Renovating a Historic Home? How to Improve the Function and Salvage the Historical Charm

Renovating a Historic Home? How to Improve the Function and Salvage the Historical Charm
  • Opening Intro -

    These days, buying a historic home is no small undertaking, yet it can be extremely rewarding.

    Historic homes have a distinct sense of charm, and stand out in a neighborhood in the best way possible.


Renovating a historic property and making it your own allows you to enjoy the vintage romance of the property in the 21st century. Some confuse historic properties with old properties, and the main difference between the two has to deal with the architectural features of the home and the quality of craftsmanship.

While a well-preserved historic home can be located in a great close-knit community where all of the properties have unique personalities, older buildings almost always come with a host of problems that deal mainly with function. When you update a historic home, it is only natural to want to preserve as much of the building’s charm as possible while still improving function in order to make the space livable.

Making a Historic Home More Energy Efficient

One of the biggest complaints of a historic homeowner is that utility bills are through the roof. It is only natural for a historic home to be drafty and to require more energy to heat or cool because of these drafts. Because historic homes were built with thick walls, special finishes that reflect light, and awnings that provide shade, there are sustainable features that can lead to energy savings if they are used properly. You may need to do an energy audit to locate any air leaks that are causing drafts. Once leaks are found, you can invest in air sealing of the holes and gaps and insulation so that hot air stays in the home during winter and cool air stay in during warmer months.

Upgrading Cooling and Heating Systems

Only after you have invested in air sealing and insulation should you consider upgrading your HVAC system. There are newer and more functional ductless AC systems that do not require duct work to be run throughout the property to cool the space. These systems are much less invasive than other options and will make your home more comfortable in the summer. You can also use this as a heating option with a ductless mini split heat pump.

Preserve and Weatherize the Windows

Did you know that the wood used in windows manufactured before the 1950’s is much more rot-resistant? The single-pane glass may allow heat transference, but the wood frame can be preserved so that your home retains its charm. To retain your windows and make the home more energy efficient, you can invest in window weatherization. This adds weather-stripping to the window to slow heat transfer and improve quality of air in the home.

Add Multi-purpose Pieces for Storage

In today’s consumer age, where everyone loves to by latest and most advanced consumer goods, having extra storage space is critical. When most historic homes were built storage was not much of an issue so there were not an abundance of closets, drawers, and built-in cabinets to make a space livable. If you need more space, you can purchase multi-purpose furnishings that will not take up too much floor space. and will function as focal pieces and storage pieces. Seats with under-seat storage, captain beds, and floor to ceiling bookshelves can all add function. These types of pieces can all be found in rustic, classic, and historic styles as to go along with the look of the rest of the home and keep the charm.

Making the Kitchen More Functional While Keeping the Charm

Many historic homes have traffic-flow problems when it comes to the kitchen. Kitchens tend to be closed off and smaller in a traditional home. According to professionals who provide major renovations in Scarborough, to open up the space, you may need to reroute the traffic so that there is a walk-through flow. Creating a door to a patio outdoors or a galley can help free up space and make the kitchen functional while still keeping the original charming materials.

It can be very intimidating to renovate a historic home while still maintaining the romantic air of history and mystique. However, it can be tough to live in a historical home with outdated fixtures and features, rendering it non-functional. Consult with a professional to ensure you can safely and properly update the home without demolishing the charm, and you’ll be much happier with the end result.



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