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Remodeling A Historic Home:  Combining Elegance and Functionality

Remodeling Historic Homes | Factor Design Build Blog | Denver CO

Historic homes possess a certain grace and sturdiness that is sometimes hard to find in a modern home. From solid building materials to intricately carved details, the elegance of a historic home is hard to match. Historic homes are not a clean slate, and turning an older home into something that you love takes a keen eye for design and an experienced construction team.

They do have a few drawbacks, but nothing that cannot be fixed. If you have fallen for a historic home, you are not forever restricted to tiny closets, kitchens, and bathrooms. A historic home remodel will allow you to have functional, modern conveniences within the beauty of your historic treasure. Our design team can help you combine the updates you need with the unique character you love. First we will take a look at the benefits of these homes and then explore some of the challenges you may face with a historic home remodel.

The Benefits of Historic Homes

 

Quality materials and Craftsmanship

While the idea that “they don’t make them like they used to” is not exactly true as there are still a number of fine craftsmen to be found, there is a kernel of truth in this statement. Some materials are simply much harder to find and replicating work done hundreds of years ago takes a truly skilled carpenter. From wide plank floors to delicate carvings on the handrail of the grand staircase or crown mouldings, to intricate trim and millwork, stained glass and , your home is full of details rarely found in modern homes.

Historic Neighborhoods | Factor Design Build Blog | Denver COLocation

As we all know, a desirable location is a critical component in figuring the value of any home. Urban revitalization has led to a significant increase in the desirability of many historic neighborhoods.

Landscaping

Many historic homes have mature landscaping and old growth trees that cannot be duplicated with a modern home.

Value

The combination of high-quality materials, traditional craftsmanship, unique features, desirable locations and old-growth landscaping create for a home with long-lasting value.  

Challenges & Considerations For Remodeling A Historic Home

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. Historic homes have unique character, and they also come with a unique set of obstacles. While you can walk through a home and see potential design changes you might like to make such as a larger kitchen, there may also be issues you cannot see that will need to be addressed. Here are a few things to consider when contemplating a historic home remodeling project.

Plumbing & Electrical

With historic homes you could also be updating updates. There have very likely been multiple upgrades over the years, but those are often out of date. Updates to plumbing and electrical systems that happened in the 50’s or 60’s may no longer be up to code and almost certainly should be updated for health and safety reasons. Lead or galvanized pipes need to be changed to copper. Knob-and-tube and non-grounded electrical systems will also have to be updated and grounded.  

The home may also have outdated or non-functional heating and cooling systems. These should be updated to modern, and efficient units designed to heat or cool entire homes.

Foundation & Settling

There can be issues with your foundation, often as a result of settling over time. This can be both a safety and comfort concern. Settling and aging can lead to gaps around doors and windows which will result in astronomical energy bills.  Oftentimes, entire frames or walls need to be rebuilt.

Windows & Doors

Also, while the old, leaded glass may be beautiful, it is terribly inefficient. Replacing old windows and doors with more efficient ones is a significant energy saver. Custom windows or doors might be needed if you’re trying to match a historic style or have special features like stained glass.  

Hidden Damage & Aging

Removing ugly wallpaper or renovating an outdated kitchen or bathroom can reveal significantly bigger problems. Water damage, mold, termites, leaky roofs, and even additional layers of uglier wallpaper, plaster, or brick are all unpleasant surprises. They are all manageable situations, but it is wise to be prepared for unexpected and unseen problems.

Modern Necessities  

When these homes were built, people had smaller closets and kitchens. They simply had fewer appliances and clothes. Our evolving lifestyle necessitates updates to these areas to accommodate modern needs.

Historical Neighborhood Ordinances

Depending on the age and history of the house, there are several entities that may have enacted regulations and ordinances about what you can and cannot do in a historic home renovation.

Why Choose a Design Build Firm Like Factor

There are a number of challenges that can come up with a historic home renovation. Having someone with a trained eye to guide you through the process will save you a significant amount of time. Our team includes structural engineers and carpenters, and we all work together to ensure your remodeling project is done right, on time, and on budget.

Our highly skilled designers will work with you to make sure you get the updates you need while helping maintain a design consistency with the unique character of your home. If you want to maintain antique touches like the glass door handles, we can help you find modern antiques for a seamless look. With many years of experience renovating historic homes, we can even help guide you through ordinances and tax credits. If you are ready to renovate and update your historic home or considering purchasing one but are unsure about how a remodeling project will look, please contact us so we can guide you through the process.