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Bringing The Right Touch To Historic Home Remodeling

by Sara Cook

Historic home remodeling projects are about achieving the highest level of authenticity possible. How you go about getting the right touch, though, is a little more complex than just referencing photos from the period of the house and working from them. Consider these three tips as you contemplate how your vintage home remodeling effort is likely to go.

Local Requirements

If a house is located in a designated historical area or has been placed on a historical register, there may be very strict limitations on what you can and cannot do with it. Those with questions about the rules for their area can get in touch with their local historical society to find out who handles such regulations and what the rules are. While this can feel like a hindrance, it doesn't always hurt to have an outside party with a vested interest in the vintage nature of a residence providing comments before you make big decisions.

Accuracy vs. Authenticity

100% accuracy in tackling a historic home remodeling job is, at best, an aspirational goal. While it might seem like a great idea to get everything perfect down to the nails and screws, the reality is that you are going to have trouble find original pieces or quality replicas to complete different projects within your remodel. Your focus should be more on getting the feel for a particular era and the region where the house is rather than trying to precisely nail down each detail.

Sourcing Items and Materials

Hunting down the right chandelier for a room, for example, can be at once an adventure and a chore. Fortunately, companies that work in the vintage home remodeling trade tend to work with folks who pick antiques in order to have a ready supply of products for use on jobs. You also can turn to estate and online auctions to run down hard-to-find pieces. It's also worth talking with your neighbors and the local officials to see if someone might have just the thing you need laying around.

Getting authentic materials for a historic home remodeling project requires a bit more creativity. The best of all outcomes is when you find, for example, wood that was harvested at or close to the time period you are trying to replicate. A great source of vintage wood materials is local barns, which can often be purchased, torn down and repurposed for construction materials.