but renovation is inevitable, to meet your family’s changing needs, and to keep the home well maintained. Knowing how to find the materials and skilled tradespeople who understand older homes is a big win when it comes to doing renovations the right way.
Even better, for a renovation experience that gives you the support you need, look for a design-build company with experience renovating older homes. They will have the team, along with a repository of knowledge for sourcing the materials and a strategy to plan and execute a renovation that will make your home more functional while not taking away the charm and distinction that led to your choosing this home in the first place.
To learn more about home remodeling, especially when it comes to an older home, please read our eBook, “The Top 12 Things to Know Before Remodeling an Old Home.” And if you are ready to speak about renovating your older home, please schedule a home renovation discovery session.
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