Historic Homes: Tips for Renovation

In parts one and two of our historic series, we took a look at some of Connecticut’s well-known historic homes, and discussed what to consider before buying a historic home. Now, we take a look a historic renovations.

You decided to buy a beautiful home in a historic district: now the question is, how do you restore a historic home? It is important to connect with the right people, stay true to the time period of the home, and be prepared for surprises along the way.

Find Out What Can – and Cannot – Be Changed

Homes listed on a State or Local Registry of Historic places may come with regulations to what can be done. Restrictions could include anything from paint color options to not being allowed to add on to the home. Your local historic commission will help advise you as to what can be altered, what has historical significance, and what your options are.

Restore vs. Rehabilitate

It is important to keep in mind that there are differences between restoring and rehabilitating a home. When you restore a home, you return to the original appearance of the interior and exterior. Rehabilitating a home means you renovate the home for functional modern living, while preserving important historical features. Once you know what can and cannot be renovated, you can decide if you want to restore all historical elements or rehabilitate for more convenience.

Choose an Expert in Historic Renovation

When you a renovating a historic home, find a restoration contractor. There can be a lot of coding issues, surprises from past renovations, and time period elements that you want to be sure your contractor has experience with. Here is an article with tips on how to find contractors for your historic renovation, and a list of restoration contractors in Connecticut to assist in your search.

Stay up-to-date with Maintenance

Because of the age of historic homes, you want to be sure you are completing routine maintenance on a regular basis, instead of just one big renovation. This will help to keep the structure of the home intact and minimize the need for big costly repairs (which we know always happen at the worst time!). The Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties gives details on maintenance, renovations, rehabilitations, and preservation of historic homes.

 

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