WHAT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PLANNING TO RESTORE OR RENOVATE A HISTORIC HOME
EXTERIOR: It can be challenging to see that the outside appearance conforms to historical standards while accommodating the house to new modern changes. You may want to put in impact or energy efficient windows and doors. Find a contractor who can install new triple-paned glass and keep the original frames.
RESOURCES: Check out your state office of historic preservation, local preservation associations and historic groups, and renovation networks.
MAJOR CHANGES: Find a contractor and architect who have experience with preserving older homes while replacing elements within and without. Look at their examples of historic renovations. They should consider the floor plan, size and shape of the rooms, lighting, hardware and architectural elements to preserve, e.g pecky cypress ceiling, arched doorways and windows, fireplaces, flooring. Be sure they are familiar with the construction techniques and unique features of your home’s time period.
SUPPLIES: Find companies that make new materials with an “old look”, showing the patina of age. They can sometimes be found at demolition sales, flea markets, salvage years and retail stores featuring restoration items.
COST: Start with a focus on one or two projects such as replacing the molding and/or windows (as described above), and repairs to needy items.
It is indeed a challenge to see that your house retains its true historic character, and to stay within budget. You can make the changes in steps, focusing each year on a different project, if the budget does not fit the plans. Enjoy the restorations and renovations and rest easy knowing you are maintaining history by implementing these plans.