When it comes to older homes, we all love the character they have to offer. The styles of doors, large trim, and ornate railings up the steps are all part of the charm of older homes. So how do you preserve all those beautiful details while also updating the space to suit a more modern lifestyle? This is a question and concern we get a lot, and here we’re going to go through the six ways we think will help you protect those charming elements in your older home while also giving you the modern space you need.
Hire a Contractor with Older Home Experience
Out of every item on this list, this is probably the most important one. Finding a contractor with experience in older home remodels will make your life so much easier. They will be able to make suggestions, and they’ll have experience in working with older materials and finding suitable matches or those older details. If you choose a contractor without the expertise and try to guide them through it yourself, you’ll find it’s an uphill battle that you could have avoided.
Make Notes of Your Favorite Details
Before you do anything to the home, walk around and write down all the little details you love about your older home. Maybe it’s the ornate decoration on top of the stair railing, the large trim around the doors and windows, or even the uneven flooring. No matter what it is, write it down so when you go to your contractor, you can inform them of what you want to preserve and what you’d be okay with letting go.
Keep the Original Wood Floors
Although they might need a lot of work, and it might be easier to replace them, we highly recommend repairing the older wooden floors rather than tearing them up. All those nicks and stains add character to the wood and will help keep your home looking like it’s in the era it’s meant to. Newer floors will dramatically change the look and feel of your home, and when trying to preserve that classic look, that’s the last thing you want to do.
Keep as Many Walls Intact as Possible
An open floor plan is probably the most requested thing we hear from homeowners looking to remodel their homes. Older homes tend to have everything in a separate room, and this can make things feel cramped and dark. By tearing down walls, we can create more space for light to filter through, making it easier to move through the space. However, when trying to preserve the look of an older home, we suggest taking it easy on removing walls. This doesn’t mean we can’t open the space up a bit, but we tend to be more conservative when trying to keep the charm of an older home.
Match the Existing Trim
The trim around the doors, windows, and walls is probably one of the most charming parts of older homes. Unfortunately, no longer are homes built with these elegant and substantial trim pieces. So it’s no surprise that we suggest keeping the existing trim as best as you can. If it’s not possible to preserve it, many companies out there specialize in recreating the older style trims. You can invest in those, but they will be much more costly than keeping the original.
Find Fixtures that Suit the Era
Those four spoked knobs in the bathroom might be hard to clean around, but they are a vital aspect of keeping to the original look of an older home. If past owners have already stripped your older home of its antique fixtures, there are plenty of options out there now that are designed to look like those older pieces. Steer clear of finishes like chrome and look for brass or gold finishes that will bring back the elegance of the space.
Older homes have a lot to offer, but sometimes their older pieces can be outdated and unsuitable for modern living. However, with these tips, you can bring your historic home to the twenty-first century while still preserving its beautiful antique charm.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.