4 Tips For Success In The Design And Renovation Of An Old Home

The design and renovation of an older home can always bring various challenges. Although here in New England, we commonly renovate homes that are 100+ years old. Any home over 15-20 years old can require special care when renovating.

Older homes were constructed much differently than today’s building standards, creating some challenges while renovating to today’s building expectations. This makes an older home a little less predictable regarding where you would expect to find certain things and how everything is currently put together in the home.

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Here are a few tips to set yourself up for success with the design and renovation of an older home:
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Start with a professional design

When designing a space for an older home, we must be aware of some of the unpredictability that comes with the implementation/construction of these spaces. This is where experience comes in and it will become your most valuable asset throughout the design and renovation.

Of course, the new design of the space must also take into consideration the age of the space, the existing architecture, the client’s need for modern design elements, and the need to visually integrate the newly designed space into your older home. All of this can be accomplished with a well-thought-out design plan. A conversation about my client’s needs and the limitations of the existing space is always our starting point in the creation of a new design.

Don’t rush the planning stage

Once you see the design of your new space, it’s easy to get excited and want to jump right into construction. But the planning stage is crucial to the success of your renovation and shouldn’t be skipped.

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Experienced designers/contractors plumbers/electricians/cabinet makers, who have spent much of their careers dealing with constructing beautiful spaces in older homes, bring with them the knowledge, know-how, skill set, and foresight to deal with any issues that come up in the progress of your build, quickly and efficiently. So, in the planning stage, they can certainly foresee any probable complications and plan accordingly. For instance, if a wall is being removed to allow for this new design, we must take into consideration any of the unknown elements that might be found during the removal of this wall. Then we need to have quick solutions and design ideas to accommodate any unforeseen elements.

This is where the teamwork aspect is so important in the creation of a new space. Every old home is a little different and will require some creative solutions to translate the design, the building code, and the original construction of an older home. When working with my team of contractors and craftsmen, we can coordinate our efforts in the best interest of the client to transform their home with the utmost care. This collaboration of experienced professionals that regularly work together on projects brings many added benefits, especially when working on an older home.

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Be prepared for the unexpected

During the design planning of the space, the age of the home is definitely taken into consideration when developing the project budget. However, budgeting for unexpected expenses that come up during your renovation is a smart strategy.

Don’t go into a project in an older home with an unrealistic timeline

Even with a team of experienced professionals leading the way, sometimes the pre-existing conditions of an older home can extend the time that your home is being renovated. For instance, when we remove an existing floor to put down new flooring and we find the subfloor to be rotten and in really poor shape, then we replace that subfloor, adding extra time to the overall project. With a little patience, the extra time taken to be sure that quality workmanship is completed properly will ensure the success of your overall renovation. Avoid giving yourself a hard deadline that might be unrealistic for your scope of work. We discuss this with our clients in the planning stage to help you avoid additional stress during your renovation.

In the end, many of our most successful projects have involved older homes, and according to our clients, the results‌ are always well worth the extra steps that are necessary to transform these homes into spaces that reflect your tastes, lifestyle, and needs.

Until Next Time,

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