5 Things You Should Keep the Same When Remodeling an Older Home

by Editor on October 2, 2013

Home Office for Architect

Although your older home may be in desperate need of some upgrades to improve functionality, add cosmetic appeal, and undergo a general modernization, you don’t necessarily want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, which is to say, a complete gutting might not be in your best interest. Your home is an investment, and as such, you want to make wise decisions about how it is managed so that you can ensure the best return on investment when it comes time to sell. And while modern home buyers will certainly expect modern amenities, you have to keep in mind that part of the appeal of purchasing an older home lies in the charms of yesteryear. Many new homes lack the character that older properties feature in spades, and you don’t want to lose that in the remodeling process. So here are just a few things you’ll almost certainly want to salvage during your renovations.

  1. Architectural features. Whether your home has columns, archways, or the embellishments common to houses built in the Victorian era, there is value in preserving these features when you decide it is time to remodel. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, it will look strange if you remove them in some areas and leave them in others. But even beyond that, the architectural features inherent to your home add the type of character that many homeowners are in the market for. These days builders don’t want to put time, effort, and money into creating architectural masterpieces; they want to produce the cookie-cutter properties that are going to bring them the most profit. So don’t strip away the very features that make your home unique.
  2. Overall style. While you may be keen to upgrade to modern fixtures, finishes, and other amenities when you remodel, keep in mind that certain styles have specific hallmarks. There’s no reason you can’t modernize aspects of your home in order to make it more functional, beautiful, and livable. In fact, you should. But try to preserve a unified style throughout if at all possible so that your space presents a cohesive unit rather than a jumbled mish-mash of styles.
  3. Number of bedrooms. Many older homes are populated by small bedrooms, and you might be tempted to knock down walls between them in order to get the larger room sizes you crave. But this could pose all kinds of problems. For one thing you have to consider load-bearing walls, the loss of which could destabilize your structure. But more importantly, losing bedrooms will not bring you a return on investment; in fact you’ll find just the opposite is true. Instead, think about expanding your home with an addition. Or if you must create larger bedrooms in the main area of the home, see if you can add more rooms in an unfinished basement or attic space in order to keep the number of bedrooms in your listing the same (while increasing livable square footage).
  4. Original hardwood. Some older homes come with materials like shag carpet, linoleum, and laminates that you’d rather get rid of in favor of modern materials. This is probably for the best. But if your home is even older, you may peel back these cosmetic coverings to find original hardwood or perhaps even tile underneath. If at all possible you should try to preserve these durable and desirable materials in the course of your remodel as they can only add to the value and appeal of your older home.
  5. HVAC. Upgrading your home air conditioner and furnace and repairing outdated HVAC could make your home more energy efficient, but scrapping the whole system will cost you a pretty penny, especially considering the myriad other problems you might encounter should you start opening up the walls. Instead, see if you can make do with the system you have, plus a few upgrades.

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