4 Things to Consider Before Remodeling a Historic Home

Historic homes are known for their rich history and charming character. They may have unique design elements and interesting details that are irreplaceable, like long, winding staircases with hand-crafted handrails and big, dreamy porches with high ceilings and wide floorboards. However, this character often comes with hidden challenges, especially when you’re remodeling a home that may be more than 100 years old. If you’re thinking about a historic home remodel, here are four things to consider before you start.

1. Check your city’s historic home requirements.

Depending on where you live, your city or county may have extensive rules and regulations about remodeling historic homes. Start your research here first.

Find out how your property is classified, and what changes you will be able to make to the home. Depending on your home’s age, location, and history, it may be designated as a “landmark,” or it may just be in a historic district. Either way, this is critical in planning your home renovation. The property designation and city requirements will help shape the boundaries for your renovation.

Once you have hired  a team of professionals with historic home renovation experience, find out if they’ve had experience working with the city or county where you’re located. They’ll need to navigate the city’s design review process, and if they’ve worked there before, it will make it easier to navigate your project within the city’s rules.

Check your city’s historic building rules here:

2. Check Your Home for Any Structural Issues

Structural issues are common in historic homes  and can be very costly to fix.The foundation may have corrosion, moisture damage, or an uneven slab. To find out if your home has structural issues, look for cracks in the foundation. If you see stair-step cracks or vertical cracks, you may have a structural problem. Consult a Structural Engineer if needed.

historic home remodel

3. Check Your Home’s Plumbing and Electrical Systems

In historic homes, the electrical wiring and plumbing may need major upgrades. Find out the age of the plumbing system, and find out what materials were used for the pipes. Different kinds of pipes last longer than others. Brass and copper pipes usually last 50 years or more, whereas steel pipes may only last for 20 years. Depending on the kind of pipes your home has, you may need to upgrade so that a pipe doesn’t break and cause major damage. Also, make sure you check for roots in your plumbing system. Root damage can wreak major havoc if undetected.

Similarly to the plumbing, the electrical system also has a limited lifespan. Most historic homes have wiring that’s unsafe due to the wire’s insulation. The insulation is only estimated to last 70 years, whereas modern wiring should last at least 100 years.

4. Estimate Asbestos Removal for a Historic Home Remodel

Another problem area in remodeling a historic home is managing the asbestos removal. Almost all homes built or renovated in the 1940s through the late 1970s have some amount of asbestos in the insulation, or in other building materials, according to This Old House.

The costs associated with asbestos abatement vary greatly, depending on the home’s size, and difficulty to remove the asbestos. Either way, this is an important issue and cost to understand early in the process.  

Now that you know a few of the potential issues with a historic homeremodel, let us know if you’d like to learn more about how Factor Design Build can bring your historic home back to life.

What does “Design-Build” really mean?

One of the big challenges that many homeowners face with a home remodel is managing all of the different service providers, such as architects, general contractors, interior designers, engineers, surveyors and getting them to all work together.

Besides trying to keep the project on budget and on time, working and communicating with several different service providers that have different timetables can be incredibly frustrating.

Often, a homeowner will first hire an architect to design their dream home. Once the architect completes the plans, the homeowner will start shopping for a general contractor to build out the plans. However, this is where problems may start to arise if the architect and contractor haven’t worked together with the homeowner from the start.

If the homeowner is getting multiple bids to build out the architectural plans, how will they know that the contractor truly understands and can correctly price what the architect has developed?

Also, interior design and finishes are not usually fully developed at this point, and this can represent a significant portion of the final project cost, which makes comparing bids from different contractors and service providers more of an apples and oranges comparison.

Advantages of Design-Build Construction

With a Design-Build Firm, your project is managed from start to finish by one team, rather than piece-by-piece by many individuals. This allows them to design with the homeowner’s goals in mind and consider any potential restraints upfront. The Design-Build process creates a more cohesive project because the architects, interior designers, and the construction team collaborate and work together throughout the process to bring your dream home to life.

Another advantage of Design-Build teams is that these firms are experts in both architecture and construction. According to Houzz:

“Design-build firms focus on a streamlined design-build process — from the initial design to the estimating phase to physical construction — in the hope of creating an efficient experience for both the client and the company. Because the entire project is happening within one company, design-build firms are able to overlap the design and construction phases of the project, which often speeds up the project significantly.”

Most importantly with Design-Build, everyone is on your team, rather than their own.

Simon Sinek Design Build

Denver Design Build

Click here to learn more about how Factor Design Build will take your project from the design phase through the build phase.

Check out our completed Design Build Projects here.

Bold and Brassy

Off-white may have dominated the walls in 2016, but 2017 is continuing its unpredictable streak with its slightly bolder color palette. Expect to see a lot of jewel toned living areas, deep navy cabinets, and hardware, as well as bright accent finishes.  If stepping outside your comfort zone is in your design plan, some of these richer hues might be for you. Fear not if you are more of a “neutralist”, there are plenty of muted shades to fit your aesthetic.

Benjamin’s Moore: Color of the Year Shadow 2117-3

Described by BM designers as “emotional, complex and sure to spark some debate”, Shadow is a moody purple with murky gray undertones that look different depending on the time of day and lighting fixtures. Think drama, and romance in your home.

Behr: Confident, Composed, Composed

Behr’s approach for 2017 was “fashion-forward”, and segmented their color schemes into three unique categories, Comfortable, Confident and Composed, designed to harmonize with each other. There’s the pastel Life is a Peach, a red berry Artful Magenta, and an exotic blue-green Jade Dragon.

Check out the link to see Behr’s breakdown http://www.behr.com/consumer/inspiration/2017-color-trends

Versa-TILE

Playful shapes and vintage pattern floors are taking center stage. Classic and innovative designs can come together to make a statement, even a budget friendly one!

Hexagon Tile

Hexagon tiles are a great accent to improve the atmosphere of nearly any room. Add them to your bathroom to create texture, use them in rooms you utilize but don’t spend time in such as your mudroom, create a gorgeous backsplash in your kitchen, or add some geometric fun to your kids’ bedroom. Hexagon tiles are great to mix and match with or use on their own.

Subway Tile

Subway tile is a great way to throw your kitchen and bathroom designs together. The pattern can be classic horizontal, vertical, or even herringbone, not to mention come in a variety of color choices. Contrast the tile texture with a different color grout to make your tiles pop. (P.S. We did this with our Poplar remodel!). The classic white tile also works well with the color trends of 2017, so incorporate two trends while you’re at it.

 

Shed Some Light on the Subject

The two lighting trends illuminating 2017 are cozy Edison bulbs, and brass pendant lighting, in modern shapes in dining rooms and bedrooms. Edison bulbs take that fire-like glow and create a warm and inviting atmosphere, while brass pendant lights highlight one’s living space with a subtle yet elegant flair.

Edison Bulbs

Exposed bulbs can achieve an urban flair, or ignite your nostalgia for a bygone era. Light up your industrial style home with a mid-century modern Edison bulb chandelier, or string the bulbs along your patio. What is old is new again.

 

Brass Lighting

You’ll see a different range of brass finishes out there, from the darker antique finish to golden shiny finishes. The warm metal hue is a great trend to utilize because it works well with minimalists and statement junkies. Treat the brass like an accessory and you can have fun with cabinet hardware, and end tables too.